’90s Soft Glam: The Look You Need to Master This Fall

Photo from marieclaire.com

When you think of the 1990s, a lot of things probably come to mind: Boy bands, campy chick flicks, Britney Spears, bead curtains, roll-on glitter, low rise pants and the grunge era, just to name a few. One of the most definitive aspects of the ’90s, however, was the group of supermodels that took over the world and changed the face of the runway, couture and editorial fashion as we know it. Women like Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, were bigger “It Girls” than any singer or movie star of their time. Before the ’90s, supermodels didn’t possess the kind of celebrity they do now; you couldn’t follow Twiggy or Iman on Instagram or subscribe to their Snapchat story.

While supermodels have always held a certain status, the models of the 90s were a new kind of celebrity the defined an entire generation, which led to the popularization of supermodels that we now know. Models of the ’90s had an impact that was unlike anything anyone had seen before and influenced an entire era of trends; most notably, the taupe, mauve-y makeup look that swept the ’90s.

Naomi Campbell, one of the most iconic supermodels of all time, models the beauty trend that defined the ’90s.
Photo from pinterest.com.

With the surge of technology, media, and magazines targeted at young audiences, supermodels and high fashion were more accessible than ever. This signature brown makeup look was seen on every model at every show for nearly a decade, and with the sudden attainability that fans had to celebrities such as supermodels, this look was everywhere. Stars such as Denise Richards, Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Silverstone, Jennifer Lopez were dawning the look, as well as every teenage girl with a makeup brush.

Supermodel Cindy Crawford wears a more muted soft glam makeup look.
Photo from pinterest.com.

The brown-based look was just a small fraction of the influence supermodels left on the world in the 1990s and for good reason. The neutral color palette was a soft way to contour and lift the face without being too harsh, and totally inspired the way we contour now. Worn by every celeb and fan alike, this look took over the early and mid-’90s. Lucky for us, this makeup look is going to be hot again this fall (yay!), and VALLEY has some tips and tricks to help you master it!

A shot from a Hervé Léger show in 1996 with a perfectly ’90s soft glam beat.
Photo from pinterest.com.
What is Soft Glam?

Soft glam, as we are looking at it here, is a makeup look composed of browns, taupes, beiges or any other shade that would be considered “natural” or “nude” to your skin tone. It focused primarily on carving out elements of the face, such as the cheekbones and eyes, to create depth and dimension in a way that looked natural. This look is all about strong shapes and contours that looked effortless and natural. The color palette should be monochromatic so the standout aspect of the look is your natural beauty.

Supermodel Claudia Schifer exemplifies ’90s glam with overlined brown lips and a monochromatic brown color story.
Photo from pinterest.com.

The most crucial part of the look is the complexion, hence the name “soft glam”. ’90s soft glam is largely a matte look. Glowy skin or highlight wasn’t typically done on the women who rocked it in the ’90s, and it isn’t used when recreated now. Dewy skin products aren’t necessary for this look and aren’t really what the look was about. A flawless, smooth, matte complexion is the key to nailing this look because it’s meant to enhance natural features without distraction from a glowy or sparkly highlight.

Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss look perfectly sculpted and embody soft glam.
Photo from harpersbazaar.com.

Another major component of soft glam is a neutral lip. Sticking with the monochrome look, a brown or muted pink, mauve lip was the best way to stay on-trend. This was around the time overlining lips became trendy. Picking a color a little darker than the lips and drawing just a little over the line of the lip was key. After overlining with a darker color, picking a lipstick color a little lighter than the liner was all the rage. Gloss is a big no-no for this look; a matte or cream formula lipstick will give the exact effect you’re going for.

Cindy Crawford elevates her signature look with a vampy, dark lip.
Photo from pinterest.com.
How to Achieve This Look

So, how can you recreate this look at home? VALLEY has some recommendations for products and tools to use! (Go ahead. Draw on a mole a lá Cindy Crawford. You know you want to.)

One of the most critical aspects of this look is blending your makeup; the look is all about looking effortlessly natural. This starts with the tools you use and how you use them. VALLEY suggests starting by using a brush set with fluffy, dense brushes to blur out harsh lines. Blending your product in circular motions reduces creases, lines or patches in your makeup.

This Real Techniques brush set is great for buffing outlines and creating a seamless, flawless finish and is available at most retailers for $19.99.
Photo from target.com.
The eyes are a key component to nailing this look; you can’t skip blending them! Snag some eye brushes like the ones in this Real Techniques set to blend the shadow in!
Photo from target.com.

To prime your skin, you should use a primer to really grip onto your makeup and lock it in place. Since the look is matte, you can definitely use a matte primer to set the base for the rest of your makeup. VALLEY recommends allowing your primer to dry a little before applying some translucent powder on top of it to create a matte base on your skin and increase the longevity and wearability of your makeup.

The Milk Hydro Grip Primer is perfect for locking in your makeup.
Photo from sephora.com.
The e.l.f. Matte Putty Primer blurs over all your pores and leaves your face looking smooth and poreless, perfect for the ’90s supermodel look we’re going for.
Photo from target.com.

The standout part of this look is a flawless complexion. A matte, full-coverage foundation and concealer combo will give you the skin you’re looking for for this look. VALLEY tip: When applying an undereye concealer, go in first with a shade that matches your skin or a color corrector before applying a shade one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone to really cover any dark circles and create the bright undereye look we’re going for.

The NARS Soft Matte Complete foundation is one of the best in the game for creating a matte surface on your skin.
The Maybelline Matte & Poreless foundation is made for creating a matte finish on your skin and blurring over pores.
Photo from target.com.
The L’Oreal Paris Infallible Full Wear, Full Coverage, Waterproof Concealer is one of the best around for covering blemishes and dark circles and won’t budge.
Photo from target.com.
The e.l.f. 16 Hour Camo Concealer is a new cult classic and is a great dupe for the Tarte Shape Tape. We’re not using the hydrating formula, since we are aiming for a matte look, but either of these are perfect for a cover up.
Photo from target.com,

To really nail the matte finish, you’ll need a setting powder to seal the deal. Whether you like a loose or pressed setting powder, VALLEY has some suggestions to lock your look in place!

The Airspun Loose Face Powder is a fan favorite whether you’re setting or baking your face!
Photo from target.com.
Honestly, the entire Maybelline Matte & Poreless line is great to recreate this look.
Photo from target.com.

One of the most important steps of this look is contour; not bronzer. When looking for a product to chisel out your cheekbones, look for something without shimmer or sparkle. Bronzer is too glowy and shimmery for soft glam. A matte contour formula is critical to really recreate this look.

Who doesn’t love Fenty? This formula is matte and will really drive home the chiseled look.
Photo from sephora.com.
This Natasha Denona
Contour Sculpting Powder is perfect for carving out dimension and definition on your cheekbones, forehead, chin, and nose.
Photo from sephora.com.

Blush isn’t entirely necessary for this look. If you’re going to use it, though, we recommend something with a taupe or mauve hue to stay in the color story of this look. Shimmery blushes will look out of place, but VALLEY has some suggestions for matte formulas to add a flush of color to your face!

This Laura Mercier blush in Ginger is a perfect, muted color for this look. It won’t be too harsh or look misplaced.
Photo from sephora.com.
VALLEY Tip: Matte blush doesn’t emphasize unwanted texture on the skin, so this NARS blush in Behave is a perfect way to add color to your look!
Photo from sephora.com.

The key to doing soft glam eyes is creating an overdrawn cut crease with a light beige or off-white that goes above your natural crease. When applying eyeshadow for this look, it’s important to use browns that are natural to your skin tone. If you want to use a transition color to blend your shadows, try a muted mauve or pink (similar to the blushes that were previously suggested). Again, we’re aiming to avoid sparkles, shimmer and glitter, so stick to matte shades. An everyday natural palette is perfect for this look, and you’ve probably already got one lying around. If you’re looking for a new one to add to your collection, though, here are some of VALLEY’s suggestions!

The color story of Colour Pop’s Going Coconuts palette is everything we want for this look and more.
Photo from colourpop.com.
The Too Faced Natural Matte Eyeshadow Palette has a range of shades in a matte formula that is quintessential to this look.
Photo from sephora.com.

You can go ahead and skip the black-winged liner for this look. Soft glam wasn’t about using a whole lot of liner on the lid at all (spare a little smudging for definition). To really bring the eyes home, try a white or nude liner in your waterline to accentuate your eyes and make them pop; this is critical to achieving the soft glam vibe. Top your eyes off with your favorite mascara or natural-looking falsies for some drama and your eyes are set!

The creamy formula of this stark white Fenty liner is perfect for smudging on your waterline.
Photo from sephora.com.
If you want something a little less shocking than white, a beige liner will work perfectly for you! This Marc Jacobs eyeliner is the perfect fit for anyone looking for something a little more natural.
Photo from sephora.com.

The lips are another crucial part of nailing soft glam. Lips are typically overlined and on the darker side of neutrals that fit your skin tone. Try to stay away from glosses and lean more towards a lipstick with a creamy, satin finish or even a matte lipstick.

Did they have Charlotte Tilbury lip liner in the ’90s? with this suede finish and fantastic color range, they probably wished they did.
Photo from sephora.com.
NYX lip products are some of the best in the biz, and Lip Lingerie Lipstick is no exception. It comes in a variety of browns and taupes to find your perfect neutral shade.
Photo from target.com.
This Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner in Hawkwind is the perfect soft brown for overlining your lips. The matte finish will help it blend seamlessly with a lipstick.
Photo from sephora.com.
This Maybelline cream lipstick is a must-have for a soft glam look. It comes in a number of browns and soft pinks to find your perfect shade.
Photo from target.com.

To seal your makeup, look for a matte finish setting spray to keep your makeup fresh and longlasting. VALLEY suggests spraying it on throughout the process of doing your makeup (after you’ve blended your foundation, right after finishing your eye look) and spraying it directly onto your brushes for a longer-lasting look.

An absolute cult classic. You know the kind of longevity you’ll be getting with the Urban Decay All-Nighter Ultra Matte Setting Spray.
Photo from sephora.com.
Your makeup won’t budge with the Infallible Setting Spray from L’Oreal.
Photo from target.com.

VALLEY has compiled some makeup tutorials to show you how to get this look! From Youtubers like Jackie Aina to the makeup artists behind Maybelline, there is a tutorial for everyone to follow along to learn how to do the best soft glam beat. If you try out this look, post a picture and tag @VALLEYmag! Pair with a fluffy ’90s blowout and have fun getting glam!

Beauty guru Jackie Aina demonstrates the 90s soft glam look and gives an in-depth explanation of what it truly is.
Emily Didonato and Emily Parsons create the 90s supermodel look for a Halloween costume idea on the Maybelline New York Youtube page, but this look can be worn all season.
This tutorial from Huda Beauty really emphasizes the importance of using brown to create this look.
Youtuber Hindash does a ’90s matte look that accentuates the eyes and flawless skin.
In a video with VOGUE, Kali Uchis shares her take on ’90s soft glam.

Tag or tweet @VALLEYmag with your best ’90s looks!



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