Seattle, WA, is considered the birthplace of grunge music. Chart-topping headliners such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam originated in the Emerald City. On stage and in music videos, scruffy musicians donned the quintessential Pacific Northwest wardrobe: baggy cardigans and flannel shirts, leather jackets, and roomy denim jeans. These staples were worn layered to stay comfortable during the region’s frequent temperature fluctuations.
The casual, carefree aesthetic developed into an iconic fashion style worn by Gen Xers across the country. The street style even of Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis and Anna Sui in the early ‘90s.
The 2014 era of Tumblr brought a newfound appreciation for grunge, with users posting throwback pics of fashion trailblazers sporting ‘90s slip dresses, combat boots, and cozy layered looks.
Key Elements of the Grunge Make Up Look
Dark, sultry make up complimented the messy fashion and themes of loneliness and frustration that dominated the grunge music genre. Frontwomen Courtney Love and Shirley Manson and actress Drew Barrymore are three ‘90s grunge make up icons who can serve as your style inspiration today. These ladies mastered the look with matte foundation; thick, smudged liner for a smokey effect; and a bold, deep red or crimson-hued lip.
In the 2020s, grunge make up looks reflect people’s desire to reject the minimalist trends of recent years and celebrate their non-conformist sense of style. Grunge glam has appeared on red carpets and Instagram feeds thanks to stars like Rihanna, Zoë Kravitz, the cast of “Euphoria,” and even Kourtney Kardashian
How to Master the Vibe
Because the grunge make up aesthetic is ultra laidback, you don’t have to be a whiz at eyeshadow, liner, and lipstick application to create a stunning look. This makes the style appealing to novices, professional make up artists, and everyone in between.
Although a matte base, smokey eye, and striking dark lips are the foundations of traditional grunge make up looks, play up one of these three elements for a modern take on the grunge glam trend.
Grunge-Inspired Eye Make Up
Bold lash lines are a must for grunge eye make up looks. Use the Liner in Rouge or a Liquid Eyeliner in Black to create a thick line that emphasizes your eye shape. To get that moody effect, smudge the Eyeshadow and and pen.
Pair your grunge eyeliner with the Eye & Face Palette.
Create a warmer, earthier look with a Classic eye Shadow Pallet. This feature brown and brick-red shades that are as comforting as your favorite flannel.
Grunge-Inspired Lip Make Up
To pull focus to your pout, first line lips with the matte Lip Liner for added definition. Fangs (a crimson red) and Pumpkin (a brick red) are perfect matches for the grunge aesthetic. Next, apply the creamy formula of the Soft Touch Lipstick in the shade Violet Vibes (a rich violet) or Vintage Spice (a rusty terracotta) over your lips.
For true matte color that won’t budge, try a Liquid Lipstick in Riot or Rustic for that classic brick red.
Grunge might be known as a “less is more” aesthetic, but there are still plenty of ways to experiment with your look. Pull out your favorite guitar-heavy albums, brew a pot of coffee, and see what you can create.