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32 Beauty products you probably used in the ’90s


Teen girls and young women in the 1990s were spoiled when it came to awesomely fun beauty products. Whether you identified as a goth who wouldn’t leave the house without your matte mud-brown lipstick and choker or a raver wannabe who worked that Manic Panic dye and Hard Candy nail polish (“Sky” was the only color that mattered) in algebra class, you’re sure to find beauty products from this list of 32 that we can almost guarantee you’ll never, ever wear again.

1. Love’s Baby Soft

Baby soft

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There is at least one old boyfriend who will get a whiff of this powdery-sweet concoction and remember the times you sat side-by-side on the couch after school watching that same Blind Melon music video over and over again on MTV.

2. Hard Candy nail polish

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Alicia Silverstone mentioned in an interview that she was a big fan of Hard Candy’s “Sky” nail polish. And, since we all wanted to be Alicia Silverstone, we helped make light blue the nail color of the last half of the decade. It didn’t hurt that Hard Candy had the most vibrant shades you could find — and included a plastic ring with every nail polish purchase.

3. Exclamation by Coty perfume

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If anyone can remember how this perfume actually smelled, do tell. Most of us just wanted the cool bottle on our vanity, right next to our photo of Brandon Walsh.

4. Conair Hot Sticks Flexible Hair Rollers

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They were cute and pink, they came in a contraption with holes that fit each curler, and they were so simple to use that even those of us with pin-straight hair emerged from our bathrooms looking like Kelly LeBrock. (No? We didn’t?) We’ll try not to dwell on the number of times we burned our scalps and pulled out our strands using these curlers — they were just fab.

5. Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson

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In the battle of the pop stars, Tiffany may have had the affections of one of the New Kids on the Block (Jonathan Knight, and shame on you for not knowing that), but Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth perfume stole the hearts of a gazillion young girls and made our parents rue the day they agreed to purchase it for us.

6. L’Oreal Toasted Almond lipstick

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Get ready, because the battle of the ’90s brown lipsticks is on! In this corner, we have a classic: L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche in Toasted Almond for fancy girls…

7. Revlon’s Toast of New York lipstick

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… And in this corner you had genuine badasses who didn’t play around and went an even deeper shade of mocha with Revlon’s Toast of New York.

8. Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

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Of course, nice girls opted for Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, which was (and still is) a pretty light wash in a neutral beige tone.

9. MAC Lipglass

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It didn’t matter how many times your hair got stuck to your gooey, glossy, fabulous lips while you stood outside in sub-zero temperatures to drink beer from a barrel, you kept slathering MAC Lipglass onto your pucker because it worked.

10. Noxzema


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Noxzema has been around since the early 1900s and continues to sell because it really does what it says — it’s a refreshing cleanser that doesn’t dry out your skin. But that’s not why we wanted to use it in the ’90s. Actress Rebecca Gayheart, a.k.a. the “Noxzema Girl,” a.k.a Girl With The Best ’90s Hair — she’s the reason we flocked to the store to stock up on Noxzema.

11. St. Ives Apricot Scrub

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At some point we realized Noxzema wasn’t going to cut it if we wanted to rid our faces of every teen’s mortal enemy: blackheads. So we tried to instead scrape them off with volcanic rocks — at least that’s what it felt like every time we used this stuff. Still, we considered ourselves loyal St. Ives worshipers.

12. Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar

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This wasn’t your mother’s pretty pink soap. This cleaner was so serious about annihilating your acne that it didn’t even have time for a color. It was transparent and badass. And it worked.

13. Sun-In Spray-In Hair Lightener

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If you are a natural brunette, the very sight of this bottle could cause you a nervous breakdown. Reason: Our dreams of becoming California girls were quickly crushed when, after sunbathing on our terraces for 30 minutes, we discovered our heads looked like cantaloupes.

14. Bonne Bell Lip Smackers

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It didn’t matter how old you were, if you had to wear chapstick anyway, it made sense that it should taste and smell like cotton candy.

15. Bath and Body Works Vanilla Lotion


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In the ’90s, we were all pretty much robots directed into Bath and Body Works by some supernatural force that pushed out the constant message that we had to smell like some combination of vanilla, gingerbread and brown sugar at all times.

16. Teen Spirit Deodorant

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Can you think of another deodorant that inspired the biggest music hit of the decade? ‘Nuff said. Whether it actually worked is anyone’s guess — I can’t say I know a soul who used it.

17. Sunflowers perfume


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Fact: When I surveyed folks for items to include on this list, Sunflowers perfume repeatedly popped up. Seems this one is an actual winner that women say has a light scent that isn’t overpowering.

18. CK One

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It’s a shame that CK One will best be remembered as that perfume that featured Kate Moss & Company looking ultra hot and sometimes heroin-chic in its ads. It was actually a revolutionary product: a unisex fragrance that both you and your boyfriend probably loved.

19. Rave hairspray


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There was no other way to keep your hair big and puffy from first period until bedtime without Rave hairspray.

20. Dep gel


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OK, I’m not going to lie: It also helped to scrunch your hair with half a bottle of Dep gel before leaving the house.

21. Crimping iron


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Of course, it helped to have amazing hair to spray and scrunch. That could be easily achieved by using a crimping iron.

22. Butterfly hair clips

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Blame Drew Barrymore for getting that damn butterfly tattoo. At some point in the ’90s, every girl became obsessed with pretty winged creatures. And we took out our strange obsession on our hair. If you tried hard enough, you could get as many as 300 of these teeny butterfly clips in your hair at the same time. Very attractive.

23. Stretch tattoo choker necklaces

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Before the statement necklace, there was the choker, and every self-respecting ’90s girl owned one. If you considered the velvet choker to be too goth, chances are you owned one of its wild cousins — the stretch tattoo choker.

24. Wet n Wild Lip Liner in Brandywine 666

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Without this lip liner, you were nothing — nothing. You could have owned both Toast of New York and Toasted Almond, but you needed Brandywine to line those lips and leave them lined good and dark. Nobody smudged. If you smudged, you were secretly from the future and totally missing the point.

25. Gap Dream Perfume

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The company that dressed us to look like khaki clones in the ’90s, surprisingly, knew just how to make a young girl feel special: By providing us with six scents we could choose from in order to really stand out from our peers. The only other fragrances that really mattered aside from Dream were Heaven and maybe Grass, but let’s face it: they had us at the name Dream. We wanted to be dreamy, so we bought Gap Dream. And we spent the next few years smelling exactly like a dreamy strawberry patch.

26. Revlon Fire and Ice

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Fire and Ice was the name of Revlon’s classic true red lipstick and nail polish shade. It was also a popular perfume and there was even a Fire & Ice Ball to benefit cancer research. You couldn’t get through the ’90s without having that image of Cindy Crawford in a flame-red gown and matching lips and nails inexplicably rolling ice down her bare arm etched into your brain.

27. Maybelline Kissing Koolers

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Kissing Koolers smelled great, tasted like Peppermint Twist, Cherry Cola, Watermelon Swirl or Strawberry Fizz, and were adorably squat in a way that made them simple to fit in your purse or pocket. And then one day your dad found your beloved lip gloss, laughed and announced at a big family dinner that you wanted to kiss boys. And you died right there and never bought these again.

28. Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner


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If you remember the commercials for Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner, you were basically being promised an orgasm every time you showered. Not something your typical young woman is going to pass up.

29. Manic Panic hair dye


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Those of us who had zero skills when it came to mixing and applying Kool-Aid to our hair to radically change its color relied on Manic Panic, which sold every beautiful and vibrant shade of the rainbow.

30. Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner

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Like Hard Candy, Urban Decay gave independent ’90s girls options when it came to their cosmetics. Young women were itching for edgy nail polish that didn’t exist, and Urban Decay delivered. Girls were bored with black and brown eyeliner — along came our fave makeup company with a glitter alternative that actually lasted until the end of the rave.

31. Body glitter


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You couldn’t be a proper Manic Pixie Dream Girl unless every bit of exposed flesh was plastered with sticky body glitter. The more colorful, the better.

32. Caboodles


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What do you do after you purchase all of these great ’90s products? You keep them safe and sound in your gargantuan hot pink Caboodles case.

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