’90s Grunge Makeup Is The Edgiest New York Fashion Week Beauty Trend

What goes up must come down, including the beloved yet controversial “clean girl” aesthetic that’s flooding runways, social media, and city streets for the past few years. For anyone who prefers martini-soaked late nights to early morning Pilates or understands that true effortless beauty looks involve smudged liner and flyways, the edgy, grunge-inspired makeup and hairstyles that have started popping up on TikTok, the red carpet, and now, New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2024 runways, are a welcome reprieve.

Minimalist beauty looks will always be a fashion week staple, but this season, a number of designers are co-signing the messy, smudgy eye makeup associated with the ‘90s musical genre, albeit with elevated, modern twists. Take Jason Wu who paired fresh-based skin with bold winged liner. Then there’s Anna Sui’s vampy burgundy smoky eyes and matching matte lips. What makes these familiar styles read fresh are the finishes of the products used and the unique shapes the pros create. Not to mention, the of-the-moment hairstyles that complement the makeup. At Altuzarra, models’ smooth blowouts juxtaposed the exaggerated graphic navy eye. And then there’s Prabal Gurung who showed windswept wet look waves with oil-slicked smeared eyes and lips.

Ahead, all of the best modern grunge eye makeup looks from the NYFW F/W ‘24 runways.

Jason Wu

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Jason Wu featured an edgy, graphic spin on classic winged liner. Lead makeup artist Diane Kendal created the bold eye using the Jewel Stick from the designer’s namesake cosmetic line, then topping it off with the Hot Fluff Lash mascara to really make the eyes pop. Meanwhile, lead hairstylist Jimmy Paul kept the hair easy, crafting an “elegant disheveled” look by slicking the front sections of the hair back with TRESémme’s Extra Hold Gel and crimping the mid-lengths. He sprayed the textured section with TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Weightless Anti-Frizz Finishing Spray for extra shine and hold.

Area

Courtesy of ADDICTION Tokyo

With Area creative director Piotrek Panszczyk quite literally paying homage to the eyes in this latest collection, they were naturally the focal point of the makeup look, too. ADDICTION Tokyo global creative director Kanako Takase rimmed the eyes with the brand’s The Eyeshadow Cream in Black Beach and The Eyeshadow Matte in Bad Car for a graphic effect.

Proenza Schouler

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Think of Proenza Schouler’s makeup as the quiet luxury take on grunge. After models’ skin was prepped with calming, barrier-restoring products from Kate Somerville, lead makeup artist Diane Kendal added brown or black smudged liner to the outer corners of their eyes, finishing off the subtle look with a coat of mascara. The hairstyle by Guido Palau followed suit. He added a touch of tousled texture into the hair with a curling iron and Bumble and bumble’s Thickening Dryspun Texture Spray Light.

Helmut Lang

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Glamorous makeup getting destroyed by the elements (read wind and rain) was makeup artist Daniel Sallstrom’s direct reference point when creating the smudgy Helmut Lang eye makeup. However, the deconstructed smoky eye also reads grunge. Sallstrom turned to a handful of MAC Cosmetics products backstage, including the Paintsticks and Kohl Liner. Lead hairstylist Jawara followed suit with the slicked-back, wind-blown style he achieved Bumble and bumble products.

Prabal Gurung

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Prabal Gurung’s Fall/Winter 2024 beauty look is the definition of the “dark romance” aesthetic. For makeup, lead artist Romero Jennings created oil slick eyes with MAC Cosmetics’ Paintstick, Eye Kohl, and Eye Color. The lips were equally glossy, with the brand’s MACximal Lipstick in Ruby Woo, Candy Yum Yum, or Sin applied as the base. Hairstylist Jawara’s piecey, wet-look style was done with Wella Professional products and Dyson’s new, pro-only Supersonic r dryer.

Anna Sui

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Black eye makeup isn’t the only way to do grunge, as proven by the moody burgundy smoky eyes and corresponding matte lip Dame Pat Mcgrath conjured up for Anna Sui’s latest collection. The hair was a nod to the ‘90s, too. Hairstylist and R+Co Bleu co-founder Garren told editors backstage the smooth, coiffed blowouts were “chic grunge” and inspired by the looks of the decade’s top models. He even gave one a long bob haircut complete with bangs and a step layer, a nod to Linda Evangelista.

Altuzarra

Nina Westervelt/WWD/Getty Images

The words “elegant” and “grunge” don’t typically co-exist but Diane Kendal’s Altuzarra makeup is clearly an exception. At first glance, the exaggerated smoky eye might look black, but it’s actually gradient, done with Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick Eye Shadow Matte in Midnight Blue and Caviar Tightline Eyeliner in Tuxedo. The pencil-thin eyebrow further drives the ‘90s-inspired look home. Jawara’s various hairstyles executed with FEKKAI products also leaned effortless yet sophisticated.

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