Y2K Beauty Trends: 5 Cruelty-Free Looks

Photo of noughties star Christina Aguilera. Y2K beauty and fashion trends are coming back in a big way.

It turns out, throwing away those baguette bags, velour tracksuits, and bandana tops was a mistake. (Note to self: fashion trends always come back around.) Thanks to TikTok and some of the world’s most-followed supermodels (looking at you, Bella Hadid), Y2K fashion is experiencing a revival. And with it, so are the iconic beauty looks of the late 90s and early aughts: ombré lips, skinny eyebrows, baby blue eyelids, and a whole lot of gloss. So throw on Destiny’s Child’s Survivor album and get creative: Here are five Y2K beauty trends and the products you need to recreate them — using only vegan and cruelty-free brands, of course.

Photo of Kat Von D's Vampira Ombre Lips product.
KVD Beauty stocks a variety of concentrated Creme Lipsticks. | Kat Von D Beauty

Ombré lips

Ombré lips were all the rage in the 90s and early aughts, and we can see why. They make your pout look plump without any filler. But before you reach for the lipstick, having the perfect lips is as much to do with care as it is to do with color. Show them love by exfoliating, conditioning, and moisturizing before you apply makeup. (You can find our guide to cruelty-free lip care here.)

Now for the fun part: to get the ultimate ombré look, you need top-quality matte lipstick. And luckily, that’s something that vegan brand KVD Beauty does really well. With its creamy, weightless updated formula, all of KVD’s Creme Lipsticks are easy and smooth to apply. Plus the pigment is super-concentrated, giving your mouth a vivid, desirable pop of color.

For the perfect ombré pout, mix the Vampira Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick with the White Out Studded Kiss Creme Lipstick. (Start with Vampira all over, before blending in White Out to create a gradient effect.) Both are also available in an Ombré Studded Kiss Set from Amazon, under the brand’s former name Kat Von D Beauty.

Photo of XX Revolution’s Fallen Angel Flexx Shadow.
Glittery baby blue eyeshadow is another distinctive Y2K beauty trend that’s coming back. | Revolution Beauty

Glittery, baby blue eyes

If you were heading anywhere nice in the early aughts, there was only one look and one look alone that would suffice: baby blue eyeshadow. This fad was helped significantly by Christina Aguilera, who was a big fan of frosty blue eyelids back in the day. 

If you want to have a go at recreating Xtina’s baby blue look, XX Revolution’s Fallen Angel Flexx Shadow Palette has all the shades you need. From cool, frosty aqua tones, to lighter shimmers, mix, blend, and dab to your heart’s content. 

Photo of Urban Decay glitter liner
This cruelty-free metallic eyeliner brings shimmer, shine, and pop of color to your lids. | Urban Decay

And back in 2002, if you were off somewhere particularly fancy, like, say, a school disco, you might have added some glitter to your lids. If you feel like you now have the experience to improve on your noughties technique, Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner should do the trick. 

Once applied, the water-based formula dries quickly, so it won’t smudge straight after use. (Is there anything more annoying?) It’s also infused with peach and cucumber extract, so while you’re shimmering away, know that your lids are being conditioned at the same time. It’s basically self-care with glitter on top. 

Photo of Glossier's brow flick product, which makes drawing on thin eyebrows easy.
Concealer can be used effectively to simulate thinner brows. | Glossier

Thin eyebrows

First things first: PUT. DOWN. THE. TWEEZERS. NOW.

Sadly, not every brow recovered from the over-plucking that was heavily encouraged in the nineties and early aughts. So let’s take a moment to remember the hairs we lost, and feel grateful that in 2021, we can achieve the pencil-thin look without the tweezers. Enter: concealer.

Just like TikTok makeup artist Anna Baxter, use a generous amount of concealer to hide your natural brows first. Then use an eyebrow pen to draw on thinner brows. With its microfine brush-tip, Brow Flick by Glossier can help you draw on the perfect Kat Stratford-style arches. Plus, it’s smudge-resistant, long-wearing, and available in three shades, from Blond to Black.

Photo of a noughties era Bratz makeup kit. Y2K beauty and fashion trends are coming back in a big way.
Bratz beauty products are synonymous with Y2K fashion trends. | Revolution Beauty

Bright and bold eyeshadow

If cool baby blue isn’t your vibe, that doesn’t matter. With Y2K eyeshadow, any bright color goes. 

This Makeup Revolution palette has all of the vivid mattes and shimmers of the early aughts, because it’s inspired by none other than the iconic Bratz dolls. Remember them? Since their launch in 2001, Yasmin, Jade, Cloe, and Sasha have had a passion for fashion — and bold eyeshadow. (Maybe dig one out for inspiration when you’re mastering this look?)

The Revolution x Bratz Limitless Palette has everything from bubblegum pink (labeled Jade) to the B-embossed bold orange (named Oh, You Boyz!). Even the palette design itself screams Y2K, with each of the iconic original Bratz in cartoon form on the lid.

Photo of Tarte maracuja juicy lip product. Glossy lips are another Y2K beauty trend that is blowing up at the moment.
Tarte’s Maracuja Juicy Lip stocks eight different shades of cruelty-free, glossy lip balms. | Tarte Cosmetics

Glossy lips

If you don’t have the time or the patience for ombré, worry not. There are other Y2K lip trends that are easier to master, and glossy lips have to be the simplest one. There’s no technique required, just apply layer upon layer of lip gloss for a shiny, plumper-looking pout.

Back in the day, Lancôme’s Juicy Tubes were the go-to for glossy lips. But now there are so many brands to choose from. For a top-quality vegan option, try Tarte’s Maracuja Juicy Lip.

Available in eight shades (including the classic Clear), the product is more than just a gloss — it’s also a balm and treatment rolled into one, thanks to a number of fruity extracts, including maracuja, strawberry, açaí, pomegranate. Plus it feels amazing on your mouth, it’s non-sticky, smooth, and moisturizing.