How did you first develop your passion for beauty? Like most of you reading this, I've had a strange pull to the world of makeup, hair, and skin care for as long as I can remember. But why? One day, I asked myself the very same question. With a former makeup artist mother, I owe some of the passion to DNA. But the rest? I think growing up in the '90s had some subconscious influence—nature and nurture meeting to reveal my true calling at the cusp of the millennium (for the record, Y2K had no impact). So after leafing through old ephemera and re-watching ancient VHS tapes, I've narrowed down the list to a core group of fads, trends, and bits of pop culture goss responsible for my makeup personality today. Take a look at my findings—are there any you can relate to? Don’t be shy—share your favorite beauty flashbacks below.
What '90s kid went to their first day of school without a rainbow-colored penguin folder ready to be filled? Considered (by me) as the Thomas Kinkade of school supplies, Lisa Frank taught us youngsters that magenta and tangerine skies paired perfectly well with color-spotted dalmatians and leopards. Penguins were purple, and the world lived in an idyllic state of collectible chromatic harmony. Thank you, Mrs. Frank, for sparking my initial interest in color.
Do you feel happy and content whenever you organize your makeup? I feel it too—thanks to the train case that started it all. A Caboodles case was a big step in a youngin’s shift to adolescence. The iconic cosmetic box featured multi-tiered drawers that blew my mind away at the time—I could separate my Bonne Bell lip glosses from my Cover Girl powders—and have easy access to it all! I proudly carried that train case to play dates and dance practice, offering my coveted tips and techniques to anyone who would listen—"yes, Katie, smudge the blue eye shadow all the way up!" The plastic tackle box was my toolkit to success, and I felt like the youngest, sharpest pro in the biz. Coincidentally, Caboodles is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year—congrats to them for ensuring my stash gets weekly makeovers.
My enthusiasm for beauty tools comes from the master of smooshing, swishing, and scraping himself—public access television's cool Uncle, Bob Ross. With an ultra-chill vibe and a towering afro, I was entranced and hypnotized by the groovy painter as he decorated his boreal, woodland landscapes with happy trees and friendly clouds. His art philosophy was almost Zen, and I looked up to him as one of my childhood idols. He continues to remind me that makeup and beauty is more about the process than the final results. This quote sums it up: "We don't have mistakes, we just have happy accidents." Deep.
I was in love with Sailor Moon. Okay, I'm still in love with Sailor Moon. Her pigtail ponytail buns look ridiculous, but I don’t care. As a little one searching for beauty inspiration, they were everything! I remember staring in awe at Sailor Mercury's frosted aqua pixie, too. Back then, it was totally impractical and forbidden in my household to even think about reaching for the bleach (think of the damage and upkeep!). And let's talk about unrealistic hair expectations—Disney Princesses. Unlike the effortless volume and luster of my royal hair role models, my locks did not shine, they did not "Pantene shimmy"—in fact, my hair was the lovely combination of flat and frizzy. Now, I arm myself with the right arsenal of hair care and rock turquoise and blonde streaks with pride, in honor of my favorite mythical super-heroines.
You were not a true ‘90s kid if you didn’t love at least one paranormal, witchy flick. Man, did I wear my copy of The Craft OUT—the makeup was so sinister, so bad-ass, so cool! Fairuza Balk’s classic goth pallor was a big deal for my pale self, and Robin Tunney’s beauty spells had me conjuring as many incantations as I could think of—she transformed her hair from red to blonde in the film, and it was a moment. I loved the edgy, avant-garde possibilities that the dark arts could unveil, which is perhaps what made me fall in love with Harry Potter, too. Likewise, I reveled in the fact that the Charmed sisters always looked flawless, no matter which demon they encountered. From then on, I always knew makeup was magic.