Building Your Kit Part 24: Getting Grunge Beauty Right 


In the ’90s,  the easy sexiness of the flannel-wearers of the Pacific Northwest captured the collective imagination of both men and women. As voices like Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain took over radio waves, androgynous, slouchy fashion took over the runways, captured in the Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis collection and Calvin Klein’s CK One campaign. Grunge ruled, and a new, more outsider-influenced beauty ideal swept over the globe, and fashion has never been quite the same since.

Now the grunge look is returning full-force. With so many designers referencing ’90s Seattle in their new collections, makeup artists have to have their kits armed to provide this once-again coveted look. Here are some of my must-haves for creating beautiful-yet-badass grunge-inspired makeup.

MAC Brow Set Girl Boy | $16

Minimal brows are back in more polished form. If you’re not into the idea of bleaching out (or even shaving) off yours, use this soft shaping gel to help minimize their appearance. It will polish the hairs down and draw more attention to your lips.  

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade | $18

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This water- and smudge-proof brow color is beautiful for sculpting and shaping brows while maintaining a softness. Try bringing the blonde into even the darkest eyebrow to give depth and dimension without hard edges. Also try using a touch in the crease for a soft-focus contour to help bring out the natural shape of the eyes.

OCC Lip Tar in Black Dahlia | $18

With the longevity of a lipstick and the ease of a gloss, this bold, blackened berry lip color (which feels grunge-inspired) is everything you need for a night on the town. To complete the look, pop it onto the apple of the cheek for the most amazing tint.

Ardency Inn Punker Original Smoky Shadow | $19

Create a downtown edge with this all-in-one matte charcoal pencil smudged all the way around the eyes. Draw it in place and let it dry down for an effortless-looking, waterproof smokey look.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream | $19.50

Smooth a little of this all-purpose balm onto lids over shadow for a dewy look, or add some to the apples of your cheeks, and the center of your lips for a sexy shine that conditions at the same time.

Smashbox Limitless 15 Hr Wear Cream Shadow in Icon | $20

This smokey, sexy cream is perfect for creating sexy, smokey lids. Deep and rich, the cool brown shade works on most complexions, adding depth and dimension without looking too hard or heavy. For a lighter look, apply it with a soft brush, or for a grungier feel, use your finger.

rms beauty Lip and Skin Balm | $25

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Made of superior food-grade active ingredients that support the skin’s natural functions while giving it a visibly healthier appearance. Use this balm regularly to heal, protect, and hydrate, soften fine lines, and create a smoother texture. It’s simple and sensational on its own, but you can also layer it over powder shadows or pencils on the lid to create the loveliest, grungiest eye ever.

Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara | $28

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The master of makeup developed this product to perfect the art of mascara application. It adds both length and volume without clumping or flaking, and for luscious lashes, the skinny brush makes layering as easy as can be. Keep it concentrated toward the root of the lash to add drama to messy, sexy eye makeup.

rms beauty Lip2Cheek in Smile | $36

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This lipstick and blush in one is genius for giving just the right amount of color for a natural glow that doesn’t feel overly made up. The shade makes you look like a supermodel who woke up fresh-faced and left the house with no effort.

Read every installment in James Vincent’s Building Your Kit series here! Prices approximate and may vary.

As Director of Artistry for The Makeup Show, The Powder Group and On Makeup Magazine, makeup artist James Vincent has touched every facet of the industry with his talent. With specialties in film and theatre, television and celebrity work, editorial and runway work, James is foremast a passionate educator, training for brands such as MAC, Stila, CNN and Lancome. He continues to inspire the next wave of artists with his beauty expertise. Follow James on Twitter @JVincentmakeup.

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