This Easy Grunge Makeup Tutorial Will Transport You Back To The '90s In 5 Minutes
All aboard the hot mess express.
Show of hands for how many of you reading this think doing a full face of makeup and styling your hair in five minutes is a complete sham. Oh, all of you? Well, I can't blame you. I was one of you. For so long, I laughed at the prospect of getting anything other than my mascara done in five minutes. However, I've now made it my personal mission to prove both myself and all of you wrong. Enter: Elite Daily's series, Ready In 5. Consisting of actually cool beauty tutorials, this series will break timely beauty looks down into five simple steps, all of which, together, can actually be completed in five minutes, so you have more time to focus on the plans that come next.
Fashion and beauty trends are cyclical. Every "new" trend you see popping up is more than likely a newer-looking iteration of a trend that existed decades earlier. The latest decade with trends cropping up left and right, particularly in the beauty space? The '90s. I'm talking blue eyeshadow, crimped hair, the whole nine yards. The '90s grunge makeup trend, in particular, has popped up on a ton of runways and celebs recently — Kristen Stewart, Cara Delevingne, and Miley Cyrus, to name a few. If this trend has your name all over it (same), allow this five-minute grunge makeup and hair tutorial to become your new go-to look.
Although "grunge makeup" and "five minutes" may not seem like they play well together (how do you apply, like, 16 layers of gritty eyeshadow and mascara that fast???), it's a lot simpler than you think. It mostly involves adopting the overall grunge mentality of not really giving a f*ck. Let your brushes fly everywhere quickly. Let your application be messy. You don't have to care that the end result isn't perfectly polished. That's the fun of grunge, so let it be your inspo for a rockin' '90s grunge look.
Step 1: Prep
Time: ~10 seconds
While a grunge makeup look is all about feeling free to keep it messy, you'll want to start this look with some sort of primer so all the pigment you're packing on has something to stick to. Otherwise, this look might veer away from "cool, edgy, and dark, with a little fallout under the eyes" to "hello, my name is Swamp Monster." (TBH, that has a nice ring to it, though, so stay tuned for a Swamp Monster tutorial.)
I used a very light mist to prep my skin, namely MAC Cosmetics' Prep + Prime Fix+ SPF 30 Sun Spray. Sadly the spray isn't available at the moment, but e.l.f.'s Aqua Primer Mist ($8, Ulta) is an equally great priming mist that hydrates the skin and preps it perfectly for makeup.
Step 2: Complexion
Time: ~1 minute, 20 seconds
For foundation, I applied my ultimate, 200%, ride-or-die favorite foundation, IT Cosmetics Confidence In A Foundation, with a Beautyblender ($17, Walmart). Unfortunately, this pick isn't available for purchase at the moment, either, but lucky for both of us, Charlotte Tilbury's newest Airbrush Flawless Foundation ($44, Charlotte Tilbury) just hit my desk and has already worked its way into my top spot. This foundation's coverage is positively beyond. A half a pump will cover your entire face and neck with a full, even layer of pigment, creating a pristine canvas that'll make the dark colors you're about to pack on your eyes really pop. Even better? It barely creases. God bless.
As a final step for complexion, I applied Maybelline New York's City Bronzer ($8, Walmart) with a fluffy brush, lightly dusting and defining the area just under my cheekbones and jawbone. This brings a liiiiittle color back into your face that you might've lost after putting on your foundation. After all, we're going for grunge, not goth.
Step 3: Eyes
Time: ~2 minutes
Well, well, welcome to the star part of this tutorial, where we transform from mere grunge hopefuls into Courtney Love and Kristen Stewart's love child (i.e. my entire life's mission). While most grunge eye makeup looks like it takes about an hour, 15 different pans of black and brown shadow, and at least two eyeliner pencils, this doesn't. I wouldn't do you dirty like that.
For the entire eye look (apart from mascara), I used Sephora Collection's teeny Eye Love Eyeshadow Palette ($14, Sephora). Unfortunately, as of this writing, the specific palette I used is out of stock (@ beauty gods, WTF?) but on the product page, you can sign up to be emailed when it's back! When you're creating a layered eye look like this one, it's important to follow these two rules: 1) Build gradually from light to dark, and 2) blend.
Starting with the largest, lightest-colored shadow in the palette, I took a fluffy brush and applied it all over my lid and crease area with a big fluffy eyeshadow brush. This gave me an even-colored canvas to start with and allowed the other darker colors to blend more easily.
Next, with a slightly denser fluffy brush, I applied the middle brown shade on the top row of the palette to my crease area, extending up toward my brow bone just a little bit. Then, I took a shorter, stiffer brush to the darker brown shade furthest left on the top row and applied it directly in my crease area with a back-and-forth sweeping motion. I then blended it with the lighter brown I just applied and also extended the color downward toward my lash line. Finally, with a short, dense, round eyeshadow brush, I applied the almost-black shade along my lash line, blending it ever-so-slightly upward into the dark brown shade, and really packing the pigment along my lashes.
Finally, with that same short and dense eyeshadow brush, I took the dark brown shade and swept it along my lower lash line. When you do this, feel free to go a little wild. Don't worry about any fallout from the shadow. For a true grunge-y look, you'll want this to look a little messy.
When it comes to mascara, you should always go big or go home, amirite? That was a rhetorical question. I am right.
Fittingly, I used Kat Von D Beauty's Go Big Or Go Home Volumizing Mascara ($23, Sephora) to create gritty, spider-y lashes that would make every grunge musician ever quake in their huge-ass black boots. The trick to doing this is to first do a few preliminary swipes of mascara on either eye, and then hold your mascara wand vertically and run it back and forth across your upper and lower lashes.
Step 4: Lips
Time: ~30 seconds
Ah, it wouldn't be a '90s grunge look without dark brown lips, now would it? I used Fenty Beauty's Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick ($18, Sephora) in the true-mink shade "I Quit." Then, I quickly swiped on a layer of Pat McGrath's LUST: Gloss ($30, Pat McGrath) in the shade "Flesh 4" to add a little dimension, since the rest of the look is very matte. I immediately looked like the moody outcast in a '90s teen movie, a role I've probably internalized for far too long. Whatever, mission accomplished.
Step 5: Hair
Time: ~1 minute
Believe it or not, doing your hair for a grunge look is actually the easiest, largely because it's the most IDGAF part of this tutorial — it's just about your hair looking really tousled with lots of texture. I started by spraying Sexy Hair's Surfer Girl Dry Texturizing Spray ($20, Ulta) all over my fine hair to give it some hold for the next step.
At this point, I quickly sectioned off parts of the top of my hair and back-combed them with my everyday hairbrush to create loads of messy volume. Once I teased everything, I parted my hair in its normal part and very lightly brushed over the top so I didn't deflate the volume I just created.
And there you have it. Did I just hop off a high-fashion runway in 2019? Did I low-key make an appearance in Freaks and Geeks? The world may never know. What I do know is, you now have a trendy five-minute beauty look all your friends will be jealous of.
So, how does that sound? Still don't believe me that I (and you!) can get this look done in five minutes? Hey, I get it. Seeing is believing and whatever. So, in the spirit of giving, I present to you proof that miracles really can happen: a #ReadyIn5 video tutorial.
In this tutorial, I'll take you through the steps and products needed to complete the look as we race against the clock. It's thrilling. It's suspenseful. But most importantly, it's funny AF to watch. Get comfy, and follow along with the video below to see how my look is actually ready in five. Comment on the video or DM me on Instagram to suggest looks you'd like to see broken down in the future: