Beauty trends: Y2K looks that are making a comeback

From poker-straight hair to French manicures, here are five hot looks from two decades ago that are back in style.

The early 2000s were a biggie for the world – hello, new century.

But they also made a statement when it came to hair and make-up – think vibrant, eclectic and experimental.

Just as you’ve perfected your “no-make-up” make-up, guess what?

The Y2K look is back!

(Y2K is shorthand for the year 2000, for those who weren’t there or have poor memories.)

So, what’s behind the Y2K beauty resurgence?

Well, it’s due in no small part to the success of American teen drama series Euphoria and the popularity of video-sharing platforms such as TikTok.

Why beauty experts love the Y2K look

“I am a big fan of the Y2K comeback,” hair and make-up artist Franka Deluca says.

“Gloss ombre lips (and) glittery silver and blue eyeshadow – it’s great to recreate signature looks from that era and put a modern twist to it.”

Franka says Euphoria has had “a massive impact on the make-up world”.

“Brands and clients that I work with are so much more open to colourful make-up and different shapes of eyeliner than previously,” she says, adding TikTok has also contributed to the Y2K trend.

“It’s fun to celebrate creativity and self-expression, and TikTok is a great platform to share these looks as they gain so much popularity.”

Hair stylist and colourist Albane Jashari is another Y2K beauty enthusiast.

“The hair, make-up and fashion always served to make a statement and I’m excited to see that come back to life,” Albane says.

“This time around, early 2000s beauty trends have been readapted with a modern edge.”

For some of us, Y2K beauty is brand new.

For others, it’s a fun rediscovery.

To inspire your journey into capturing and reinventing the vibe, the beauty experts share their five top Y2K trends to try this season.

Trend 1: Straight hair


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Nothing epitomises Y2K beauty more than poker-straight hair.

Incorporating a side, middle or 2000s-esque zigzag parting, the look can be easily achieved with any hair straightener and comb.

“Sleek, straight hair can look polished and is a universal, timeless trend that’s straightforward and easy to recreate,” Franka says.

“(But) my favourite Y2K hair trend would have to be chunky highlights a la Christina Aguilera.

“I love the contrast between blonde and brown hair and have seen a lot of girls rocking it over the past few months.”

Those with textured or frizzy hair might need to use a temporary straightening treatment to achieve an ultra-straight effect or may require silk pressing instead.

To achieve a sheen to the hair, use a glossy finishing spray to complete the look.

Trend 2: French manicure


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A post shared by Saskia Fenwick (@saskiafenwick)

A French manicure is considered a classic for a reason, but the style was particularly popular during the early 2000s.

Clean and neutral, the trend is a great way to look polished without adding anything vibrant or overly eye-catching to your nails.

Best of all, it grows out less noticeably.

Last year, it was all about a thick French tip and longer nail, but this season we will see a thinner tip with a shorter natural nail emerge in popularity, giving a modern, understated appearance.

Trend 3: Natural brows


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During the early 2000s, little to no attention was usually placed on the brows and for the most part, they looked good.

“Making brows less of a statement helps to soften the overall make-up look and it can also help draw attention to the eyes,” make-up artist Heidi King says.

If you have patchy or light brows and don’t want to go completely without product, you can achieve a natural-like brow by ditching a heavier product like brow pomade or a pencil formula and instead lightly fill the brows with a brow powder, avoiding the inner brow area to give a more natural finish.

Trend 4: Bedazzled make-up

The early 2000s had a love affair with rhinestones, which of course extended to make-up.

Much like they were used back then as a glamorous make-up accent, adhesive rhinestones are being used in a similar way today.

“I feel like all focus was on skincare and self-care during the early days of the pandemic, but post-lockdown I feel there has been a new feel for vibrancy as well as self-expression,” Heidi says.

“I adore ornamental make-up, which has been strong in the last few seasons for fashion week overseas, particularly Manish Arora and Prada.”

Once you get the hang of them, rhinestones can create a dramatic eye in minutes.

The best thing about the trend is that rhinestones can be manipulated into whatever shape or look you desire, adding some creativity to the look.

Trend 5: Cool-toned eyes

A warm, neutral eye is a safe bet for make-up rookies, but it’s fast becoming passe in favour of cool-toned looks.

Swapping your go-to neutral eyeshadow palette for something cooler toned is a simple solution for those keen to get out of their make-up rut with minimal effort.

“My favourite Y2K beauty trend to return is the silver and cool-toned eyeshadow looks that we see a lot of on the red carpets these days,” Franka says.

Don’t believe the narrative that cool-toned eyeshadow only works for those with cool undertones or cool-toned eyes – it’s not actually the case.

Cool-toned eyeshadow can work just as universally as warm tones.

For a brightening effect, follow the lead of Euphoria star Alexa Demie and create a classic “cut crease” using cool-toned white and beige eyeshadows to define the lid, crease and brow bone.

Finish with a classic feline flick and falsies for a dramatic wide-eyed effect.

Written by Charlotte Brundrett.