The Y2K Beauty Capsule: Every Iconic Product You Loved and the 2021 Versions

·9 min read

Is it just me, or is the resurgence of Y2K everything kinda the best thing that could happen post-pandemic? Sure, 2000s-era trends were beginning their epic comeback prior to the worldwide lockdown, but those early aughts beauty and fashion nods have only gained momentum in the interim, reaching a fever-pitch just in time for the world’s slow but sure re-opening. And really, what could be better? Y2K-centric trends brim with color, fun, and a whimsical retro edginess that, after an incredibly stressful year, feels like a brothy slurp of chicken soup for the soul.

On the fashion side, we have nostalgia-inducing fodder like colorful sunglasses, flatform flip-flops, glitzy tube tops, baguette bags, and baby tees to revel in, and the latest beauty launches are serving up just as many yummy throwbacks: sugary-sweet fragrances, glimmering skin glosses, personalized bedazzled hair clips… Basically anything and everything you’d need to fit right in with the casts of Bring It On, Crossroads, or your favorite Mary-Kate and Ashley movie.

Inspired, I’ve taken it upon myself to create the ultimate Y2K beauty capsule. Not only will it serve as a spirit-warming trip down memory lane, but it just might give your beauty M.O. a nostalgic jolt of zing just in time for summer. Below, you’ll find 12 of the most essential Y2K beauty products you most definitely owned (or wanted!) in the early 2000s, alongside the newer, 2021 versions that make the throwback feel a little more sophisticated and on-trend. Keep scrolling! You’re in for a treat.

If you loved glitzy cosmetic compacts like this…

Claire's Unicorn Bling Flip Phone Lip Gloss Set ($6)

Shout-out to one of our amazing social media editors, Jeisen-Simone Tucker, who not only recalled—but found—this iconic flip phone-shaped lip gloss compact. (And yes, each gloss is scented like strawberry ICYWW.) Tiny, brick-shaped lip glosses packed into plastic versions of our favorite early 2000s gadgets were definitely a trend, although not something we’d be particularly keen to whip out in 2021. That being said, we do love a good lip palette, and the below options from brands like Rouje and Pixi are the chic-but-not-cheap upgrades.

You'll freak out over…

Rouje Lip Palette Les 4 Rouge Cream ($45)

Pixi Pixi + Louise Roe Cream Colour Palette ($20)

If you loved sweet-as-cotton-candy fragrances like this…

Aquolina Pink Sugar Eau De Toilette Spray ($22)

Let's hear it for all of the peeps who listened to “Candy Shop” by 50 Cent whilst smelling like one. From Britney’s Spears Fantasy to other cult-loved options like Aquolina’s Pink Sugar, (which I once read was Vanessa Hudgens fave scent back in the days of High School Musical), it was pretty much the goal to smell—as Janice Ian put it ever so eloquently—like a “baby prostitute.” There’s no denying, however, that warm, sweet, rich-smelling perfumes have been making a bona fide comeback, but with a fresher, cooler spin. Our favorite options from names like Ellis Brooklyn and Dedcool are more seasoned in the balance and sophistication departments, and a lot less syrupy.

You'll freak out over…

Ellis Brooklyn BEE Eau de Parfum ($105)

Dedcool Fragrance 01 Taunt Eau de Parfum ($90)

If you loved scented, sparkling body powders like this…

Urban Decay Scented Sparkling Body Powder in Honey ($34)

You'll freak out over…

Tan-Luxe Super Gloss SPF 30 ($49)

Olio E Osso Lustero Glow Body Oil ($38)

If you loved body mists from Victoria's Secret or Bath & Body Works…

Victoria's Secret Fragrance Mist in Love Spell ($18)

Even though it feels synonymous with my drama-filled high school years, I would still wear Victoria's Secret’s forever-famous spray Love Spell in a heartbeat. That said, sometimes it does feel weird to jump back into a former life, so if you’re yearning to bring back the Y2K vibes of a splashy body mist sans the specific early 2000s memories you’d rather forget, try these new forays from Sol de Janeiro (this latest debut is quite literally the best thing I’ve ever smelled) or Gourmand.

You'll freak out over…

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa ’40 Hair and Body Fragrance Mist ($19)

Gourmand Fresh Body Mist in Côtes de Palmes ($12)

If you loved bedazzled hair tools and accessories…

Packed Party Throw Confetti Detangling Hair Brush ($6)

It’s the little things, right? I still fondly remember—and honestly miss—my matching comb and hairbrush from the early aughts. Both were plastic, purple, and ridiculously sparkly. And really, the same could be said for the majority of my hair accessories during that time period. Between my collection of scrunchies, claw clips, and butterfly clips, my M.O. was anything but subtle, therefore I’ve been basking in this new wave of aforementioned hair staples revisited. Think crystal-studded, name-emblazoned claw clips with a touch of pretty tortoise, or celestial moon-shaped clips you can sprinkle throughout your strands in lieu of actual butterflies.

You'll freak out over…

Emi Jay Custom Big Effing Clip ($86)

Free People She's a Wildflower Hair Clips ($24)

If you loved hair-lightening products like this…

Sun In Lemon Fresh Hair Lightener ($3)

It’s only been a few years since we’ve learned about the dangers of peroxide-laden hair mists, and there’s definitely some regret where our old Sun In habit is concerned. (Of course, these days, the formulas are formulated sans bleach.) The good news? More and more brands are helping us in the DIY highlight department by debuting safe, strand-loving elixirs (typically infused with strategic ingredients like lemon and chamomile) that work the same kind of magic. Oribe and IGK are behind our current roster of packable pool standbys.

You'll freak out over…

Oribe Bright Blonde Sun Lightening Hair Mist ($38)

IGK Summertime Hair Lightening Spray ($27)

If you loved styling gel like this…

Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel ($5)

Styling gel, and anything with the Got2B label, in particular, was intrinsically woven into our 2000s hair DNA. The brand is still beloved and used amongst top stylists, but if you’re looking for some hold that’s a little, well, less stiff, you can count on some of our other current favorites from Kérastase and Lush.

You'll freak out over…

Kérastase Gelée Curl Contour Gel-Cream ($39)

Lush Dirty Styling Cream ($18)

If you loved wet, lash-lengthening mascaras like this…

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara ($7)

Fun fact: Maybelline’s iconic green-and-pink tube of mascara, Great Lash, has been rocking people’s worlds since its birth back in 1971. And somehow, it’s managed to maintain record momentum through the ’80s, ’90s, 2000s, and beyond. (Stats say one tube sells around the globe every 2.5 seconds.) So, yes, it’s a beloved mascara that will likely be cherished until the day it’s discontinued (if that ever happens), but there have been quite a few launches since that might—don’t hate me—be even better. Especially if you’re someone who likes a little curl and volume. The internet can’t stop buzzing about Maybelline’s latest release, Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara, and my personal favorite is a funny little rod contraption from Surratt Beauty. Trust!

You'll freak out over…

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara ($11)

Surratt Beauty Noir Lash Tint ($50)

If you loved anything that claimed to magically make zits disappear like this…

Clearasil Rapid Rescue Spot Treatment Gel ($9)

Hey, I still own a tube of Clearasil, and frankly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t! But that type of product usually does a better job of drying your skin out (sorry) than actually sucking out the infection and minimizing redness or the potential for scarring. To address both of the aforementioned goals, you’ll want to grab a handy colloidal patch (for the de-gunking), and a lightening and brightening serum (for the scarring). And if maskne is your current bane of existence, 111Skin’s newest biocellulose masks target just that, specifically!

You'll freak out over…

ZitSticka Goo Getter ($19)

Hero Cosmetics Lightning Wand Mini Serum ($10)

111Skin Maskne Protection Biocellulose Mask ($65)

If you loved press-on French tips like this…

Kiss Acrylic, Nude French Nails ($7)

One of the biggest throwback beauty movements we’ve had in the last year and a half or so is the return to press-on nails. Since the majority of us went without salon visits due to COVID, we were left to our devices when it came to creating a professional-level mani at home, and thanks to favorite brands like Chillhouse and Static, the results are just as believable as the real thing. Sure, we still have a soft spot in our heart for the squared of French tips we’d glue on for Prom in high school, but we’re super into all of the eclectic options we have in terms of shape, length, color, and design these days.

You'll freak out over…

Static Nails Fawn Almond Pop-On Manicure ($14)

Chillhouse Chill Tips in Groovy Baby ($16)

If you loved Hard Candy makeup, especially glittery eyeliners like this…

Hard Candy Stroke of Gorgeous Long Wear Eyeliner Pencil ($5)

Whipping out a glittery silver eyeliner pencil from Hard Candy in junior high was basically the equivalent of arriving at the lunch table with a brand new pack of Gelly Roll pens and a Lisa Frank coloring book in elementary school. The coolest. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a retro enough picture of the old packaging, but if you know you know, and really any cosmetic item from the line was the cool thing to have in the early 2000s. Now, we’re gravitating towards other hybrid products like this new twinkling eye-shadow–and-liner product from French makeup artist Violette_FR, or E.l.f. Cosmetic’s stunning (and more affordable) liquid liner that packs just as much sizzle.

You'll freak out over…

Violette_FR Twinkling Yeux Paint in Rose d’Aurore ($28)

E.l.f. Cosmetics Stardust Liquid Liner ($4)

If you loved juicy lip gloss tubes like this…

Lancôme Juicy Tubes Original Lip Gloss ($20)

You didn’t actually think we’d forget one of the most beloved Y2K beauty products of all time, did you? Juicy Tubes, Lancôme’s cult-loved lip gloss, was basically the currency of cool back in the day, and we still plan to smack our lips with the stuff until the end of time. There is no such thing as too much lip gloss, though (“the limit does not exist,” as Cady Heron would say), so we highly recommend imbibing in two of our other recent favorites from ColourPop and PYT Beauty.

You'll freak out over…

ColourPop So Juicy Plumping Gloss ($8)

PYT Beauty Dew Me Lip Gloss ($14)

Next: Iconic Fashion Trends That Fashion Girls Are Loving in 2021

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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