Creating 2000s Makeup Looks

MAY 29, 2023
Examples of 2000s makeup.
Gossip Girl (The CW) | Ugly Betty (ABC)

Putting period looks together for set is one of the fun parts of working as a Background Actor with Central Casting. While it may not seem like period work, many films like Senior Year and series like Girls5Eva and Quantum Leap visit the recent past of the 2000s. If you’re not familiar with trends from this decade or just need a refresher, here are some tips for creating 2000s makeup looks.

2000s makeup overview

From bronzer to body glitter, the 2000s were big on bold looks. Color was key, especially in the early part of the decade, with frosted lids and lips a must for most looks. With the rise of celebrity culture and social media, stars like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, and Britney Spears had a major impact on trendy looks, but makeup in the aughts was more than mainstream. Punk, emo, and scene styles were also common and popularized by musicians like Avril Lavigne, Gerard Way, and Hayley Williams.

Celebrities in 2000s makeup.
Jennifer Lopez (Oscars) | Beyonce (MTV) | Avril Lavigne (MTV)

2000s makeup elements

Foundation and blush

The late ‘90s trend of foundation that was a shade too light for your face carried over for a short time in the early 2000s, but quickly moved in the opposite direction of bold bronzer. Full body fake tan was popular, especially among celebrities like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson. Even if body tan wasn’t your thing, wearing a healthy amount of bronzer was standard.

The aughts weren’t known for subtlety, and that’s especially true when it comes to blush. Bright pink, red, or coral tones were heavily applied on the apple of cheeks.

Eyebrows and eyeshadow

Skinny defined brows were all the rage in the 2000s. Don’t worry, if you’re sporting the trendy 2020s full brow, a skinny look can still be achieved with some liner, concealer, and brow gel like in this tutorial from Byrdie.

Eyeshadow was applied over the entire lid in frosted pastel blues to bright purples. These colors were sometimes coupled with an unblended white shadow in the inner corner of the eye. The smokey eye grew in popularity in the late 2000s, especially in bolder looks common in the punk scene, which also featured brighter reds, oranges, and yellows applied above and below the eye.

Eyeliner and mascara

Black eyeliner was the standard and used around the entire eye, with bolder looks opting for thick application. Blue, purple, and other eyeliner colors were used for more playful looks, usually matching a brightly colored accessory.

While mascara did come in blues and purples, black was still the go-to for lashes, saving the color for eyeshadow and liner.


Defined and shiny lips were a must for most 2000s looks. Lipstick and liner colors ranged from frosted pink to brink red. Lip gloss was especially popular among teens and young adults in clear, bubblegum pink, and glittery hues.

2000s makeup trends.
Paris Hilton (MTV) | Lucy Liu (Sony) | Gossip Girl (The CW)

Crafting your makeup looks

When you’re booked by Central Casting, creating your look for set always starts with your details, which will likely come as a details message and can include an additional resource like a Details Blog. Depending on the project or role, your details may include very specific instructions or may leave room for you to create your own take on 2000s makeup. Always keep in mind your role and the production’s overall aesthetic when applying your makeup. A Y2K-era groupie on Girls5Eva is going to have a different look from a mid-2000s high school student in a Station 19 flashback.

Need more period look inspiration? Check out our decade wardrobe and hair & makeup guides.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category:

Hair & Makeup