'00s Beauty Trends That Still Hold Up

Everything was bold and playful—and shinier than a disco ball.

00s beauty - heather graham
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Plenty of us wince at the memory of '00s trends, including '00s beauty. It was a time of experimentation (chunky highlights, anyone?), but it was also one of the boldest and most daring beauty eras in recent history. The Y2K era in particular—where '90s trends and '00s trends combined in a glorious fusion—crops up nonstop in popular culture, and for good reason. As with '90s beauty trends, plenty of these beauty trends hold up today—keep reading, and you'll see what I mean.

Ahead, the best beauty trends of the '00s.

A Light Brown Smokey Eye

00s beauty - paris hilton

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I have to admit, Paris Hilton's shirt made me giggle. One of the beauty trends from the '00s that I appreciate was that a smokey eye could be "softer," with a lighter eyeshadow brushed over the eye bone and a minimal amount of mascara on the lashes. It's surprisingly subtle.

A Silky Nude Lip

00s beauty - kim kardashian

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The '00s was a time of great debate over how light a "nude" lip could be. I fear that many of us leaned too far in the "skin color" direction—meaning that our lips disappeared into our face. But Kim Kardashian shows us how a little gloss and some liner can help.

Short, Wispy Bangs

00s trends - eve

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The older sister to the "microbangs" trend (a look I didn't particularly care for) was the "haphazard bangs." A little longer, and a little more substantial, the short, wispy, uneven bangs allowed us to look a little more casual, but not in a way that was sloppy.

A Simple Bob

00s beauty - renee zellweger

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Renée Zellweger had a very enviable bob (here, it's a little shorter than her Bridget Jones' character), particularly among those of us who had thinner hair. It's got layers but not unduly so, and it feels relatively easy to maintain. Plus, the side-swept bangs are very chic.

Peachy Keen

00s beauty - whitney houston

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The late Whitney Houston had a look that was all her own—and she was often seen on red carpets and onstage with a pretty red lip. This lighter peach alternative is such a lovely hue, though. It wasn't quite as bright as other iterations this decade and could easily pass as a neutral.

Copper Chic

00s beauty - tyra banks

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At the peak of her America's Next Top Model fame, Tyra Banks had an ever-evolving style evolution. While I'm not as sold on the hair, I love her glittery copper eyeshadow, as well as the glossy pink lip. It's bold and statement-worthy, but it's not overwhelming her features.

Pretty Nude

00s beauty - jodie foster

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Among our celebrities who have aged like fine wine, Jodie Foster is high on the list. Her chic bob is delicately curled under (giving me shades of "The Rachel"), and her minimal nude makeup is a great example of a matte color that enhances your natural glow and isn't dull.

Major Eyeshadow

00s beauty - mary-kate and ashley olsen

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The '00s were an important time in the evolution of the Olsen twins, and their move to fashion innovators and brand founders (they launched The Row in 2006) coincided with a more serious, grown-up look. Hence: these intense smokey eyes on top and bottom eyelid.

Very Black Liner

00s beauty - dido

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You can often spot makeup look from the '00s because it usually involved rimming the entire eye in jet black eyeliner. Here, though, I do think it works, thanks to Dido's gray-blue eyes and the complementary gray eyeshadow on her lids. This might be one you want to experiment with, instead of copy-pasting.

The Gwen

00s beauty - gwen stefani

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Gwen Stefani, alt rock queen of the '90s, ushered in a more refined era of beauty in the '00s. Of her choices, this is the look I like the best, with her signature red lip, sharp cat-eye, and mini-beehive hair in her trademark platinum blonde. There's a good reason she stuck with it!

Messy Updos

00s beauty - jennifer garner

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We loved a messy updo in the '90s, and that continued apace into the next decade. What I love about this 'do on Jennifer Garner is that she's literally at the Oscars, which just goes to show you that the hairstyle can work for even the most formal of events.


00s beauty - rachel bilson

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I think I'd forgotten just how much we loved lipgloss in the '00s. While it could often skew too shiny, sticky, or synthetic, this pretty rosy color on Rachel Bilson is perfection. Bonus points for matching with her colorful earrings (and I will choose to ignore the visible bra strap).

Bright Berry

00s beauty - gwyneth paltrow

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Gwyneth Paltrow, who's pregnant here, is simply glowing. I love her long, luscious hair (and I think the visible roots actually work well here), but the standout is the deep berry lip color and blush. It's highly replicable: the color almost looks like the universally beloved Clinique Black Honey.

Gentle Auburn

00s beauty - gillian anderson

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While this was not, perhaps, the most universal trend (we liked a synthetic red hue back in the day) our most iconic redheads like Gillian Anderson and Julianne Moore were keeping their color extremely subtle. Not fixing what isn't broken, in other words.

Old-School Curls

00s beauty - charlize theron

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When our celebrities channeled Old Hollywood, it was a sight to behold. (Also, I feel like this is the only context in which extremely thin eyebrows make sense.) Here, Charlize Theron gives it a modern twist with peach lip and cheeks to match her dress.

Big Blush

00s beauty - helena christensen

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Whether this is applied makeup or just a natural sunburn on Helena Christensen, it's a great example of our love of bright, vivid blush. We loved blush almost as much as we do now, but this natural flush all over the face is probably my favorite iteration.

Bold Red

00s beauty - tina turner

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Tina Turner, in an awesome voluminous wig, looks every inch the star with some bright red lipstick. This orange-red color was extremely popular during the decade, and Turner is making it look a lot better than I did when I applied it to my own face.

This Mini Cat Eye

00s beauty - angelina jolie

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As I've mentioned, if you look closely at our hair and makeup in the '00s (especially on our less trend-devoted stars), you can find incredible inspiration. Angelina Jolie spent this decade with some very dark hair, and this equally dark cat-eye (with tons of mascara) brought the same level of drama to her face.

True Platinum

00s beauty - ashlee simpson

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Ashlee Simpson's platinum blonde hair probably inspired a lot of us to go blonde in the '00s. Luckily for her, she can actually pull it off; her makeup is by necessity also bold and colorful (since her hair is monochromatic and might otherwise make her head look flat). This is something I learned the hard way when I dyed my hair bright blonde.

Sharply Winged

00s beauty - heather graham

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Light blue is an interesting eyeshadow color. In the '90s, we mostly plastered it all over our lids and then couldn't figure out why it didn't look right. By the '00s, many of us had learned that it works better in small amounts: with Heather Graham here, a little dusting on top and bottom lid, with a sharp black cat-eye.

Summery Tans

00s beauty - charlie's angels

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Even though the 2000 version of Charlie's Angels was released in the fall, the stars (Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore) all look like they've just come back from a summery beach vacation. It makes sense, since that was the vibe of the movie, and I appreciate the synergy.

Tiny Bit Blue

00s beauty - kirsten dunst

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A deep, navy eyeshadow was all the rage—among high schoolers and celebrities alike, apparently—and Kirsten Dunst has the right kind of youthful insouciance to pull it off. This is very much giving me "I did my makeup myself and I look awesome" vibes here.

Subtle Sparkle

00s beauty - christina milian

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I really loved my '00s-era headbands, even though they pinched the side of my head terribly. This one on Christina Milian is just sparkly enough that you notice it, but not so thick or encrusted that it distracts you. Headbands: a Y2K trend I'm glad we brought back!

A Wavy Lob

00s beauty - reese witherspoon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another Old Hollywood throwback, these wide, styled curls on Reese Witherspoon are a pure delight. If you're unfamiliar, Witherspoon was fairly well-known for her long blonde hair, so anytime she cut it, it felt like a total transformation. This is a classic for a reason.


00s beauty - julia stiles

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I am tickled pink by how little makeup Julia Stiles has on here. That seemed very in keeping with her persona—she has always felt down to earth and cool in an approachable way. This might have been the beauty look I emulated the most back in the day.

Thoughtful Crimping

00s beauty - mischa barton

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Crimping can sometimes look over-the-top in a bad way (just ask Monica from Friends!), but we had started to improve upon our methodology in the '00s. A slightly looser and less uniform curl, like this on Mischa Barton, feels both sweet and refined.

Silvery Shadow

00s beauty - naomi campbell

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Not everyone can pull off a dramatic silver ballgown, but Naomi Campbell makes it look easy. Silver and black eyeshadow bring cohesion to the look without distracting from it. It wasn't the last time we'd see silver on the red carpet, but it's one of the best deployments.

Full Curls

00s beauty - sarah jessica parker

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Even though Sarah Jessica Parker doesn't have naturally curly hair, the stylists on Sex and the City made Carrie's wild hair an important part of her character. It was wild, it was messy, it was gorgeous, just like her. (Us curly girls were hopeful we could pull off the same vibes.)

Serious Shine

00s beauty - gisele bundchen

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Too often we could go from "glowing" to "shiny" in the '00s, but Gisele Bündchen knows how to add a little highlighter without going overboard. With some shine on the cheekbone, nose, and forehead, she looks warm and relaxed, not greasy.

Petal Pink

00s beauty - missy elliott

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pink was a popular color in the '00s, but perhaps my favorite iteration was on Missy Elliott: she was cool and edgy, so watching her wear in what's sometimes viewed as an "ultra-feminine" color was the most gorgeous surprise. Also that lip gloss on her is perfection.

Bedhead Hair

00s beauty - kate moss

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A messy part and even messier hair: Kate Moss would, and she did, to excellent effect. Moss' festival style was an important part of the '00s (where she could be seen in wellies and short shorts marching through grass at Glastonbury) so this "casual" chic look was extremely in keeping with her vibe.

The "Erin Brockovich"

00s beauty - julia roberts

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Julia Roberts' extremely short skirts and tight tops were actually based on the real Erin Brockovich's wardrobe—but watching Roberts-as-Brockovich kick all kinds of legal butt with skunk-highlighted curly hair, light eyeshadow, and the lowest of low-cut tops inspired the rest of us in the best of ways.

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.