What Was Your Typical Makeup Look in High School/College?

Published in: Just For Fun

What was your typical makeup look in high school/college?

How ’bout we take a trip down memory lane?

Goodness, I don’t even know where to start! Uh…let’s just say that I’m glad there were no camera phones back then, because despite perhaps thinking I was hot sh*t, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t.

Yeah, it would’ve been nice to have beauty blogs and YouTube back then… I’m just sayin’. ๐Ÿ™‚


Let’s see… High school for me was the early ’90s, and I liked to wear bold lips back then with black liner on my upper lash lines, foundation when I was in the mood for it, pressed powder, blush, but NO mascara (I know! But my mom wouldn’t allow me to wear it for some reason.).

what makeup reminds you of high school?
Oh, those brows…

Freshman year of high school, I wore Clinique Raspberry Glace almost daily. It was my first “big girl” lipstick, and it was my jam! Eventually, other colors worked their way into my high school life, like coppers, wines and reds, usually from drugstore lines like Covergirl, Wet ‘N Wild and Revlon.

I distinctly remember wearing Revlon Cherries in the Snow all throughout junior year, mostly because almost everyone in the flute section that year (BAND GEEKS!) wore it during marching season.

karen high school yikes 2
Nerd alert! With my BFF Jen

College was a few years later in the mid-to-late ’90s, and I remember wearing a lot of matte textures and browns…

Now that I think about it, though, I should have worn more glitter back then, because if there’s ever a time to get away with wearing the sparkly stuff on a daily basis, it would have been then.

I was a total lip product junkie all throughout those years and wore A LOT of bold lips, often MAC Paramount Lipstick.

Then, on my eyes, Clinique eyeshadow, liner and mascara (FINALLY!), which was partly out of convenience, as there was a Clinique counter inside the campus bookstore (I KNOW!).

Other than that counter, the closest mall was a 30-minute drive up the highway (this was Davis, California), where they had a MAC counter, and really, I was too busy trying to memorize the Krebs Cycle to make that trip often.

How about you? What was your typical makeup look in high school/college?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 46 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Bj says:

    High school for me was bronzer bronzer time! Concealer for dark circles? I was paranoid they existed, oh if I only knew what awaited. Liner on top and bottom, and loads of mascara. Topped with Mac nymphette or prrr depending on the day. By college, I discovered foundation and had about 20 different ones cause i thought myself to be a master at choosing my shade, FAIL! Too much and I used to use my Mac studio fix all day long to touch up, I ruined many a washcloth

  2. I didn’t wear makeup in high school, really. If I did, it was sometimes powder foundation (the wrong shade), eyeliner on the water line only, and lip gloss.
    Rikki Poynter recently posted … EVERYDAY NEUTRAL TAUPE SMOKEY EYE MAKEUP TUTORIAL | closed captioned

  3. Chaitra says:

    I didnt wear makeup in my school days, just lip gloss occasionally! Good idea for a post!:)
    Chaitra recently posted … Blog-enTino Day-5: Ingredients of a great kiss!

  4. Gowthami says:

    I didn’t really know about makeup well in school days, just an sun screen and lip balm! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Gowthami recently posted … Maybelline Hyper sharp Eye Liner Review, Swatch, FOTD

  5. Danielle says:

    For me, high school & college were really simple for me. I just wore a bit of eye shadow, mascara, & lip gloss. But I remember discovering MAC when I was in college. I didn’t wear a full face until a few years later.
    Danielle recently posted … Julep Eye Sheen Liquid Eyeshadow

  6. Allyson says:

    I thought I was such a little punk in high school… I wore a ton of silvery eyeshadow with super thick liquid liner cat eyes. This was the early-mid 2000s… it wasn’t a real photogenic time for anyone, luckily!
    Allyson recently posted … upgrading my old and/or cheap shit, vol. 1: necklace + basic sweater = fancy sweater

  7. Audrey says:

    In high school I wore deep bronze or garnet eyeshadow and a coral blush every day.

    Now in college, I’ve progressively wore makeup less and less. The majority of the days of the week, I don’t wear any makeup at all. Maybe 2-3 days a week. When I do, it changes dramatically-really it’s whatever I’m in the mood for that day.
    Audrey recently posted … The Performance of Revlonโ€™s CC Cream is in the Name

  8. Vanessa says:

    High school through junior year — When I felt like it, purple or black eyeliner on my upper lashlines and mascara.

    Senior year: black eyeliner only (no purple), add daily brow powder.

    College: the same except I never used mascara anymore. And, I haven’t worn mascara since. I know some are probably getting judgmental from their side of the keyboard, but I don’t care. I don’t like the feel of mascara on my eyes. Plus, my eyelashes are very small and the best mascara in the world won’t make any discernible difference.

  9. Jilly says:

    Both in high school and currently now in college, I wear Benefit Badgal Lash, Kat Von D tattoo liner, and Too Face Peach Leopard bronzer (with a little Benefit Boing concealer) A natural plus more look~ really need to find a Dupe though for Peach Leopard since it was discontinued :/

  10. Natalie says:

    I alternated between just blank liner in my waterline and a cat eye through high school and college.

    Thankfully I left the heavy black lower liner behind. I actually didn’t wear much else back then. Engineering classes don’t leave much time for makeup. Lol.
    Natalie recently posted … Valentines Day Look #2: Pretty and Sweet

  11. Bella says:

    In South Africa we were not allowed makeup with our school uniforms. At uni I wore lipstick and eye kohl only. I know, I KNOW.

  12. madeline Richmond says:

    In high school, I had to wake up so early that I was too tired to do a full face of makeup. Most days I wore concealer, blush, mascara, and neutral eyeshadow. I am a freshman in college and I wear a full face of makeup every day. I love to play with bright colors and glitter eyeliner. On days where I want a bold lip, I go for Super NSFW by OCC or Jilted by Urban Decay. I love, love, love my makeup.

  13. Georgie says:

    High school for me was only a couple of years ago and when I started wearing makeup the trend for super-pale cool pink lipstick was just tailing off, thank goodness. It never tempted me though. I only started wearing mascara every day when I was about 16, and occasionally MAC pressed powder if I was looking a bit spotty. In fact, the only things I’ve really added to my daily routine today are blusher, perfume & Guerlain Meteorites… How boring!

  14. Sylirael says:

    Hm… I think it only really amounted to a bit of this cream Revlon foundation I had that came in a compact (to take the edge off any really glaring spots), and Estee Lauder Crystal Baby lipstick.

    I wasn’t into anything eye-related, really.

    It’s probably worth mentioning that my school had a cherry red and pine green uniform (hard to match) and we weren’t allowed any visible makeup at school (hence the Crystal Baby!
    Sylirael recently posted … My Rogueish Valentine: A Love Quest with Chanel Rouge Coco in #40 Charme

  15. Alison M says:

    High school was a lot of mascara and eyeliner. And concealer. And lip gloss. (BAND GEEK!) Not much color because I was too cool for school. In college I wore less. I didn’t have time for makeup because I was too busy at the pool, work, or sleeping. I always had a passion for color but never new how to use it. Today’s high school kids have Youtube, blogs, and the opportunity to be the most visually well put together generation, lol!
    Alison M recently posted … Haul: Ulta, Sephora, and Walgreens

  16. Kelly says:

    Oh gosh, my high school look was just not good in any way, shape or form. I wore Levi’s, heavy metal t-shirts and high tops every single day. My makeup was strictly heavy black eyeliner and mascara and occasionally I would slap on blue eyeshadow (in a horrible way). By college I had discovered MAC, so things greatly improved!
    Kelly recently posted … MAC Prep + Prime CC Colour Correct

  17. Kim says:

    I didn’t start wearing makeup outside of the house until junior year of high school and I kept it very simple. I just covered up any blemishes with MAC Studio Finish, set with MSF Natural, a little blush and some waterproof mascara. That was the time I was obsessed with colored shadow though. I experimented a lot at home, but never had the guts to actually wear it out.

  18. Erin says:

    Let’s here it for the Sacramento Valley! L’oreal Mattique was my jam. Tinted lip balm, MAC Silver Dusk, MAC Studio Tech Powder Foundation, L’oreal Voluminous, Cover Girl Plum Fairy eye shadow, Revlon Color Stay eyeliner in black, and a few miscellaneous other things. I didn’t wear blush at all. I would occasionally contour with taupe powder. For lips, I’d either wear very dark lips or just the tinted balm.
    Erin recently posted … Ravishing Red: Statement Lips for Valentineโ€™s Day

  19. My signature look was lots of black eyeliner, and just one color eyeshadow. And I didn’t know what blending was back then *shiver*. I didn’t wear any color on my lips, just lip balm. And as for face make-up, I tried wearing foundation now and then but usually kept my skin bare, and blush was a foreign concept to me. I actually thought I looked nice, but looking back, oh boy…
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | LIERAC Magnificence Day & Night Melt-in Cream-Gel, Magnificence Red Serum & Magnificence Eyes

  20. Beth says:

    My high school look was the natural look. I have the typical redhead sensitive skin so for me it was a lot of almay. My mascara was maybelline great lash in auburn. I wore nude and mauve lipstick usually what ever struck my fancy at the drugstore.
    I’m so glad that are more products for sensitive skin now. I stopped wearing makeup after high school because the almay started to react with my skin. That’s not so much the case now but I still use natural and gentle makeup especially foundation and eye makeup. My eyes are still really sensitive so if anyone has suggestions for good shadows mascara or what not let me know ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Jen says:

    Oh high school…it was the late 90s. I always had one of those sickeningly sweet, potted glosses on me. Usually in a kiwi scent/taste. Lots of mascara and this baby blue, shimmery liner. Oh my…

  22. Rachel says:

    i’m sooooo lucky to grow up in an era where beauty gurus are a thing, because i’m a senior in high school right now and i think my go-to look is pretty decent! (but i’m sure in 5-10 years i will cringe at my purple lipsticks and thick brows) my mom didn’t, and still doesn’t, believe in paying good money for good makeup so a lot of my middle school and early high school years consisted of me fumbling with cheap drugstore products. it wasn’t until i started making my own money that i began to understand what products were good and actually worked for me.

  23. yelena says:

    I wasn’t allowed to wear make up in high school, which I’m kind of glad for because it would have added to my already tardiness to school everyday. in college, I never thought to use make up either haha. maybe on special occasions but definitely not on the daily. I didn’t get into make up until I graduated and entered “the real world” haha. now I cannot live without it!

  24. Annette says:

    Omg, Karen! Makeup in high school! lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    Honestly, I wore hardly any makeup. I wore a little bit of face powder and some crazy bright metallic blue eyeliner on my lids. What was I thinking! It wasn’t until I got older that I really learned how to do my makeup. So grateful for bloggers like you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. I never had any exposure to high end makeup until I was in my late 20s (well except a girl in high school who I remember wore Clinique mascara and that was like whoa, rich, haha). Since I’m so pale, we never could find drugstore foundation that was light enough so at most I’d wear some translucent Almay powder. Mascara was a must though I did go through years where I didn’t bother with makeup at all. Other than that, I recall some either late middle school or early high school photos that my mom said I shouldn’t wear this white shadow I liked to have on my lids because it wouldn’t photograph well. I only realized much later she was telling me she didn’t like how I did my eye makeup, haha. Anyway, it actually looked pretty nice in the pictures. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Nicole – Beyond the Pale and Freckled recently posted … Face of the Day: Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Honey

  26. Jessica says:

    High school… thinking about that is scary. So I went to high school in the late 90’s in Oakland! So either brown matte lips…… or the (EW!!) brown eyeliner lining the lips look! Had to fit in, right? That was gross.
    My foundation was most likely the WRONG color for me!
    And I’m sure I had a Cover Girl palette of 3 neural shades that I applied with my fingers. (No blending?!) And brown pencil eyeliner, nothing in the waterline. And I’m not sure about mascara, but if I did, it probably flattened out my straight lashes that I tried to curl. Did I even fill in my brows that I overplucked?
    I didn’t wear blush or bronzer, and I never heard of highlighter. I must have looked ghastly!

    College, I loved frosty pinky brown with flecks of gold lipsticks. I do wonder what I did with my eyes, probably browns and purples. I still don’t think I used makeup brushes. And I used liquid black eyeliner everyday.

    Now, things are so much better!

  27. Fancie says:

    Goodness Karen do you age at all?? Lmao you look EXACTLY the same in every pic lol. Awesome genes at work over there! I was such a late bloomer. I didn’t really wear makeup until I was almost 22 lol but I’ve always experimented with eye makeup. My typical high school look was Avon eyeliner and Carmex LOL. Thank goodness for YouTube!
    Fancie recently posted … Sedona Lace Liquid Eye Pen Review

  28. Chris25 says:

    Oh gosh, I actually wrote a post about this: http://themakeuptrain.com/2014/01/11/chit-chat-do-you-collect-makeupperfume-for-nostalgic-reasons/

    I remember wearing Maybelline Go Chocolate lipstick (I bought Go Raspberry because Sarah Michelle Gellar wore it in the ads), CoverGirl French Vanilla e/s and a brown CG eye pencil. In my senior year I wore a combo of Jane LipHuggers l/s in Megaccino and Chocoholic.
    Chris25 recently posted … Essie The Lace Is On

  29. Jaci says:

    I love your new hair color Karen! Great choice. It’s been a spot-on match with all the new makeup you have been sharing. Especially the pink and brown from NXY collection.

  30. bree says:

    First off I must start by saying in 8th grade my best friend and I were obsessed with the maybelline great lash blue mascara. My signature look was blue eyeliner sheer blue/white eye shadow and the blue mascara. Lots of blue!

    In highschool I was all about bronze. I remember using the Physicians Formula baked bronzer and I went through tons and tons of compacts of the Neutrogena bronzer. For the eyes used this bronze/coppery eye shadow with lots of black eyeliner. (it totally brought out my green eyes!) For the lips I loved nude pale pink lip gloss. I always did my friends makeup! I was definitely the beauty guru of the bunch.

    College is when I really started to get into makeup like I am now. That was after I went through a slump where I was unhappy and wore very neutral makeup…sooooo not me!

  31. My high school/college makeup look was no makeup at all! The only products I used were CoverGirl concealer and Perfumeria Gal lip balm (in the pretty Art Nouveau tins). I didn’t get interested in makeup until I was 23, and I’m 26 now, so I’m still very much in the learning phase. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Cindy says:

    I used to wear pink cheeks and lipgloss. I wasn’t too big on eyeshadow – maybe not enough time in the morning <3


  33. hanna says:

    I’m in college now and my everyday look is no makeup at all!
    hanna recently posted … Wednesday Lab, Just Boring and Normal

  34. Noon says:

    Ah I wore so very little, maybe some foundation to cover up pimples, a little covergirl blush and great lash mascara, but little else. I was not much of a beauty fiend at the time! My obsession didn’t really start until a few years ago after I dropped out of college haha.

  35. Cynthia K. says:

    Ok, I am not much of a commenter, but I had to stop and say this: You and red lips were a match made in heaven. You look absolutely STUNNING in the last pics I have seen of you in glossy red lips. WOW is all I can say!

  36. J says:

    Mascara all throughout high school, with the exception of senior year.. I experimented with lots of eyeshadow and eyeliner all over the place.. yikes

    College, regressed back to mascara, wore a little powder, and discovered the love of my life, blush!

    I recently graduated and turn 24 next month. Since school I’ve added filling in my brows and undereye concealer to my look. I also love a smokey eye whenever I go out at night.

    PS – WOW. You have not aged a bit!

  37. Iris says:

    I wore body glitter (yes, even in uni), black or dark lipstick, black or red nailpolish, and neutral or dark coloured eyeshadow. I started wearing less makeup when I was in my first year of high school then started going all out. Needless to say, I had to tone down my look when I entered the workforce. I’ve kept the smokey eye but the rest of it isn’t me anymore.

  38. Jackie says:

    In high school (it was from 1991-1995), I remember wearing Revlon lipsticks like Sandalwood Beige and Wine With Everything (didn’t everyone in HS wear this color at one time?), Cover Girl Cheekers blush, a little bit of black or dark brown eyeliner, and Cover Girl pressed powder. I didn’t really know how to put on eyeshadow back then so I mostly stuck with neutrals which I applied using an applicator (!). In college, I got a little more adventurous and experimented with blue eyeliner and colorful eyeshadow worn as eyeliner in my lower lash line. I wore red or reddish-brown lipstick more.

  39. Madeline Richmond says:

    Karen, could you do a tutorial on the look you’re wearing in the top photo? Sooo beautiful!

  40. breyerchic04 says:

    High school was all about the lavender eyeshadow, pressed powder foundation, and glitter gloss.

    College was much more about eyeliner, mascara, and red lips. Including the purple mascara phase. Also I had a major thing for lipstains.

    Right now, in the just past college phase, I’m into perfect skin, experimentation with lips and eyes, and I love blush!

  41. ellie says:

    Mac Paramount! Not many people know that color now and it used to be my favorite in college too. That and Chanel’s Moonlight lipgloss (do you know this one? no one seems to know and I can’t find on google) which came in a compact, not in a tube like now, were my all time favorite.

  42. Nicole says:

    I wore silver eyeliner, clear mascara and a sparkly pink MAC lipgloss circa 2002. Prior to that, not much. But I do remember shopping at Sephora with my mom for UD eyeshadow and Hard Candy gloss that came in a plastic ring box.
    Nicole recently posted … A peek at the cheeks: Clinique’s Cheek Pop in Peach Pop

  43. Fran says:

    I went to high school in the early ’70s, and, as a hippie-freak-type-chick, did not wear makeup. Late high school, dating boys in the band, I sometimes wore mascara and played around with eye shadow and navy blue frosted nail polish. My mom had bought me some heavily fragranced pink lipstick from Avon when I was about 14 and that was a real turn-off, I stuck to Chap Stick. I figured guys didn’t really want to kiss lipstick. Oh, I was bad.

    In college I had no $$ and didn’t wear makeup, really. I was 29 or 30 years old before I ever wore a full face of makeup, but didn’t stick with it when life got too busy and complicated. Now that I’m pushing 60 I think that makeup is a lot of fun.

  44. gurll says:

    none, i wasn’t allowed
    every blue moon glitter nail polish
    interesting topic

  45. Ruta says:

    There was a phase towards my senior year of school when purple and green shadow made an appearance. And relatively thick blue and gold eyeliner. I’m pretty glad there are no pictures ๐Ÿ˜€ Loads of nail art though. Back then i could do mean work with a toothpick, couple of colours and a small brush ๐Ÿ˜€
    College was when my lipctick affinity turned into an addiction. Or so I thought. It got way way way worse when I got my first real grown up job ๐Ÿ˜€ That said, I think that was also the time when I finally started wearing mascara on daily basis. Mascara and I used to have a very love hate relationship. ๐Ÿ˜€

  46. Abby says:

    I wore almost no makeup in high school – I played sports and couldn’t be bothered to spend money on anything. The most I’d do was black eyeliner wrapped all the way around my eye (with no mascara on my blonde eyelashes, wut). I got better at applying eyeliner in college, and had two UD eyeshadows that I wore all the time (hot pink and purple). I was still generally afraid of lipstick (I got a red lipstick for a costume party and my boyfriend told me I looked like a clown). A friend introduced me to Bareminerals (mainly foundation, I had never worn any) right before graduation and I quickly fell in love with it all – foundation, blush, bronzer, mascara, ugh. I have accumulated so much makeup in the last 3 years, it’s kind of insane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge