What Were Five Fabulous Products (Makeup, Beauty, Fragrance, Fashion, Etc.) When You Were in High School?

Published in: Just For Fun

With my friend Jen at my high school graduation in 1993

With my friend Jen at my high school graduation in 1993

What were five fabulous products (makeup, beauty, fragrance, fashion — you name it) when you were in high school?

OK, full disclosure — whenever I think of the actual year in which I graduated from high school (class of of ’93, yo!), I make a painful-looking smile with panicked eyes and just my lower teeth showing.


This emoji describes it perfectly: 😁.

Because when I do the math…OMG!

High school was a lot of fun for me. I was a happy teenager (despite the occasional bout of angst), and I loved exploring, in the only ways I knew how to at the time, things like makeup, beauty, fragrance and fashion.

My parents were strict in a lot of ways, like with grades and after-school activities (I wasn’t one of those kids going to ragers at so-and-so’s house on a Friday night), but I was given free reign to express myself, and I tried a lot of different things!

Or course, I loved the trendy stuff, and a lot of the things I experimented with were the same things my friends liked, too.

There was a lot going on at the time (the early ’90s) with beauty, makeup and fashion, like…

Revlon Toast of New York Lipstick

revlon toast of new york 1

GURL, three fourths of the flute section in band wore this color, no joke. When band practice was over and all the flutes were put away, the girls would bust out their Cornsilk compacts, and touch up their lips with Revlon Toast of New York. A deep reddish brown, it would be very relevant today because of the current ’90s revival.

I actually just checked online, and Revlon still sells it! I might have to get a tube for nostalgia’s sake.

CK One Perfume


For the young’uns among us, there was a time when CK One was new!

I know! Hard to believe, but true. πŸ™‚ I believe this was also around the time Marky Mark was still a pants-dropping rapper, haha!

Oh, how things change…

CK One put unisex fragrances on the olfactory map. It was made for men and women, but most of the people I knew who wore it were girls (all the boys wore men’s Eternity). I, unfortunately, wasn’t one of those CK One-wearing chicks, although I wanted to be. I just didn’t have the money to get a bottle, but my sweet friend Jolly always lent me a spritz or two.

It’s a clean, crisp watery citrus — at the time unlike anything I’d smelled before. I still smile whenever I catch a whiff.

Black and white polka dots

When I think of standout fashion statements from that time, black-and-white polka dots spring to mind. Everyone was wearing ’em! — even the guys.

My favorite polka-dotted piece was a weird black-and-white shirt with polka dots on the collar and sheer black sleeves, and I vividly remember wearing it to my sixteenth birthday party dinner (at Olive Garden).

I’d give anything to know what happened to that shirt! I loved it so much, but it disappeared over the years, as shirts often do…

I wore it with black knee-length culottes and black leggings with lace around the ankles (remember those?).

Floral babydoll dresses

Another piece I wore to death was a black long-sleeved, knee-length floral babydoll dress with tiny orange flowers and green leaves on the print.

It was purposefully oversized, so I’d take up the extra fabric in the back with a clip (mine was black with tiny fabric roses), and use that to cinch up the waist.

The only legit way to wear this type of dress at my school was with black tights, boots and big hoop earrings.

Woven backpacks

I was a big-ol’ nerdy-birdy in high school, so I was always carrying around a ton of ridiculously heavy books. I carried all of my books and binders in a colorful woven backpack with really skinny black fabric straps that had absolutely NO padding.

Seriously, it was probably the most un-ergonomic backpack known to man…

But it was in style at the time, so I had one.

I can still remember the straps digging into my shoulders, and how the back bottom of the bag hung down too low (it hit my butt when I walked). You might have thought that would have been enough to stop me from using it, but noooo.

Mine was rainbow colored. Jen’s, I think, was black, white, gray and maroon.

Your turn, my friend! What were five fabulous products (makeup, beauty, fragrance, fashion, etc.) when you were in high school?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Ditte K. says:

    Nostalgia is fun πŸ™‚
    1. Kouros YSL aftershave – my boyfriend used that one.
    2. United colors of Benetton – Tribu perfume, me, my best friend and even my mom used this.
    3. A red brown lipstick with that awful smell from L’orΓ©al.
    4. I also had an uncomfortable backpack, but mine was called Kipling and cost a whopping 100 dollars.

    Can’t think of a fifth thing πŸ™‚

  2. Amanda says:

    CK One and Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers perfume

    A Covergirl translucent compact powder to blot out shine like 15 times a day

    Combat boots with a tiny floral-print babydoll dress (ugh)

    Herbal Essences shampoos and conditioners

    Covergirl Lip Slicks

  3. Erika says:

    Wow…1995 was a LONG time ago! πŸ™‚ I vaguely remember western wear being popular, or at least I thought so. I remember wearing purple Wranglers, and I also had a pair of red ones. I had ankle boots that looked like cowboy boots to match each pair πŸ™‚
    I also remember wearing the “tres tres dior” shade of red lipstick b/c my boyfriend’s mom bought it for me. She was a beautiful woman and always rocked a red lip.
    I went to a small private school and high school was a wonderful time. I feel very blessed to have had such a great high school experience; I know it’s a very hard time for a lot of people.

  4. Ashleigh says:

    1. Ralph by Ralph Lauren fragrance (my first real perfume, I wore it every day alongside everyone else)
    2. Urban Decay edible sparkle body glitter. Or any brand, really. But UD had caramel-flavored ones, yum. Weird, but yum.
    3. slouchy skater backpacks… only acceptable in one color: black. Preferably worn over one shoulder, but after years of cramping our necks (and increasing textbook load) we gave up on that and surrendered to the practicality of two shoulders. I think I would have preferred your woven backpacks!
    4. Cell Phone dangly accessories. Because if you were cool enough to have a Nokia cell phone with glittery shell (they weren’t exactly cases…) you had to be cool enough to have a dangly accessory for it.
    5. “vacation braids” aka you were a white girl and your family went to Mexico over break and came back super tan and with a head full of braids. Served the purpose of announcing you went to Mexico and to be “edgy”… as edgy as you could be in suburbia.

  5. Chas says:

    Hahahaha! Awesome!

    1. Lipsticks – Also Revlon Toast of New York for us, as well as Wine With Everything. Plus, MAC Paramount and Chelsea.
    2. 6 hole black Docs. I didn’t have a pair, but I really wanted them!
    3. I went to a Catholic school so we had uniforms, but all the girls between maybe grade 9-11 wore 2 pairs of socks knee socks worn slouched down. White ones on the inside and navy on the out with the tops of the white ones showing.
    4. We all had the same brown eyeliner that we used as our lip liner by Rialto (I think)
    5. Blue nail polish – although I started rocking that again on my toes last year!

    Honorable mention – We all had these wide leg pants (even as uniforms!) that we called “Houser pants” since that’s what all the cool people who listened to House music wore!

  6. There was one product I remember vividly because it was one of the first makeup items I got and I took it with me to Space Camp! LOL! Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of it but I’m pretty sure it was a Cover Girl lip product that came in light, medium, and dark pink shades. It was one of those that magically changed color to best match your skin tone. It was a small stick balm type thing and I think the bottom part was in that classic light green marble packaging. If anyone knows what it was called I will be indebted to you forever.

    For some reason I was really into those skinny stick type lip products like Clinique Black Honey all through high school. Sunflowers perfume was a big one for me as were all of the Gap scents like Grass and Heaven. And everything was in my Caboodles.
    Meg @ Pinch of Nutmeg recently posted … How to Start a Food Blog

  7. Stacey says:

    I wasn’t real big into makeup and beauty in high school (05 – 08 for me) but I did have an Avon lipstick in a color similar to Revlon Toast of New York. However I now have a tube of Toast of New York that I was actually wearing earlier today.

  8. Sandy says:

    When I was in high school [class of ’86]:
    Polo by RL for men was popular,
    I want to say a perfume called ‘Red’ was popular;
    neon was huge;
    Madonna everything;
    I remember having matching orchid Izod t-shirts with hang 10 caps with my bestie [although that may have just been ‘in’ with the two of us];
    also very oddly in the small southern town where I grew up, there was a store that opened up called ‘the wild side’ and one of their more popular clothing lines was made from paper. Like..hazmat suit, disposable lab coats [but before either of those were a thing],paper. Except patterned and/or brightly colored pants and shirts. I never bought any paper clothes but I had cool friends who did. I always secretly thought it was the dumbest thing ever. LOL

  9. Tulipthecat says:

    Hmmm….this is really hard. I went to Catholic school for high school and we had uniforms with the exception of senior year. In fact this year is my 25th high school reunion. All I remember is using Coty airspun loose powder and lots of hairspray. I don’t remember much from high school anymore…I think all those memories have been replaced with other things…

  10. Kalli says:

    This is what I loved in high school, although there were some stuff on your list I loved when I was in middle school!

    1) My first Urban Decay item, circa 2000-2001, was the Face Case First Date to Pin Up palette http://img.makeupalley.com/1/7/1/0/647199.jpeg (not my picture as I got rid of it long ago). I used it everyday for a year! I remember it had Midnight Cowboy because the glitter got in everything, as well as Roach and Mildew (maybe?) eyeshadows. The red might be Gash lipstick, I don’t remember. Anyway, that was the product that started my love affair with UD which continues today. πŸ™‚

    2) Lucky You for Her. My mom hated this perfume, but I LOVED IT. I had a ginormous bottle that I kept in my dance bag.

    3) Anything Bath & Body Works, especially Cucumber Melon or Juniper Breeze.

    4) Those foam platform flip flops, especially the ones that had the woven straw on the footbed.

  11. Shannon says:

    oh man! Let’s see…
    1) Clinique “Happy Heart” perfume. I wasn’t into Clinique (like a lot of my girlfriends were), but I looooved this perfume! I remember saving up so I could buy it.
    2) lots of bracelets – preferably leather/woven. I desperately wanted to be hippy-surfer-california chic, and the bracelets were oh-so-important for the vibe πŸ™‚
    3) Dr. Martens sandals! Oh man. I couldn’t afford them, so I always got the off-brand kind, but dude were they popular.
    4) GLITTER. Specifically from Bath and Bodyworks. Actually, Bath and Bodyworks stuff in general, lol.
    5)Softlips lip balm! I think it was more the name than anything else that made them super cool πŸ™‚

  12. Erin says:

    1. L’Oreal Mattique Foundation. The only line that a good shade for me. I still miss that foundation.

    2. L’Oreal Voluminous. LOVE IT TO THIS DAY!

    3. Sheer dresses

    4. Leather Jackets

    5. Doc Martens!

    I still love all this stuff actually!
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  13. Julie says:

    1) Noxema
    2) Bonne Bell Lip Smackers–big size
    3) Kissing Potion Lip gloss by Maybeline
    4) Ten-O-Six Lotion
    5) Blue Eyeliner for waterline

    • Susan says:

      LOL, nice to see someone else on this blog from the same era as me πŸ™‚
      I’ll add
      1. Love’s Baby Soft perfume or Jovan Musk
      2. Wigwam socks w/Reebok sneakers
      3. Izod polo shirts (collars worn UP of course)

    • SAGEHEN says:

      You must be the same age as me lol. I would have listed 4 of these 5 items. Only would skip #3 because I am not a gloss girl. The Bonne Bell lip smackers were as close as I got. Dr. Pepper fo life!

  14. Chelsea says:

    1. Eucerin Extra Protective Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30. The old formula of this was amazeballs, but they changed it in 2007 or so. I’m a ginger, I got into the sunscreen game early.

    2. Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner on top and bottom was my thing toward the end of senior year. It was brown, so it wasn’t too horrible. I’d never worn eyeliner until Senior year. My senior pictures have no makeup whatsoever.

    3. Ridiculous heels – this went through all 4 years of high school. My favorites were these wooden slide open toed mules that I got at a thrift shop.

    4. Thigh high socks and mini skirts. It was cool.

    5. I had a fake Kate Spade purse that was a barrel shape with fabric patterned with little purses. It was a gift. I kept my graphing calculator in there because I was a nerd. (And if I’m taking statistics classes, I still carry a graphing calculator in my purse, which my advisors find funny)

  15. michelle says:

    What a fun post! Child of the eighties here. I remember Sea Breeze astringent, Maybelline Dial-a-Lash mascara (dialed way the hell up of course) Bonne Bell lip smackers, Loves Baby Soft body spray, and mood lipstick in blue or green. I could never pay 40 bucks for Frog Prince by Lipstick Queen as it reminds me way too much of that mood lipstick I bought at the corner drugstore for a dollar!😊 Oh,and I almost forgot Cutex nail polish!I am not even sure how many years ago that disappeared.

  16. Rhia says:

    Toast of New York was a must have shade for me in high school! Here’s my 5:
    1. A Sanrio photo wallet
    2. Body splash from either Victoria’s Secret (Pear Glace) or Bath & Body Works (Country Apple)
    3. Hoop earrings
    4. Dark brown lip liner
    5. A popular name brand jacket (Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, etc.)

  17. Jenny says:

    Omg CK One fragrance! Hahaha I wore that to death. That scent is imprinted in my brain.

    I didn’t actually wear makeup in high school or do anything girly. I was definitely a tomboy weirdo. I wore stupid baggy jeans and Star Wars and Harry Potter t-shirts, with my Darth Vader back pack. My parents were SO proud.

    If I didn’t care to feel feminine at this point in my life, I’d still dress like that. πŸ˜‰
    Jenny recently posted … Chocolate Mud Mask

    • It’s so funny to find out what people were like in H.S.! I figured you would’ve been the girl who didn’t know she was beautiful that all the guys dug for your looks AND your fun personality and sense of humor. I love that you had a Darth Vader back pack! You’re awesome! I carried my lunch in various vintage metal lunch boxes. My favorite one was The Muppet Show which I still have to this day!

  18. Renee says:

    1. Drakkar for men..Ciara for women
    2. Anything flannel but especially winter green plaid
    3. Go Go Boots that were Black knee high
    4. New York Seltzer Water
    5. Mac Mystery liner

  19. Rachel R. says:

    I was in high school from 1984-1988. Some popular things:

    1) Hair mousse was a new product. Big hair. The bigger, the better. Layered, blow-dried and curled. Tons of mousse and Aqua Net hairspray. Highlighted bangs. Mall bangs (I didn’t go that far, though).

    2) Multiple ear piercings

    3) Madonna “wannabe” fashion: Lace anything, fingerless gloves, bobby socks with pumps, tons of bracelets, cross jewelry, leggings (esp. lace).

    4) Wet n Wild makeup made it’s debut and had edgy colors.

    5) Neon everything

  20. Becca M says:

    Let’s see. I graduated in ’92, and some of the must haves that I remember are…

    Aqua net hairspray, extra super hold to keep those curled under bangs crispy all day!

    Esprit over the shoulder tote bags for books. They were uncomfortable and impractical and I had two, natch.

    Pert Plus 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner. It was awful, but everyone used it.

    Minnetonka moccasins were suuuper cool, although this may have been just a Minnesota thing.

    Oh, and clickers, do you remember those? They were little butane powered curling irons that you turned the end and it clicked on the butane heat? Insane we put those fire sticks on our hair!

  21. breyerchic04 says:

    Ummm, Ugg Boots, Black “duster” cardigans that covered your bum, super glittery pink lipgloss, whatever JLo and Britney were wearing, fake tanning, jeans so indecently low with very wide flares. And I was sure none of that would ever feel dated.

  22. Tracy says:

    I’m class of 94 so here goes

    1. Doc Marten 3-eyelet. Had them for almost 15yrs until they got a hole in them.

    2. Red Door by Elizabeth Arden

    3. Stirrup pants. No other comment is necessary

    4. Pantene Pro EVERYTHING! Remember the commercials with the impossibly shiny hair

    5. Rugby shirts
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  23. E.D. says:

    Class of 94

    Agree on the brown lipstick, CK One, polka dots, floral babydoll dresses. I would add:

    Short bangs
    Heavy black liner on top and bottom lashes
    No blush

  24. Fran says:

    When I was in high school…

    bell-bottom jeans that we patched ourselves
    granny dresses we made from Indian-print bedspreads or calico
    long, loose hair and long strings of beads
    “Charlie” perfume came out in the year before I graduated πŸ˜‰

    no boo-hooing over graduating in the ’90s!

  25. Cherie says:

    I looovvveed that lipstick!! Good to know Revlon still makes it. I’ve always loved that color!

    Class of ’96. My top 5
    1. Pears glycerin soap
    2. Covergirl compact
    3. Coty Navy perfume/ or Jean Nate
    4. My Girbaud jeans
    5. Toast of New York lipstick (I loved it too!)

  26. sara f says:

    Holla to 1995! Babydoll dresses but mine were plaid (grew up in Seattle during the Grunge era, what can I say…)
    Doc Martins which I couldn’t afford until after HS.
    I was kinda eclectic, so at this time I was also wearing cowboy boots to go boot scootin in (LOL).
    Vanilla musk was my jam, the boys loved it too (not to wear of course).
    And lastly Kool-Aid died hair, with actual Kool-Aid.

  27. Natasha B says:

    Revlon’s Rum Raisin lipstick and Wet n Wild’s 666 lip liner! Also, Calvin Klein’s Obsession perfume.

  28. Rebecca says:

    So I was three years earlier than you so most of your things I remeber as well!

    1. Guess jeans, you had to have them

    2. Guess perfume

    3. Leggings with lace at the bottom

    4. The Cure songs!

    5. Lazor music shows

  29. Michelle says:

    Sea Breeze Astringent
    Loves Baby Soft
    Bonne Bell Lip Smackers
    Maybelline Dial-a-Lash (on 10 of course)
    Cutex Nail Polish
    Mood lipstick in blue or green. Lipstick Queen Frog Prince soooo reminds me of it, except you can’t get that for a buck!

  30. Heloisa says:

    Class of 07′. In Brusque/SC, my hometown, Nike Shox sneakers were the ultimate “cool girl” shoe statement. Bali silver jewelry, especially bracelets and big, intricate-patterned earrings. Makeup wasn’t really a thing, so the cool, popular girls balanced it out with ultra tight skinny jeans and baby-look T-shirts one size smaller. Long, straight hair was the ultimate goal. I always thought of myself as an ugly duckling back then, and now I am an absolute babe, even though I don’t look “feminine”. I think there are infinite ways of being a girl, and being “feminine” IMO means following media-spread behavioral stereotypes, including things like resignation, acceptance of pain and suffering, caring for others, putting other’s needs in front of your own, abnegation, and caring about your appearance in order to please others. So in that way, I’m not feminine at all, and don’t wish to be.
    In high school, I was a nerdy, gothy-metalhead (still am) teen, but as I studied in the morning, I enjoyed every little bit of sleep I could before heading out to school, and waking up earlier to get myself done wasn’t an option. Now I can choose not to be a morning person, but it’s a struggle still.. all my friends notice how good I look when we meet by mid-afternoon through late night. It’s just my thing… πŸ™‚

  31. Michelle says:

    High School years for me were 1986-1989. Growing up in Denver where “Dynasty” took place, I definitely rocked that heavily contoured blush and eyeshadow and jackets with giant shoulder pads that rivaled any NFL linebacker lol! Here’s the top 5 list:

    Revlon Silver City Pink lipstick
    L’Oreal gray and pink eyeshadow quad (can’t remember the name) but applied with the spongy applicators it came with, brushes were not really a thing yet, in the afore mentioned heavy contour with minimal blending
    Maybelline black eyeliner that were those red pencils that came in a twin pack. I would light the end of the pencil to melt it a bit, that was the only way it would stay in my tightline without disappearing
    Paris by YSL perfume that was given to me from our exchange student from France, although Dior’s Poison was popular with everyone else
    Long Blazers that would cover your bum with shoulder gigantic shoulder pads over leggings and pointy toe flats
    Aqua Net hairspray to keep the hair big & high, yes I had mall bangs
    Lee press on nails in sport length in a pink shade

    It still boggles my mind that we all thought this was a good look. This explains why the stores Merry Go Round & The Wild Pair no longer exist lol!

  32. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this post – you inspired me to do my own 90’s nostalgia post! πŸ™‚ https://sarahheiman.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/90s-nostalgia-10-beauty-fashion-memories/

  33. Elvita says:

    I loved being a teen in the 90s…best decade ever. πŸ™‚
    1. Lancome Tendre Poison – sneak spritzes from my mother’s dressing table.
    2. Spaghetti-string babydoll dresses worn over baby tees
    3. Revlon Vixen nail polish
    4. Clearasil Clean & Clear products

  34. Ah! This is such a fun post! Love your top 5 and the picture! I have a tube of Toast of New York – it’s an awesome color! I went with Revlon Coffee Bean in mid-high school, which is frosty and coppery and did not look that good on me! Wish I’d had a flute section to set me straight! I had a very similar h.s. experience as you. My parents didn’t let me go to parties but I did gymnastics and had a lot of fun as I was a generally happy teen. I graduated in ’98.

    Here are my top 5 fashion:
    1. Baby tees – shrunken shirts that I wasn’t allowed to wear, but totally coveted. Especially the plain white ones with a big red or rainbow heart on them!
    2. Jean shorts with the hems rolled up and sewn. These are actually back.
    3. OVERALLS, yo! Also back in style.
    4. Starter jackets
    5. Nirvana shirts

    And top 5 makeup/beauty:
    1. Revlon Coffee Bean lipstick (obvs!)
    2. Gap Heaven, Dream, and Grass fragrance sprays
    3. Two words: GLITTER GEL. To be used with reckless abandon!
    4. Baby blue nail polish (thanks for Hard Candy Sky, Alicia Silverstone!)
    5. Black dyed hair / Manic Panic hair
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  35. Amanda says:

    Class of ’96, yo!
    1) Manic Panic haircolor in Vampire Red.
    2) 9-hole Doc Martens boots w/ rainbow laces
    3) CK One and Colors of Benetton (I wore Benetton Tribu)
    4) Black floral-print babydoll dresses
    5) Plaid flannel shirts, preferably vintage

  36. Iris says:

    Late to the party! Strangely enough, I don’t remember much of the makeup trends in the early 2000’s. I do remember body glitter and certain brands like M in Shoppers Drug Mart. I also remember Wet and Wild and the Gap fragrances.

    For fashion, I remember platform boots/shoes (which I see are making a comeback), baby tees, hiphuggers, and lots of clothing with flames on them.

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