Y2K (short for year 2000) aesthetic was prevalent from the mid-90s to approximately 2005. Named after the Millenium Bug, it is characterized by a distinct look, encapsulating fashion, popular culture (movies and music) and beauty trends.
As we all know, trends are cyclic, they come and go and it seems that Y2K is making a come-back. So brace yourself for some interesting fashion returns like velour tracksuits, busy prints and short skirts – you can re-watch movies like Mean Girl, Legally Blonde or Lizzy McGuire to get a better idea of what’s to come. Even celebrities like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner or Lizzo are joining in by wearing iconic saddlebags, bubble-pink hair clips or low-rise pants.
In the beauty area, Y2K is also having an influence on how consumers choose their makeup. Many of them are enthusiastically looking for products reminiscent of the early 2000s era such as lip glosses and some companies even brought back old best sellers (ie : Lancôme recently revived its Juicy Tubes lip gloss).
If Y2K makeup trends are popular they are also very much in synch with the current times. For instance, we see colorful eye makeup looks being very strong these days - just look at the latest Grammy Awards ceremony where every singer had pastel or neon eyelids. If eyes are the biggest focus when it comes to makeup this year, it is because of everyone wearing a mask, and also because using brighter colors in that specific area is a way to share happier and more positive vibes. In terms of products, this translates into a growing interest for colorful eyeshadow palettes, eye liners, pencils and even decorative eye-stickers. Many brands are launching fun products and collaborations in that segment to fulfill the demand.
If art nails lost its appeal a few years back, they are now making a big comeback among the younger generation. And just as for makeup, nails are also being influenced by Y2K nostalgia. Indeed we have seen many celebrities like Dua Lipa, Angèle or Lisa from K-pop group Blackpink sport nails in neon and pastel tones with a gradient of different colors or nails painted with child-like drawings and designs such as hearts, flowers, clouds, emojis, and cartoons. As a consequence, Instagram accounts dedicated to nails have been booming.
Nostalgic Y2K hairstyles have also been trending and several celebrities have adopted and posted pictures with them on social media. From bleached hair, to ponytails, space buns or pigtails, all these hairstyles are reminiscent of trends going on in the early 2000s. Hair accessories such as hair clips are everywhere and worn by Gen Z and Millennials alike. Popular celebrities of the early 2000 (like Britney Spears or The Spice Girls to name a few) are a big source of inspiration for today’s hairstyles.
In the end, Y2K making a come-back is not so surprising. Nostalgia for that time is linked to the anxious era we live in and many consumers want to bring a little piece of airiness and fun into their makeup as a way to stand-up to the gloom. It is also a sign for the beauty industry that, even if the main focus has shifted to skincare in the last few months, the desire to be creative and have fun with cosmetics is still present.
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