Your Go-To Guide For Recreating Pamela Anderson's Iconic '90s Makeup

Every generation's style can be defined through the iconic looks of certain celebrities who lived at the time. The 1990s, an era that has proved that fashion always cycles back around, produced many icons. Perhaps the most popular of them all is Pamela Anderson. With her sultry looks and confident demeanor, she has always been a trendsetter.


Now, she's back and trending with #PamCore taking over our social media feeds. This comes after the release of the mini-series, "Pam & Tommy," based on the story of the leaked sex tapes of her and her ex-husband Tommy Lee. She is also the subject of a recent Netflix documentary "Pamela: A Love Story," where she shares her unfiltered story for the first time. One thing that stood out as common to both TV series was the iconic makeup look she wore throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Her signature look consisted of pencil-thin eyebrows, gray smokey eyes, overdrawn lips, and voluminous blond locks piled high on top of her head. It suited her to a tee and inspired many others to copy the look. With the help of tips shared by her OG makeup artist Alexis Vogel over the years, we break down Anderson's iconic 90s makeup look step-by-step.


A fresh base

As Anderson consciously moved away from her glam makeup looks in her recent documentary, the thing people noticed about her was her naturally beautiful glowing skin. Back in the 90s, she was guilty of not removing her makeup before bed. As she admitted in an interview with Elle that she often wore "the makeup from the day before, and a little bit of glitter from two nights before. The stuff that never leaves you!"


Things have changed drastically now as she puts in time and effort to take care of her skin. "Moisture is the best anti-aging trick. I use a humidifier in dry climates, and a healthy rose water spray is the perfect toner and pick-me-up," Anderson said in a conversation with Elle. "I keep mine in the fridge and use it every time I open the door." Her vegan lifestyle also contributes to her healthy glow.

"Pamela does weekly facials for cleansing and toning, and because she favors fresh skin over foundation, we focus on the most important aspects of skin maintenance: hydration, nourishment, and oxygenation to keep her skin plumped and healthy," Klara Chrzuszcz, Anderson's favored esthetician, told Elle.


Additionally, in a recent "What's in my Bag" video, Anderson shared her go-to products. They included sunscreen, a Dr. Hauschka Lip Balm, and concealing and highlighting products from Ilia, which she appreciates for being lightweight and effective.

The iconic eyebrows

There is no denying that Anderson's pencil-thin eyebrows inspired an entire generation of eyebrow looks. Thin and arched became everyone's gold standard. Interestingly, this eyebrow shape is perhaps the only aspect of Anderson's 90s makeup look that has stayed the same over the decades.


Though it may be easiest to achieve this look if you already have very thin or barely-there brows, you can also get the width and shape of this brow by tweezing or threading the extra hair till you arrive at the desired razor-thin arched shape. If this procedure seems too daunting or too much of a commitment, you can try this low-commitment way instead or use a concealer to hide the extra hair. Pad it down with a powder to set the concealer in place and then apply your regular brow products on top. A clear brow-setting gel may serve your purpose better than a colored one.

To further highlight the shape, you can apply a highlighter on the brow bone. According to celebrity makeup artist and vintage makeup expert Erin Parsons, this is the only area of the face that was highlighted back in the 90s. Anderson's favorite Ilia highlighter may also prove useful in this regard.


Signature smokey eye look

Parsons took it upon herself to study and recreate the exact makeup look that Anderson sported throughout the 90s. For this, she embarked on heavy-duty research that included reading a book written by Anderson's OG makeup artist, Alexis Vogel. She also watched her DVD and bought her makeup kit, which contained the products that Vogel used on Anderson back in the day. Afterward, she recreated the look on TikTok and broke down every step with the product used alongside it. 


Anderson's signature smokey eye look was the perfect cool-toned smokey eye. It begins with a prominent wing made with a water-activated cake liner. She then blends the dried liner to create the smokey eye effect. The next product in the kit is the pencil, which is used to heavily line the bottom lash line. Lastly, she uses a triangle makeup sponge. "This is her magic eraser. Dip this into a bit of water, moisten the end, and then use it to blend out the edges," Parsons told Byrdie.

Another take on the look comes from David Williams, the makeup artist from the "Pam & Tommy" series. He used the Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad and the Chanel Multi-effect Quadra Eyeshadow to achieve the smokey eye.

The perfect Pamela pout

Is there anything that screams 90s makeup more than the iconic brown lipstick? Anderson was a leader of the prominent 90s pout with her signature overdrawn lips.

Again, it was Vogel who created this beautiful pout, which Parsons recreated in a separate TikTok video. It was an intense method that involved six steps. "You start with a stain, and you put it on the bottom lip only and then press to the top," Parsons told Byrdie. She then takes a lip pencil and overdraws the shape of the lip around the lip stain. In order to lighten the effect of the lip stain, she applies a gentle layer of foundation on top and sets it with powder. This is topped off with a nude lipstick straight from the bullet. Parsons uses the shade included in Vogel's kit called "Debutant" from the Pro Lipstick collection. The light pink shade is later topped off with lots of lip gloss. The more pink-leaning gloss outlines the lip and the lighter shade is used to highlight the center of the lip.


For a fresh take on the look, you can take a cue from Eileen Madrid, who is Anderson's current makeup artist. She uses nude or pink-colored lip liners and matte moisturizing lipsticks from brands like Charlotte Tilbury, Elise Watier, Makeup By Mario, and Nude Envie.

The messy updo

No look of Anderson's would be complete without referencing her beautiful, shiny, blonde curls that she would often pile up in a messy yet alluring updo. A natural brunette, she mentions in her documentary that it was at her first Playboy cover shoot where she went blonde — and has stayed that way since. In a very candid move, she also admits in the documentary that she buys supermarket at-home hair dye to do the job quickly.


In the "What's in My Bag" video she shot, she let slip an even bigger secret of how she achieved her messy updo in the 90s. As it turns out, it seems to have been a G-string that Anderson used to tie up her hair instead of a scrunchie, which most people were doing at that time. We aren't sure why she preferred this mode of putting her hair up, but it seems to have served her well all these years and might be worth trying!

Pamela Anderson's look today

Now that you are well-versed in Anderson's iconic 90s makeup, you may want to imbibe a lesson or two from the Anderson of today. Having realized that she was hiding behind that glam face, she now prefers to go completely makeup-free. As she pointed out in an interview with Elle, back then, she was "wild and uninhibited...I don't know if it was a defense mechanism or what. I just thought, 'I'm going to have fun.' Now, it's all so calculated. And these [90s looks] are the looks that we're inspired by now, because we lack that. We want that uniqueness. I never thought that those looks we threw together would be on mood boards."


Anderson points out that when she started out, she wasn't making many decisions about her makeup or the way she looked. "I just went along with what people were telling me what to do," she recalled in the Elle interview. Paying homage to her makeup artist and dear friend Alexis Vogel, who passed away from breast cancer in 2019, she says that she decided to abandon her signature look after that because, "She was the best. And since then, I just felt, without Alexis, it's just better for me not to wear makeup."