Indulge In The Frosted Makeup Renaissance Without Looking Like A Y2K Relic

Y2K looks are back with a vengeance, and part of the resurgence includes the return of frosted makeup. We saw this Renaissance all over the 2023 Met Gala, where stars flooded the white carpet in makeup looks that boasted white frosted eyeshadow, shimmery pinks, and rich metallics. There was also no end to the highlighter frost on top of cheekbones, and some very nostalgic frosted lips.


Those of us who lived through the first wave of frosted makeup, back when Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears were setting the trends in the '90s, know that it also came with certain hazards. The skinny eyebrow, for instance. Who could ever forget? What we're loving about this resurgence of the frosted makeup look is that we're taking the best and leaving the rest. That means full, youthful eyebrows remain untweezed while we mix in these iridescent, pearly hues. Thanks to a lot of trial and error from the Y2K era, we've got the style down. There are ways to play with this frosted look without looking like you crawled out of a time capsule.

White and bright frosting

The biggest comeback in the Y2K frosted look is the use of white and pearl-tones to brighten the eye area. We're noticing a lot of frosted eyebrows, which is ideal for lifting. The look simply involves a light swipe of frosted pigment on the brow bone, just beneath the brow hairs.


We're also seeing brightening frosting used in the outer corners of the eyes and slightly under the eyes to open the area and add illumination. If you want to lean hard into the Y2K aesthetic, go for bright whites, but you can also make the look more natural by using champagne tones to ease up on the illumination factor. Pick the right product for this look. "A cream to powder formula is going to be a more modern and luminous look because it is less powdery," Erin Lindsay, Director of Product Development at ColourPop Cosmetics told Byrdie. "A powder eyeshadow will look dryer, cakier, and heavy on the eye."

Play with colorful frosts

One of the more youthful avenues that has emerged as a result of the Y2K frosting trend is toying with colored frost pigments. The look doesn't just have to incorporate whites and pearls. There's a rich array of colorful frosted shadows that add a contemporary pop of color while exhibiting the shimmery glaze that makes this trend so compelling.


Best of all, there's no need to overthink any of this. "This specific trend should be simple," makeup artist Brian Duprey told Byrdie. "It should be a wash over the eye. With social media makeup trends, there's been a lot of complicated eye techniques and this does not fall in that category." The option of adding defining liners is up to you, but the look can stand on its own without any darker definition. "Certainly you can add winged liner or additional lashes to make the look new and modern," Duprey added. "But I think that the more simple, the more of [it is an ode to] the original trend."

Use dark metallics

Just because we're playing with frosts doesn't mean that the look can't come with dark contours and deep dimension. Too much white on the eyelid can mean that you lose the contour that comes with the natural shadow in the eye socket. Thankfully, the resurgence of this frosted look means that metallics are back in a big way, giving us the opportunity to play with a darker palette.


This was especially evident in the 2023 autumn and winter Chanel show, where models exhibited an array of cool toned looks. In the eye crease, they wore cool, shimmery metal tones and as the look blended upwards, makeup artists used bright frosted highlights to enhance the brow bone and the outer corners of the eyes. This incorporation of darker colors can add a sophistication to the look if you still want a smokey eye and depth.

Frosted cheeks and cheekbones

It's not just eyes that are getting all of the attention with this frosted makeup Renaissance. The look works beautifully on cheekbones as a way to emphasize lift and keep the area looking sculpted. The frosted makeup trend also works well in blush. Sweep the cheeks with a soft, iridescent pink to play on the glazed makeup look. Lizzo, Doja Cat, and Hailey Bieber have all perfected this look. The trick is a light application here. Anything too heavy-handed runs the risk of looking overly shimmery. The aim of the modernized Y2K frost is to keep skin looking lively, healthy, and vibrant.


A modern take on the frosted lip

The pièce de résistance of this Y2K resurgence is the frosted lip. We're getting some huge nostalgic waves with this look, with images of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Pamela Anderson puckering up some pearly pouts. To keep the look from becoming too dated, consider keeping the rest of your makeup neutral. Use matte eyeshadows with a simple winged liner. Keep blush natural and soft, so that the frosted lip stands out on its own. Too much frosting on too much of the face ends up looking dated.


There are several beautiful lip shades that add both color and frost in one swipe. However, if you are devoted to a particular lip shade already, you can simply dust on some loose frosted pigment after applying the color.