How Y2K nostalgia is giving beauty packaging a makeover

By Austyn King | Published: 1-Nov-2022

With Y2K and nostalgic make-up looks taking social media and the beauty industry by storm, brands are looking to the past to inspire the innovations of the future

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Looking at today’s pop culture landscape, one common theme stands out: nostalgia reigns supreme.

Film and TV are dominated by sequels, remakes and reboots, with blockbuster 1980s and 1990s sequels Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World: Dominion topping the box office, and Stranger Things taking over TV screens.

Consumers seem more eager than ever to return to the past, whether that be to their childhoods or before their time – and this is very much mirrored in the world of fashion and beauty.

Powered by the likes of TikTok, the last few years have seen a plethora of vintage looks making a comeback, from crimped hair and low rise jeans to brown lipstick and blue eyeshadow – and one of the most noticeable recent examples is the Y2K aesthetic.

Harking back to the early 2000s heyday of flip phones, boy bands and pop princesses, social media and beauty launches alike have been awash with pastel eyeshadows, butterfly hair clips and lashings of glitter and lip gloss.

“We know fashion works in 20 to 30-year cycles, so it makes sense that we’re seeing this resurgence in beauty,” Emma Ralphs, Brand Strategist at design agency Butterfly Cannon, tells Cosmetics Business.

“These aesthetics have been popularised through

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