We don't know about you, but we're in a perpetual state of nostalgia for the '90s. And so, it turns out, is Teyana Taylor. The 29-year-old entertainer is taking her love of the greatest decade of the 20th century (we're biased) and channeling it into a brand-new makeup collection, created in collaboration with MAC. A fitting partner, considering the MAC aesthetic was one that dominated back then.
"Back in the '90s, [makeup] was so much easier. Just throw on a lip, make sure your hair is done, put a mole on, a brow — it was very minimal," she tells Allure during a phone interview. "I kind of miss those days. I wish [I'd already been] in my 20s in the '90s. That would [have been] be my cup of tea."
Indeed, it was a simpler time for makeup, and Taylor is bringing it back with a five-piece collection of essentials, MAC X Teyana Taylor, to create a put-together face without having to do a full beat. On tap are four lip liners, four Lipglasses, three lipsticks, and a highlighter-bronzer Mineralize Skinfinish, housed in some seriously cool-looking neon packaging. In times like these, we could use a little brightness, no?
We chatted with Taylor about her latest project with MAC (launching July 14), her obsession with the '90s aesthetic, and a bit about how she’s been holding up over the past few months while the country has largely been on lockdown.
ALLURE: So, tell us a little bit about the '90s icons or moments that inspired the color story for this collection.
TEYANA TAYLOR: We went through so many different ‘90s campaigns, we wanted something that represented classic beauty when it wasn't too much going on. We looked at Naomi Campbell, Grace Jones, Tyra Banks, Nia Long — a lot of different models and artists from the '90s that had a lot of great makeup looks. Aaliyah had a lot of great [ones, too]. The makeup was just so classic, the tones, the colors, everything.
That's [the aesthetic] we followed, on top of creating some custom colors that were my personal favorites. Back in the day, lip liner was a big thing and I've always been a fan of [it], especially with having full lips — I love the definition that it gives.
ALLURE: The packaging is super bright and bold. Can you talk about how you came up with the vision for that?
TT: I'm super big on having a pop of color. I love color, brights, and neons. I also feel like when you get these more nude [makeup] colors, sometimes the packaging is a little bit boring. You don't have to have neon lipstick to have neon packaging! I just wanted to make it fun, I wanted it to be a collector's item where people felt like, OK, this is a really dope color, but I don't need to have a neon lipstick in order to have the color in my life as far as packaging.
I wanted something fun for the summer, something that people could enjoy and have over the years. Even when they're done with the lipstick, they don't want to get rid of the packaging. That was the biggest thing for me, creating something for people to cherish.
ALLURE: What's your favorite makeup trend from the '90s?
TT: A mole — those little fake moles that everybody used to wear — lip liner, of course, and lip gloss. I'm telling you, the brown lip or the nude lip with the brown lip liner pencil — that was very big to me, and just the soft, natural skin. You didn't need much. Really, if your lipstick was poppin' and your mole was on, you were good.
ALLURE: It's such a contrast to now, where the makeup is a lot more involved.
TT: Exactly. Everything is a beat. A lot of artists now feel that pressure, like they have to be beat 24/7. 'I have to have this beat on when I go on (Instagram) Live.' One of the reasons why I'm so obsessed with the ‘90s is because, I wouldn't say I'm necessarily lazy when it comes to makeup, but I have strong features. I have a face that I feel doesn't really need much. Less is more for me, and that's my personal taste. I wouldn't want anybody to feel like I'm coming down on anybody who loves to do makeup.
With me, if I put on so much makeup and a full-blown beat, that can look crazy, and I don't mean that in a good way. I kind of wanted to take it back to a time when you didn't need much. These lipsticks and lip glosses that I created with MAC — it's the kind you can just put on without an inch of other makeup and it still looks good. Sometimes you have those lipsticks where you put them on, and it's like, "Uh-uh, girl, you need to put some makeup on." Just unfinished.
ALLURE: What was your favorite part about putting this collection together?
TT: Honestly, it was sitting down in the room with MAC, and them giving me the freedom to do what I wanted to. Getting the chance to pick out the packaging, designing the colors, and mixing different lipsticks and lip glosses was really dope for me.
The most exciting part was that they were just as excited as I was. It was a room filled with bright energy. I think that's the most important thing. If you don't have that partnership and not everyone is on the same page, it doesn't matter how great something does or how popular it is. They really just sat back and just trusted me, and let me do what I want to do and just let me create.
ALLURE: For me, it was the Ruby Woo lipstick — what's the first MAC product you've ever owned?
TT: The first product that I ever owned was probably the Lipglass. I think everybody had one of those. I used to go in my mom's bag because she used to have so many of them before people were really even up on MAC. I used to steal them [from her purse] every single time. She'd say, "Did you see my MAC lip gloss?"
ALLURE: We've been in lockdown for a while now. What have you been doing to maintain your mental health?
TT: Honestly, it's given me time to lock in and really focus on my album. Originally, I had a 14- or 15-song album — now I have 23 songs. My husband locked in, Junie [my daughter,] was running around all over the place. It's allowed me to create.
ALLURE: You recently released a video for one of your tracks, "Made It." Why was it so important for you to highlight graduates in this one?
TT: A few years back, when I recorded it, it was for the graduates. Not only for them, but I wanted to celebrate our lawyers and surgeons and doctors. It's amazing how all these same people are coming into play during this pandemic. They're really helping us to stay safe and healthy. It didn't make the [last] album, because it was a seven-song album. But I said, "This is definitely going on my next album."
But with what's happening, now, I said, "It's time." These kids work so hard and there are nurses that are still in school that are in the class of 2020. I just really wanted to celebrate them. Timing is everything and everything happens for a reason — I could have put this out three years ago, but something just said hold off until the next album.
To have this record and have my album have a 2020 due date, it was literally perfect. We need to celebrate you guys who have put in all these years of hard work and have your light being dimmed by a pandemic. I wanted to show them that we still celebrate you. That was very important to me.
You can shop the MAC x Teyana Taylor Collection on July 14. Get the Lipglasses and Lip Pencils for $19, the lipsticks for $20, and the Mineralize Skinfinish for $37.
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Originally Appeared on Allure