Calling someone a bimbo these days isn’t an insult. With the revival of Y2K fashion and beauty, Gen Z reclaimed has “bimbo culture” as a way to celebrate women dressing however the hell they want, and stars who have once been reduced to their sexuality are now being celebrated. One of the leading figures TikTokers turn to is Pamela Anderson, and there are tons of tutorials on the app to recreate Anderson’s tousled bun, smokey cat eye and pouty pink lip. Well, leave it to vintage makeup expert and celebrity makeup artist, Erin Parsons, to uncover the exact products and steps that actually went into creating Anderson’s iconic makeup look.
“I got the book; I got the DVD; I even got the entire makeup kit—because if you want Pam Anderson makeup, [you] have to learn from her makeup artist,” says Parsons in her TikTok video. The book, DVD, and makeup kit in question are all by makeup artist Alexis Vogel, who was Pamela Anderson’s longtime makeup artist before she passed in 2019. Vogel and Anderson first met on the set of Anderson’s cover shoot for the August 1993 edition of Playboy magazine, and the two quickly became close. Vogel was the mastermind behind Anderson’s instantly recognizable black and silver smokey eye, and is responsible for the looks Gen Z is currently taking so much inspiration from.
Back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, there weren’t Youtube videos or TikTok tutorials to turn to for makeup tips, so many makeup artists released how-to books and VHS tapes. Alexis Vogel released a book and video, which both include a tutorial for Pamela Anderson’s smokey cat eye, and even released the Alexis Vogel Make Me Over Kit ($499), which includes everything you need for an authentic ‘90s bombshell beat. You'll have to look for the DVD on eBay like Parsons, but the kit and book are still available on Vogel's website.
Using all Alexis Vogel products, Parsons first creates a wing with the Retro Cake Liner ($22), a water activated cake liner. “[Vogel] actually pulls the eye out and does a really rough, thick wing,” mentions Parsons. After the liner dries down, Parsons then blends it out with a Q-tip, per Vogel's instructions, “But actually, this product blends out really beautifully,” she adds. After that, Parsons uses the kit’s Pudgy Pencil ($22) to line the bottom lash line, and then begins to wet 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,” says Parsons, as she smokes out her lower lashline.
For Anderson’s intense eyeshadow, Parsons whips out the eye-shaping stencil that comes with the kit and places it underneath her eye. After that, she applies a black eyeshadow with a fluffy brush on a V-shaped line that coats her crease and lashline. “During this era, we highlighted one thing only: and that is our eyebrow bone,” Parsons says as she dusts a silver shimmer highlight dust over her browbone with a fluffy brush. “Now add that same highlight on the eyelid.” The highlighter in question is a cool nude shadow with hints of glitter inside, which Anderson reveals she still keeps in her purse during her “What’s in my Bag” video.
Parsons blends the two colors together with her damp sponge and then applies mascara to the top and bottom lashes and lines the waterline with a black pencil liner. “Alexis would use a full strip of Ardell Demi Wispies ($5),” Parsons reveals as she adds falsies to complete the look.
Anderson’s lips were iconic in their own right, and the process was pretty intense. In a second tutorial video, Parsons reveals, “This is like a six-step lip. You start with a stain, and you put it on the bottom lip only and then press to the top.”She mentions that it’s then required to overdraw the lips with a pencil over the stain and then gently pat foundation overtop the entire lip area to create a veil of coverage and set it with powder. “Now you go in with her nude lipstick,” says Parsons as she applies a light pink lipstick in the shade Debutant straight from the bullet.
“For that real ‘90s Playboy model lip, you gotta go in with the pink gloss [and] go all the way to the very edge—top and bottom, lots of gloss. When you buy the whole makeup kit, there are two glosses inside. Start with the pink, then go in with the lighter gloss right in the center.”
And there you have it: Pamela Anderson's actual '90s bombshell makeup routine.