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The early 2000s were a lot… but that’s just the way we liked them. From the glitter to the layers (so many layers), overplucked eyebrows and so much more, needless to say, it wasn’t the most timeless of eras. Many of us thought we had said bye bye bye (that was an early 2000s reference) to these cringeworthy – albeit epic – trends. No more anti-skip Sony Discmans (and pirated music, RIP), sayonara to the unnecessary collection of Von Dutch trucker hats, and auf wiedersehen to Uggs with low-rise denim skirts. 

While, yes, okay this decade had its obvious flaws, one thing it did that no other decade has done, was mystify (and sometimes horrify) a generation of people. In many ways there’s so much to miss, and seeing many of the trends we lived through once get a reboot by Gen Z has elicited feelings of nostalgia for all things 2000-2010, and it’s fun to look back on what once consumed our lives. 

We may not have had the sophistication of online shopping and YouTube makeup tutorials back then, but boy did we make the most of what we were given.

Lip Smacker

Lip Smacker first launched in the 1970s, and was most known for their sweet flavours, and brand collabs (who remembers the Dr. Pepper flavour? Crayola?) but peak popularity was by far the early 2000s. The squeezy, the liquid variety, and who could forget the frosted version? While it has been rebranded to stick to the times, it still has its same plastic-y goodness. 

Available here.

The 2021 alternative:

KNC Beauty Supa Balm

Vegan, Animal Cruelty-Free, Black-Owned

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s no-less-than 3 layers of extra black Maybelline Great Lash Mascara. Beloved for its long-lasting and lengthening capabilities, over the years it has been around, Great Lash has won every important beauty award you can think of. Because of its low price point and accessibility, (under $10 at most drug stores) that cult classic pink tube and lime-green wand was single-handedly responsible for transforming the eyes and hearts of many young women.

Available here.

CK One

We’re not at all surprised that this is still rated a top seller on Sephora because it was actually f*cking fire then, and probably still is now. Clean, classic, and undeniably iconic, CK One was the ultimate sensory flex, and those who knew what it was when you wore it looked at you with a certain level of understanding, like a secret pact. Aaaand how progressive this fragrance was, marketed sans gender for any and all people to wear. Should we bring it back? 

Available here

Mac Lipglass and Lipstick

In the early 2000s before Mac, there wasn’t a high-end department store brand of makeup that catered to all skin types and tones. So in addition to giving young people the platform to express themselves through makeup, based on their own skin colour and preferences, and championing people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community, Mac also changed the face of modern makeup, with colours like Velvet Teddy, Ruby Woo, Girl About Town and let’s not forget the forever classic clear lip glass, Mac stands to be often imitated but never duplicated. 

Available here.

Clinique Happy

Clad with the most unbelievably good-looking roster (Miranda Kerr, Rosie Huntington Whitley, the hot guy from Something Borrowed, etc) when you bought a bottle of Clinique Happy, you were actually buying more than just that, it was a lifestyle. It was a badge of approval into a world of endless possibility; a teenage dream. Fresh and elegant, it’s a smell we probably all remember today, even if it was just from the samples we got in our Seventeen and Allure magazine subscriptions.

Available here.

St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub

The promise of clear skin is what this face scrub sold, and all it really did was leave a lot people with not much more than aggravated pores, there was something sooo quintessentially early 2000s about trying to will St. Ives’ Apricot Face Scrub to work for your skin type, regardless of your individual hormones or genetics. Now we all know it’s not exactly the best of products, and if we really admit it to ourselves, it kind of hurt our skin, back in its hay day, it really was the shit. 

Available here.

The 2021 Alternative:

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator

Oxy Pads

The only thing harsher than early 2000s fashion was how Oxy Pads felt on our skin. Did anyone else experience a phantom tingling sensation by reading this name alone? As a teen, clear skin was all we wanted, but acne really was a right of passage, and Oxy Pads were marketed to expose insecurities that felt so deeply personal but were somewhat of a common experience. This product would likely never grace our bathroom shelves, but that’s just how it should be. 

Available here.

The 2021 Alternative:

FAB Pharma White Clay Acne Treatment Pads

Gillette Venus Razors

*I’m your Venus, I’m your fire, your desire*. In essence, there is nothing that differentiates a male-targeted razor from a female-targeted one, but the packaging and advertising, but colour us duped, before the basic discernment that comes with age, the early 2000s felt exponentially more empowering with us knowing we’d get an extra smooth shave using a freshly unpackaged Venus Razor. With Satin Care shaving cream? Even better.

Available here.

The 2021 Alternative:


DTC, female-founded

Lancome Juicy Tubes

Picture this: you’re looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror between classes during school. You whip out your Juicy Tubes in colour: Dreamsicle. You apply a bit too much, and smack your pout. You do a once over lick to make sure none is stuck in your braces. You put on your headphones. ‘Lucky’ by Britney Spears is playing. You raise your head, and head to math class.

Available here.

Herbal Essences 

Can we say ‘iconic’? Not only was this entire like affordable, but it also did the job just right and left our high school crushes always commenting on how amazing our hair smelt. 

Available here.

The 2021 Alternative:


Clean, Black-owned