Kelly Kapowski: A 'Saved By The Bell' Beauty Look That's Still Hot 20 Years Later

After years of hearing comparisons, I finally went full-on Kapowski.
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After years of hearing comparisons, I finally went full-on Kapowski.

I've never watched Saved By The Bell. Of course I've seen it, but I abruptly changed the channel as soon as the supposed heartthrob entered stage left. Zack Morris? Are you kidding me, "Zack" with a "k"? That almost tops "Luke" for the most unsexiest dude names in totality. Admit that you've only ever lady-boned for Han Solo and just try to tell me that "lukewarm" is not the most boring of all waters.

YES, YOU.

YES, YOU.

And he's BLONDE. Ugh, I can't with this blonde dude stuff. I've never been attracted to a blonde dude EVER. Seriously, if I'm ever in a social singles situation (in which every dude should assume that I am UNAVAILABLE despite dressing super hot--that's not for you, that's for Instagram, cheesedick), if there's a blonde guy in my immediate vicinity, I will instantly start backing away; not by choice--it's just like some weird anti-magnetic force.

That is, unless, I MAKE the dude blonde, in which case exceptions exist. But Zack Morris-y, Malfoy-esque highlighted teen heartthrob vampire muscles go down with Bimbo Bread and computer paper to damp fingertips as things I have no interest in and whose existence find utterly boring and really irritating all at the same time.

BUT I've been told countless times that I remind people of Kelly Kapowski. Maybe it's my adorable chipmunk-y cheeks and long, brown, side-flopped hair, or because my previous skin tone could be found in a swatch ring for leather sectionals, but it definitely trumps my Mila Kunis comparisons, which is a hard pill to swallow. Only because I enjoy inciting girl crushes way more than boy crushes, and Kelly Kapowski is the ultimate boy-crusher.

Well, man-crusher. I've really only ever heard the comparison from older dudes who actually grew up watching Saved By The Bell. I'm an '80s child by a couple of months, so I barely missed the early '90s sitcom cutoff and delved right into Boy Meets World and All That, among the others. (Manda manda manda manda manda, manda manda manda manda manda shoooowww.) Although Full House, Step by Step, and Fresh Prince somehow made it into my viewing schedule, which leads me to believe that Zack is ultimately to blame.

Kelly was a high school student, so her beauty game was uncomplicated as far as skill or time or even number of products, but what she did emphasize (the hair, the tan) were emphasized.

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I started my only-a-matter-of-time recreation with some self-tanner, a product that I used more than my fair share of throughout my own stint in high school. While pretty much every self-tanner on the market has finally figured out how to get a somewhat natural color, it's the consistency and application method that separates the busted from the stuff you wanna be using.

And now for beauty advice you've probably never ever even heard ever: exfoliate before applying self-tanner. I will, without sarcasm, recommend trading any super-rough salt scrubs for a less abrasive and gentler option. I used Clarins Smoothing Body Scrub, which has tiny little bamboo powder granules that will give you a more even and less irritating exfoliation. It's not oily either, so you won't create a thick, greasy barrier between your skin and the self-tanner. I really, really like this stuff; it feels super expensive and luxurious. It's like exfoliating with runny icing made with raw hippie sugar.

I used Kate Somerville's 360 line--the face pads and body towelettes.

Left: for the face. Right: for the bod. 

Left: for the face. Right: for the bod. 

How genius are the facial pads? You peel of the label to reveal a pre-loaded cotton pad with a little finger pocket in the back. Just rub gently in circular motions over a clean face (I like to let a light moisturizer set in for about 10 minutes before application so that the skin will evenly absorb the product--this goes for face and body.)

Also, something should be said about the size of the body towelettes. I used to hate spending money on higher end tanning towels in lieu of the unpredictable application of drugstore creams, sprays, and lotions, because one towelette was NEVER big enough for my entire body. Which probably contributed into thinking I was MUCH LARGER than the average tan American female. Kate's are huge and absolutely big enough to use over my entire body.

The end color, which didn't develop fully for about eight hours, was about two or three shades darker than my natural skin tone, and left me looking really glowy and toned.

Now to the hair. I love the '70s/'80s/early '90s FTW volume--like who cares if it's frizzy and fluffy and not completely smooth, those chicks just wanted their hair to take up more SPACE. Before styling, definitely shampoo with a clarifying or volumizing cleanser. This will remove any buildup that could weigh hair down and not add any extra moisturizers which are the death of fluffy volume.

I used Garnier's Volume Extend which did an excellent job of really clarifying the oily mess that my scalp had become after a week of skipping shampoo. Apply a TINY amount of conditioner to just the very ends of your hair to smooth them out rather than conditioning your entire head.

I started with slightly damp, almost dry hair, combing through a volumizing mousse (blowpro's body by blow), and blow-dried completely. Then I took small-to-medium sections at the very top of my head and rolled them up in JUMBO velcro rollers. This will start the lifting process, and give that soft volume in the top sections that you can't get with backcombing.

Blow dry on high heat to warm, and then let set by letting them cool before unrolling. 

Blow dry on high heat to warm, and then let set by letting them cool before unrolling. 

As I unrolled the sections, I sprayed a bit of Redken's Quick Tease 15 (a "backcombing finishing spray"--think volumizing, light hairspray) at the roots. I was skeptical, but this stuff really did help to hold the height in the top sections.

For the rest of the length, just leave in all the un-sleek, freshly blow-dried glory. You'll get a nice little halo of frizzies because you're a sun-kissed teen angel.

Yes, you. 

Yes, you. 

Makeup-wise, the look is pretty uncomplicated, just some purplish shadow, bronzer, and a rich ruddy apricot glossy lip. You know that color? Not really orange, not exactly pink... doesn't scream red. It was a popular neutral choice between '77 and '97. I went with Clarins Crystal Balm in Crystal Gold Plum, which is another great way to describe the color.

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It has a clear green glossy outside, with the color stuffed in the middle like a Twinkie for those that would never eat a Twinkie, and feels like everything I'd ever want in a lip product at 17. It's a little novel, maybe a little gimmicky if it didn't look so nice once applied, after a quick lip-rub-together to mix the lipstick in with the glossy balm. And it smells sooo dreamy/fruity/highschool-y.

For the eyeshadow I went with Kevyn Aucoin's Faded Heather, another product that sounds straight out da '90s. Like, you probably mail ordered a crop sweat shirt in that colorway for your first day freshman year. It's a dusty, pinkish lavender.

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I wasn't quite dark enough, even after the self tanner, so I warmed up my face--especially my kid-chub cheek--with Clarins Splendours Summer Bronzing Compact. It has a bit of pearlescence but no glittery shimmer, and looks way chic and beautiful in it's Aztec-y hieroglyphic compact.

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For the apples of my cheeks I went with a super-teen apricot blush by Make--Terra Cotta is the shade. I can't say enough about how well this brand does blush. It's VERY pigmented, so a little goes a long way, and the shades blend beautifully into skin for a natural but definitely-there flush.

**If you've noticed at this point that I'm only wearing one hoop, you're too observant and should definitely become a radiologist.** 

**If you've noticed at this point that I'm only wearing one hoop, you're too observant and should definitely become a radiologist.** 

Keep the nails long, rounded and unpainted. To prevent staining, paint them before applying self tanner as a barrier, and then remove the polish once the self-tanner develops. I'm a great hand-washer and generally pretty great at beauty stuff across the board, but self tanner tends to stick around and develop in the worst crevices.

So, like, what do you think?

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She's way cuter compared to my seen-some-s&*% 20-something face, but I think this look is really fresh no matter how old and haggard and un-teenagery you are. Ugh, I can't believe I just had to side-by-side myself with Kelly Freaking Kapowski. Be kind.

Also, I know Saved By The Bell has a pretty hardcore fan base, and so if you're going to bitch at me for not liking it in the comments, will you please recommend a good starter episode? Like an iconic, great story that might convince me to finally get into the show? That'd be great.

One more, for my super sore ab's sake. I'm feeding them Combo's now as a thank you for working so hard those two days immediately before shooting this. That'll do, piggies, that'll do. 

One more, for my super sore ab's sake. I'm feeding them Combo's now as a thank you for working so hard those two days immediately before shooting this. That'll do, piggies, that'll do.