100 Years of Makeup Trends

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Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror while doing your makeup and wondered how women of the past went about their makeup routines? Have you ever thought about recreating popular makeup looks you’ve seen in old movies? If you answered yes to either of the previous questions, this blog post is for you! We’re digging into 100 years of makeup trends.

Makeup in the 1920s 

Makeup is heavily marketed to the public at the start of the 20th century. The iconic makeup looks of the 1920s are etched into our collective consciousness. They feature smoky eyes, dark lips, and drawn on or plucked and arched eyebrows for dramatic effect. The look is clear and smooth, with round, red blush highlights near the cheeks. The eyes are covered with a solid, coloured eyeshadow. Mascaro, a specific type of mascara, is also introduced.  


Makeup in the 1930s 

More and more women begin to wear makeup as it reaches a larger portion of the population. The look is smooth and glossy. The introduction of colour photography changes everything. We can finally see the colours worn by so many beautiful faces. Eyeshadow becomes thinner and lighter. Red lipstick is all the rage. Little heart-shaped lips defines the 1930s. Cupid’s bow is redesigned in a bold, slightly exaggerated way.    


Makeup in the 1940s 

The 1940s were all about quintessential glamourHollywood’s golden years. War is brewing across the Atlantic. Most things seem to be in short supply. Makeup is lighter. Pink blush is delicately applied near the cheeks. The eyes are light too, almost bare. Eyelashes are curled to reveal the eyes. Eyebrows are thicker, and more natural. The star of the show is rich, blood orange lipstick.


Makeup in the 1950s 

In the 1950s marketing and consumer culture explodes, and with it, as did cosmetic ads. Enter the femme fatale. Think Marilyn Monroe. The look is bright and even. The use of foundation and powder becomes popular. Black kohl and eyeliner are in vogue, as are “cat eyes,” with light or blue eye shadow. The signature mood of the decade? Deep red with slightly orange hues.  


Makeup in the 1960s 

Eyeliner becomes thicker. Eyeshadows are coloured in multiple shades. The 1960s are all about beautiful eyes. The eyeliner is pronounced and the eyeshadow deepens the eyelids. Fake eyelashes and heavy mascara are fairly common. Lipstick trends toward clear and pinkish. Blue eyeshadow is gaining in popularity, and many are inspired by Brigitte Bardot and Twiggy.   


Makeup in the 1970s 

The early 1970s are still influenced by hippie fashion, pushing for a return to a lighter, more natural look. Faces are mostly bare, with little mascara accents. Disco music becomes popular, and with it, so do glitter and iridescent colour eyelids. They’re applied generously, like rosy blush. There’s a renewed interest in the 1920s lead by Barbara Hulanicki, founder of the Biba brand. 


Makeup in the 1980s 

Grab a hold of something, because the 1980s are all about explosive colour, everywhere from eyebrows to lips. Bright colour blends on the eyelids are commonplace. Neon pink or red lipstick is everywhere. Pink or fuchsia blush stretches from the cheeks to the temples and even mixes with eyeshadow. Punk fashion pushes boundaries with heavy, assertive makeup, and it’s no longer exclusively for women.   


Makeup in the 1990s 

This era is all about supermodels, shoegaze, and grunge. There’s not much focus on the eyes, save for a light or iridescent shadow. Dark red lipstick is back in full effect. Also, warm earth tones like brown make their presence felt. Looks are pale and mat. Eyebrows are thin (to the regret of many now). 


Makeup in the 2000s 

By the end of the 90s and beginning of the 2000s, RnB groups like TLC and Destiny’s Child set the tone. Makeup may or may not be glossy! Iridescent eyeshadow in blue and cream tones rule the day. Lipstick is luscious, redrawn in dark pencil and emphasized with gloss. There’s also a trend toward more rock and gothic looks, à la Avril Lavigne and Billie Joe Armstrong. 

Which era is your favourite? Which makeup style would you bring back? 

Written by Léa Lonval

Originally from the south of France, Léa has been living in Montreal for a little over a year. She is fond of literature, drawing and the performing arts, and for her, America (with a capital "A") is a major source of inspiration. Her biggest dream? Only to write an opera one day! Lover of the Mediterranean, her true passions are strolling along scorching beaches and swimming in the sea. She draws most of her fashion inspiration from cinema and the 1960s.

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