When you’re in the public eye, you want to look your best. And the retro stars and public images (we compiled a list of our favorites from the 40s’-60s’) knew exactly how to draw attention to their best feature- their eyes. Thanks to their eyeliner and makeup techniques, we now have access to timeless photos of makeup looks that are just as pretty today as they were then. Maybe you prefer something a little more subtle. Or maybe you’re not afraid to go for a big cat eye and a little colorful shadow. Whatever your preference is when it comes to eye makeup, there’s something in this article for you! Here are our top retro liner examples to inspire you.
1. Ava Gardner
Let’s start with the lovely Ava Gardner, a Hollywood legend who starred in many films such as Lone Star and East Side, West Side. The mahogany-haired beauty had a knack for creating (or at least wearing) stunning makeup that went perfectly with her features and knew how to emphasize her green eyes long before Youtube makeup tutorials came into existence. To copy her technique (the one used in the image below), apply a bit of colored eyeliner (yes, you read that right) to your lash line, along with a bit of eyeshadow in a similar (but lighter) shade on your eyelids. Ava’s sporting an eggplant color, but try out a chocolatey brown eyeliner for blue eyes and a gold one for green eyes. Then, be generous with your mascara and make sure to apply it to both your top and bottom lashes in a zig sag motion. Fire engine-red lips are a bonus, but not a necessity.
2. Grace Kelly
Movie star and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly never ceased to wow her fans with her timeless style and show-stopping beauty. She made her almond-shaped blue eyes pop by going a bit darker with her eyeliner and framing her eyes with well-groomed brows. To emulate her retro liner, get your hands on a classic soft-touch eye pencil (check out the ones at Merle Norman if you have one near you) and line your top and bottom lash line, starting with just a smidge and slowly adding more product as you go along. Then add a layer of dark purple or navy eyeshadow (with the same technique- starting with a little and adding more) and adding a little flick at the end for a slight winged effect. Finish with a lengthening mascara and get ready to paint the town!
3. Liz Taylor
If you’ve ever seen Liz in Cleopatra, you know just how well the actress can rock an extremely bold eyeliner look. While she toned down the intensity for real life, she still embraced a daring mentality when it came to emphasizing her lavender eyes, reaching for liquid eyeliner and liberally applying it on both her top and bottom lash lines. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous and want to try out the retro liner look below, get as close to your inner lash line as possible with a dark liquid liner and swish upwards when you get to the end of the eye (the wing should start precisely at the corner of the eye, not above or below it). Then, line your lower lashes with an eyeliner pencil in the same color and add a second line on your eyelid above the original wing (but only if you feel you can master this technique). Finally, add mascara and false lashes if you have them and wear them with regal pride!
4. Audrey Hepburn
In almost every movie she starred in, Audrey Hepburn gave the impression of being a pretty girl with a secret strength that was only realized by those who really invested in getting to know her. She emulated a similar mood with her makeup, not shying away from anything that emphasized her big, doe-like eyes. She knew that femininity does not equal weakness! To copy Audrey’s look, line your top lashes in a neutral color (such as brown or black) with a pencil, and smudge slightly to make the line look a bit more natural. Then add the slightest amount of the same liner to the outer corners of your eyes and blend before adding lash inserts to play up your natural lashes. Beautiful!
5. Marylin Monroe
How could this article exist without paying tribute to the glamorous Marylin Monroe? While her red lipstick and blonde curls may have stolen the show, her eyes never looked half bad either. Copy Marylin’s makeup by doing a classic cat-eye wing on each eye, one that goes straighter across rather than flicking up. Keep it thin on your upper lids but thicken up the line as you move the liner towards the outsides of your eyes. Complete this look with arched eyebrows and a great set of false eyelashes. Fabulous!
6. Julie Andrews
Do you prefer a less is more approach to makeup? Then you may benefit from channeling some Julie Andrews vibes in your next retro eyeliner look. The Sound Of Music star is just as beautiful today as she was during the sixties, with age-appropriate makeup for every stage in her life. When she was younger, she accentuated her slightly downturned eyes by adding a small liquid eyeliner wing slightly above the outside of her eye to give height and used a defining mascara to separate her top and bottom lashes. Her look wasn’t extravagant, but it’s clear from one glance just how much effort went into it, and her attention to detail made for elegant-looking makeup. If you want to copy the look below, make sure to go slowly- haste makes waste, you know!
7. Jackie Kennedy Onassis
The late Jackie O. may not have starred in any films, but that didn’t stop her from being any less stylish than an old Hollywood actress. She’s another example of how little makeup one can use and still look well-rested and beautiful, lining her eyes with a pencil liner on the top and bottom lashes and filling in her brows generously. Want to do something similar with your makeup? Make sure that you take good care of your skin and apply a little concealer, blush, and the slightest bit of bronzer to let those baby browns steal the show.
Who in their right mind would think of retro eyeliner looks and not immediately think of 60s’ model Twiggy? This willowy girl’s cutting-edge eye makeup is simply unforgettable- she made her round eyes appear even larger by lining her upper lash line, her eye crease, and even by making little lines along her lower lash line to give the illusion of super long lashes. To put a modern spin on her look, try lining your lash line with liquid liner (making a straight line), adding dark eye shadow to your eye crease and blending (instead of liner) and putting lots of mascara on your top and bottom lashes. Groovy!
Which retro liner looks inspire you? Are you as big of a fan of eye makeup as we are? Tell us in the comments below!
featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/CyZgpxpcACc
Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.