Makeup styles over the last hundred years have changed and evolved dramatically with each decade. While the 1980s were all about big, bold, bright colors, the 1990s emphasized natural colors and minimal styles. Each decade’s makeup looks influenced the next’s, and watching this evolution of colors and styles can help us better understand where current makeup inspiration comes from and the values of the time the style was popularized. Here is a look at the evolution of makeup over the last hundred years.
1. 1910s: Demure and Barefaced
The makeup styles of the 1910s were all about looking like you weren’t wearing makeup at all. Much like the fashion of the time, the makeup was understated and emphasized demureness and natural beauty. Plus, a lot of makeup had yet to be invented – popular makeup tools like mascara weren’t even around until the latter half of the decade. Makeup was also commonly affiliated with actresses and “ladies of the night,” making it taboo for polite society. Women of the time who decided to wear makeup mainly wore a dash of blush on their cheeks and a little bit of color for their lips. Icons like the Gibson Girl and Mary Pickford were the go-to for makeup styles.
2. 1920s: Smoky Eyes
Unline the 1910s, the makeup styles of the 1920s were all about deep, dark colors, especially around the eyes. The style of the Roaring ’20s heavily influenced the gold and glimmer of the makeup, and women at parties were commonly seen with heavy smoky eyes and (probably a little too much) mascara. A deep red lip finished off the look and the ladies were ready to party, and these iconic makeup styles were most widely popularized by flappers.
3. 1930s: Thin Eyebrows and Long Lashes
Makeup styles in the 1930s weren’t too different from the styles of the ’20s, but there was a new emphasis on thin, drawn-on eyebrows. The escapism offered by films during the Great Depressions caused a rise in women imitating the styles of their favorite actresses, where pencil-thin eyebrows and long lashes were all the rage. Blush and pastel eyeshadows were also popular during the time – but the eyebrows is where the true 1930s style existed.
4. 1940s: Understated and Practical
A drastic evolution in makeup styles from the bold 1920s and ’30s, the 1940s saw a return to a more understated and practical makeup. Many women at the time were working in factories and in the previously male-dominated occupations during WW2, so there was no need for big, bold party styles. Eyeshadow was usually understated and consisted of more natural beige and brown shades. Pinup girls also became popular during the time, with a heavy emphasis on sharp winged liner and bold red lips.
5. 1950s: Winged Liner and Bright Lips
The makeup styles of the 1950s relief heavily on the popularization of winged liner and red lips by fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. While the eyeshadow itself was usually toned down and natural, the winged liner and bright lips gave women of the time a more flirtatious look.
6. 1960s: Bright Shadow and “Mod” Inspo
Coming off the more natural and flirtatious makeup styles of the 1950s, 1960s was all about bright shadow and the London “mod” look. Popular models like Twiggy really popularized the look, and the music of the time heavily influenced the style. Skirts got shorter and clothes became more revealing, while makeup wanted to adopt the It look of big doe eyes with long eyelashes.
7. 1970s: Clean and Natural
While some of the makeup styles of the 1970s continued the bright colors and designs of the ’60s, the most popular look of the ’70s relied on a clean, natural look. The rise in the hippie ideals and the women’s liberation movement taught women that they should love themselves freely and not feel the need to conform to beauty standards of the time. The push for a cleaner earth also led to a need for clean, natural cosmetics.
8. 1980s: Go Big or Go Home
Another swift change in makeup styles saw a shift from the natural ’70s look to the big, bold style of the 1980s. Hair and makeup were all about being big and fun, and disco brought about a rise in colorful, sparkly eye makeup. Vibrant colors like neons and bright pinks and oranges were all the rage, reaching all the way from the eyelash line to the eyebrows. Icons of the ’80s included Madonna, Grace Jones, and Cyndi Lauper.
9. 1990s: Minimal
The makeup styles of the ’80s were all about being bigger and bolder, so the 1990s decided to pull back a bit and go with a more minimal, natural look. The ’90s were all about crisp, smooth lines and neutral colors, so a nice, clean brow and a set of brown tone eyeshadows, and a nude lip are all you need to rock a ’90s inspired look. Fashion icons of the ’90s included Kate Moss, Lisa Bonet, and Gwen Stefani.
10. 2000s: Frosted Colors and Sweeping Lashes
As far as makeup styles go, the 2000s definitely had one of the shiniest looks of them all. Frosted colors were all the rage in the 2000s, and lash extensions became even more widely popular than they had been before. Mascara was coated onto the eyes in order to create a long, sweeping effect, and eyebrows were at their best when they were pencil-thin and overplucked. Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Kim Kardashian were 2000s fashion inspirations.
11. 2010s: Big Brows and Bold Liner
The biggest difference in the 2010s makeup styles from the decade earlier was the emphasis on big, bushy, dark brows, popularized by beauty icons like Cara Delevigne and Lily Collins. Women everywhere put down the tweezers and began filling in and even tattooing on their eyebrows in order to gain that iconic, full look. Bold eyeliner looks also came back into style–you couldn’t go out without a darker winged liner to complete your look.