Beauty Trends Across the Decades

Words by Georgia Glenn

Mirror, mirror on the wall… which is the greatest beauty trend of all?

Trends throughout the years have come and gone but some are so timeless we can’t help but bring them along with us every decade. Let’s have a look at what was popular during the decades…

Roaring 20s

Flappers, glitz, Great Gatsby? Yep, that’s all associated with the 1920s. During this time, there was an expansion of Hollywood movies into places where culture didn’t really exist e.g. farm lands. Because of this expansion, it now meant that more people could see what movie stars looked like and emulate it. The look of the 20s were bold, dark eyes – women caked on mascara and tried to make their eyes look as sultry as possible. Gloria Swanson provided great inspiration too; pair your dark eyes with a bright red lip and immaculate bob and you’ll fit right in with the 1920s.

Thrifty 30s

Following the sultriness of the 20s, the Great Depression arrived and affected the majority of the 30s. Money was tight, and as a result, so were the eyebrows. Brows were plucked to within an inch of their life, culminating in a very thin and arched brow. If you were indeed lucky to have money to spare, you could pair your (sometimes) shaved off brows with pastel colours. It was a way for women to escape their dismal and grey lives. Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow helped let these women live their fantasies within their means.

Fighting 40s

Both men and women had to work during the 1940s which meant there was hardly any time nor money nor products to use on makeup. Working on farms or in factories etc, women kept their makeup very natural as to not interfere with their work. Beige/natural eyes were very popular, along with bushy brows which were kept in place using balm. Although the war raged on, the ‘pin-up’ girl started to emerge, with Lucille Ball and Rita Hayworth providing inspiration for so many women across the world. The red lips and defined eyes, similar to those of the 1920s, helped to boost morale for the soldiers and their women, causing an interest in makeup to rise again.

Fabulous 50s

The beautiful entrance of a Miss Marilyn Monroe introduced a new type of glamour; and people were LIVING for it. After her role in The Asphalt Jungle (1950), winged cat-like eyeliner took off. The glamourous, classic eyeliner elongated women’s eyes and the feline feature made them even more feminine and mysterious. This timeless trend was joined with either a pink or red lip to tie the look together.

Swinging 60s

The 60s are known for its music, fashion, and its beauty – made famous by style icons like Twiggy, the “mod” fashion took the world by storm. Along with this fashion, lashes became incredibly popular; they were used in full force to create a ‘wide-eyed’ effect. Lashings of mascara were used paired with colourful and clumpy eyeshadow; white was used to widen the eyes, resembling dolls, and thick black eyeliner was used to top off the bright and wide eyes.

Stylish 70s

As quick as eye makeup had come, it was gone again in the 70s. With the introduction of hippies and all things natural, cosmetics became at odds with nature and so, people began to favour the more natural look once again. Ali MacGraw and Bianca Jagger paved the way for barely there eyeshadow and little-to-no mascara. Out came the environmentally friendly, and in went the makeup products.

Extra 80s

After a lack of makeup in the 70s, the 1980s brought makeup in abundance; it’s motto was “the more the better” (or at least it should have been!). The emergence of Studio 54 bought about every colour under the sun to cosmetics and these meant rainbow eyeshadows piled high onto the brow bone. With a surging economy, more money could be spent on makeup products so that meant use as much as possible and cover as much as possible; you have to be known of course, and what better way than to do it through the power of makeup?

Natural 90s

Everyone clearly had their fill of colour during the 1980s as the 90s created very minimal makeup. Think the natural look but with a bit of lippy and mascara, and you’ve got it! Thin eyebrows were once again all the rage, added with black mascara and pale pink lipstick. The 90s were very sleek, minimal and natural but with a touch of glamour. Kate Moss, a British supermodel icon, and Winona Ryder, and up-an-coming actress in the States, provided many women across the world the exact look for them to copy at home with little-to-no products needed.

Faux 00s

Mascara has stayed a constant throughout our beauty trends so it’s no surprise that they upped their game in the 00s. False lashes were all the rage and, if you couldn’t wear them (the best of us find them fiddly, don’t worry), then you could substitute them for the volumising lash wands that were being produced. All to do with making your lashes look as false as possible with your own lashes, these wands were made to boost your lashes and darken them too. Seen at awards events, J Lo and Kim K set the trend for big, wide, fake lashes with a hint of naturalness.

Trendy 10s

Whilst the 00s were about the lashes, the 2010s were all about the brows! Bushy, maintained, natural brows were everything to women during the 10s; during the 90s, women were professional groomers and overly plucked their eyebrows so growing them out and embracing their naturalness was a positive change! Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins were the epitome of maintained, bushy brows perfect for the 2010s.

So, there you have it! All the top trends from our grandparents’, parents’ and even our times beauty years. From Hollywood glamour to natural beauty to all out, psychedelic eyes, every decade has had their fair share of beauty. All that’s left to say is what will the 2020s have in store for us…?