Every year, some old-school makeup trends start making a comeback. That’s not too surprising considering the love we have for past styles. After all, haven’t you ever wished that you’d gotten to live during a certain decade to experience the fashion and beauty that was popular then? There’s the classic makeup of the 1950s, the colorful confidence of the 1980s, and the moody beauty of the 1990s. Every decade has had some fun makeup trends — and a few that were sort of questionable (let’s leave the pencil thin eyebrows in the early 2000s).
Thankfully, due to the cyclical nature of style, some of those beauty trends are back in full force — welcome back, vampy lipstick. Maybe you’ve been loving a few of these looks without even realizing that they have roots in the past, as you can find these makeup looks on the runway and in Instagram posts by celebrities and makeup artists. You might even have some fashion-forward friends who are already sporting these fads on their faces. So, which beauty trends are back?
The old-school makeup trend of rocking eye jewels has returned
This unexpected makeup trend had a moment starting in the 1960s, and it served in stark contrast to one beauty trend from the 1970s — the no-makeup look. Disco was all the rage, and eye embellishments were the perfect way to shine on the dance floor underneath the disco ball. Cher, in particular, was known for her disco looks in this era.
This trend was featured on the spring 2020 runway. Valentino and Marc Jacobs, specifically, included this look in their shows. Models wore rhinestones around their eyes with lots of glitter, and most of the eye jewels were in metallic shades. Anna Sui models wore a simpler version of this fad with one silver star sequin under each eye, which is more wearable for every day if you want to try this out yourself.
In the media, this old-school makeup trend was show prominently in the HBO show Euphoria. The character Maddy is often seen wearing crystals on her eyebrows and around her eyelids, just like Cher did.
Graphic eyeliner is one old-school makeup trend that's coming back
Graphic eyeliner is a makeup trend from the 1960s, a time when makeup really focused on the eyes, as noted by Insider. When Elizabeth Taylor portrayed Cleopatra, she wore an extreme cat eye that connected to her eyebrows, Byrdie recalled. Model Donyale Luna also sported a bold eye look, wearing liner that extended into the crease of her eyelid and with bottom liner that didn’t connect to the liner on her top lid. Twiggy, queen of 1960s eye makeup, wore liner in the crease of her lid.
These days, stars like Shay Mitchell have been seen wearing their eyeliner in similar ways. Anna Sui, Matty Bovan, and Chromat all featured models with graphic liner in their 2020 runway shows. Their looks included diagonal lines cutting across the eyes and liner that floated outside the borders of the eye, and Anna Sui’s models also wore white eyeliner in a wing shape above her lids. Clearly, there aren’t man rules when it comes to graphic eyeliner!
The old-school makeup trend of wearing colorful eyeliner is becoming popular again
The sister makeup trend to graphic eyeliner is colorful eyeliner, whether it’s neon or pastel. Metallic finishes are trendy, as well as lime green and bright orange. Models on the Versace, Helmut Lang, and Anna Sui 2020 runways were seen wearing this look.
You can probably guess which decade showcased bright eyeliner: the 1980s. It was the decade of bold, neon makeup. Women weren’t afraid to apply it thickly. This is the decade that M.A.C Cosmetics was launched, as noted by Elle. Makeup artists in Canada wanted makeup that was opaque and easy to pick up on camera, hence the bright colors and heavy application. According to L’Oréal Paris, brightly colored eyeliner was popular in the early 2000s as well. Rihanna rocked this fad in 2005, as reported by Cosmopolitan, and Ashlee Simpson and Jessica Alba were also photographed wearing colorful eyeliner during that time.
Wondering how to apply it these days? Actress Shay Mitchell’s makeup artist, Ash Holm, has a trick for using any eyeshadow to make colored eyeliner. Holm told Marie Claire that she draws white eyeliner on the lid and then uses an angled makeup brush to add a layer of colored eyeshadow on top. It looks like colored eyeliner and no one would know the difference!
The old-school makeup trend of filling in your eyebrows is more popular than ever
If there was a trend to define the 2010s, it would be the natural, full eyebrow, as noted by Elle, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Ladies everywhere can rejoice that we don’t have to pick up our tweezers to over-pluck like we had to in the early 2000s.
As Insider noted, makeup is heavily influenced by, well, influencers. YouTube especially is full of vloggers with big, bold eyebrows that they’ve enhanced by filling them in with product. For example, James Charles is notable for his perfectly full eyebrows. And who could forget how Cara Delevingne was also behind this beauty fad? Elle asserted that it was her presence on the runway that sparked the obsession over full brows.
Filling in your brows is an old-school makeup trend from the ’80s, a decade for boyish brows. Madonna, arguably the queen of the 1980s, loved a bold brow look, as Good Housekeeping observed. She often filled them in so darkly that they couldn’t be missed. Brooke Shields also notably embraced her naturally thick eyebrows.
This old-school makeup trend is back and bigger than ever
Long lashes had a moment in the 1960s when big doe eyes became desirable. In February 1964, Time magazine dubbed it “The Big-Eyed Look.” Twiggy famously had spidery eyelashes framing her large eyes on the top and bottom lids. As Business Insider reported, the model wore fake eyelashes, but she also would have lashes drawn right onto her face. According to Allure, she even wore multiple sets (six!) of fake eyelashes at once.
During the same decade, American singer Diana Ross was also known for her endless lashes. However, fake eyelashes weren’t new — even back then. They were invented all the way back in the 1910s, according to The New York Times, and they became popular shortly thereafter.
Still, the 1960s bold, long eyelash trend arguably defined the era — and is expected to do the same in 2020. Makeup artist Kasey Spickard confirmed to Elle in the outset of the decade that Twiggy-esque lashes would be returning. “[Keep] both the top and bottom lashes super elongated and fluttery,” he advised. Don’t neglect those bottom lashes, as they’re key to pulling off the look.
This old-school makeup trend will have you channeling your inner Marilyn Monroe
There’s nothing more iconic than a red lip, right? Although ladies in the 1950s didn’t invent the makeup trend — women in the 1930s and 40s wore it first — they certainly popularized the shade. Back then, the bold lip was usually paired it with a tame cat-eye, according to Allure. This decade actually started what the Smithsonian magazine dubbed the “lipstick wars,” which involved makeup companies fighting to sell the most popular lipstick. Women in America paid out some $93 million just for lipstick in 1959, Allure reported. Now, that’s a lot of money!
Celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder confirmed to Who What Wear that retro makeup looks, including red lipstick, “will continue to be [huge] in 2020!” She explained further, saying, “A classic red like Clé de Peau Beauté Lipstick Cashmere in Legend ($65) will never go out of style…” And, according to L’Oréal Paris, blue-based reds, like the Legend shade, will make your teeth appear whiter. The red lip trend may be unfortunate for our wallets, but our teeth are here for it.
Blue eyeshadow is an old-school makeup trend we never thought would return
Your mind probably automatically jumps to the 1980s when thinking about blue eyeshadow, but the makeup trend actually had a moment in the 1960s first. Allure noted that bright eyeshadow applied to the whole eyelid was popular during the decade.
Popular women of the time, like Twiggy, donned the bright blue shadow and disco fans in the 70s kept the trend alive. During this time, women started to favor shimmery formulas, according to Allure. So, by the 1980s, blue shadow wasn’t actually a new thing, though it certainly came to characterize those ten years.
Although you may have never pictured the trend returning, makeup artist Patrick Ta used varying shades of blue eyeshadow on model Taylor Hill in 2019, as evidenced by a photo he shared on Instagram. Later that year, Kelsey Deenihan, another celebrity makeup artist, gave Millie Bobby Brown a gorgeous look using teal blue eyeshadow and Gigi Hadid wore light blue shadow on the runway in Marc Jacob’s Spring 2020 show. Although there’s no telling how long blue eyeshadow will stick around, there’s no time like the present to give it another go.
Glossy skin seems new, but it's an old-school makeup trend
No one saw this quirky makeup trend coming, but it has arrived and it’s surprisingly cool. Chanel’s Spring 2020 show featured runway models wearing lots of gloss — and not just on their lips. The result was shiny eyelids and glowing, fresh-looking faces. To imitate the look, Cosmopolitan advises buying a face gloss (yes, that’s a real thing). Alternatively, you could use Aquaphor, according to the publication. Apply it on your eyelids, cheekbones, and lips for a fresh sheen.
If face gloss or Aquaphor isn’t your jam, you have more options. Paul Lorenc, a board-certified plastic surgeon, told Byrdie that olive oil is very hydrating for the skin, leaving it looking dewy, which is why Cleopatra used it on her face. That’s right, glossy skin has been desirable for a long time.
According to Marie Claire, Marilyn Monroe was another iconic lady of the past who loved some face gloss. She wore petroleum jelly as a facial primer and finished off her look by applying it to her eyelids and cheeks as a highlighter.
Vampy lips is an old-school makeup trend that's stepping out of the shadows
According to Allure, “vampy” lips originated in 1910s. Actress Theda Bara is famous for her dark lips and is quoted as having once said, “You see, I have the face of a vampire, but the heart of a feministe.” Women likewise channeled this look as a sort of feminist rebellion and although they were judged for looking like temptresses, they embraced it. And, not unlike vampires themselves, this makeup trend lives on into eternity.
Max Mara’s Spring/Summer 2020 show featured models, including Bella Hadid, in this look. Celebrity makeup artist Keita Moore posted a picture on his Instagram of Eva Marcille, actress and model, wearing dark red lipstick.
However, you don’t have to be a model to rock vampy lips — you just have to know the tricks of the trade. L’Oréal Paris recommends exfoliating and priming your lips first. Next, use lip liner to keep everything in place and apply your lipstick, beginning in the center of your lips. Follow it up by fixing any mistakes around the edges of your mouth with concealer.
This old-school makeup trend will have you blushing
Red and pink shades of blush were used in the 1920s on the center of the cheeks, according to Allure. In the 1950s, a much lighter shade of pink became popular, but it was applied lightly so that it looked natural. To wear it in the classic ’50s style, L’Oréal Paris advises wearing blush in the shape of a “C” on your cheeks and temples. The goal was to look like you had an effortless, youthful glow.
Why would you want to wear this makeup trend today? Because it’s back in style, of course. In late 2018, model Lauren Elyse Forge was pictured on Instagram donning bright pink cheeks and the trend didn’t quit in 2020. Celebrity makeup artist Adam Burrell suggested wearing “popping blush in pinks and corals.” He further told Marie Claire that you should blend it into your temples and even into your eyeshadow (it may sound crazy, but trust the expert). This is similar to the way that women in the 1980s wore their blush. They used color to contour their faces and bring out their cheekbones, according to Allure.
Multi-colored eyeshadow is an old-school makeup trend that persists
Bright, colorful eyeshadow was a huge makeup trend in the 1980s (no surprise here!). Blue may have been the most popular shade for eyeshadow during the decade, but that doesn’t mean it was the only eyeshadow worn. In actuality, according to Allure, ladies in the ’80s weren’t afraid to use more than one vibrant eyeshadow at once. Although the trend eventually died down, it began making a resurgence on the runway. Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2020 fashion show channeled the iconic ’80s look by featuring models wearing bright mix-and-match eyeshadows.
To achieve a similar two-toned lid, Cosmopolitan recommended choosing colors that are across from each other on the color wheel (like blue and orange) so they stand out. L’Oréal Paris further suggests coating your top eyelid in one color and then using a second color to line your bottom lid. It may sound crazy, but it can actually look chic when it’s done well. Of course, blending is key. It’s a good idea to do this before putting on foundation since extra eyeshadow could fall onto your cheeks. It’s a lot easier to clean it up if your not wiping your face makeup away with it.
Hot pink lips is an old-school makeup trend to try
Welcome back, hot pink lipstick. According to L’Oréal Paris, this makeup trend from the 1980s returned in 2020, but that’s not the first time bright lips made a comeback. Makeup artist Sir John told Byrdie, “The ’80s is when lip colors really came back — women experimented with various shades but blue-based pinks and magentas were the go-tos.” The preferred formula in this decade was glossy and slick, which is evidenced by lipstick ads from the time.
Some 40 years after the bright lip trend reemerged, you can find Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel showing off how to wear this bold lip color. Makeup artist Patrick Ta snapped a picture of her wearing the bright shade and shared it on Instagram. Lucy Hale was also pictured styling the hot pink lip on the social media platform.
If you want to try the trend, Cosmopolitan advised looking for a fuchsia lipstick that has undertones of blue since it’s universally flattering. Although high-gloss hot pink lips were the rage in the ’80s, consider going for a matte formula for a modern take on the trend.
This old-school makeup trend is eye-opening
The ’80s are back, as we’re sure you know. According to L’Oréal Paris, bright eyeliner is one of the makeup trends from the decade that’s returned. Specifically, bright eyeliner applied to the lower lash line, aka “underliner.” Princess Diana rocked blue underliner in the ’80s and now it’s our turn. However, you don’t have to stick to blue if that’s not your preferred hue.
Models who walked the Balmain Spring 2020 fashion show showed just how cool purple underline can be. Sir John, Beyoncé’s makeup artist, is also a fan of purple underliner, as he demonstrated by applying matte lipliner as underliner to model Evelyn Rain. As is evidenced by his Instagram page, he’s also a fan of blue and pink underliner.
As L’Oréal Paris detailed, you simply need to pick a vibrant eyeliner and apply it to your lower lash line to get this look. Alternatively, you could also use eyeshadow and a makeup brush. For a smoky eye, smudge your colorful eyeliner so that the line isn’t precise. You can make it as dramatic as you want, depending on how thick you make your line. Or, you know, you could also just use lipliner!
Colored mascara is an old-school makeup trend that's back from the '80s
The 1980s and ’90s were all about colored mascara, according to Marie Claire. A Maybelline ad from this decade suggested coordinating your mascara color with your outfit. while a 1981 Almay ad boasted mascara in “scandalous colors” — whatever that means!
You may not have imagined colored mascara making a triumphant return, but it’s back, baby. Canadian makeup artist Marika D’Auteuil used pink mascara on model Viktoriya Gera in June 2019 and makeup artist Sir John actually used white mascara mixed with lip gloss to make burgundy mascara for model Evelyn Rain, which he demonstrated in an Instagram video in March 2020.
The reborn makeup trend is a fun and easy way to add some color to your makeup routine. It also requires less commitment, since it’s not as bold as a brightly-colored eyeshadow or lip color. If you’re intimidated by this trend, though, start a dark blue or a green shade first, suggested Cosmopolitan. Then, you can move onto a bright pink or purple mascara when you’re feeling bolder.
Glittery eyeshadow is an old-school makeup trend that's made a resurgence
Actress Elizabeth Taylor practically invented the sparkly eyeshadow trend when she donned glittery blue eyeshadow for her iconic role as Cleopatra in the 1960s. In the ’70s, singer Cher also rocked some bold glitter on her lids. This style became especially popular as a disco look. Although disco may now be dead, this fun fad has been resurrected.
In March 2020, makeup artist Marika D’Auteuil shared a picture of one of her clients wearing sparkly eyeshadow. Makeup artist Hannah Murray also implemented chunky, glittery eyeshadow during the Gabriela Hearst Spring 2020 runway show. Even Lady Gaga debuted the silvery, shimmery eyeshadow loo
at the 2020 Super Bowl Saturday performance. Celebrity makeup artist Adam Burrell told Marie Claire that this makeup trend is “so easy and always magical,” so it’s no surprise this trend has been propelled into the mainstream. To get the look yourself, L’Oréal Paris advises applying eyeshadow first. Then, use a glitter adhesive to apply glitter to your eyelids. If you want to truly emulate a disco queen, put glitter on your whole eyelid, even to the brow bone.
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