Makeup trends have been evolving for millennia. It is worth mentioning because all fashions go in cycles. Makeup is an expression of self. The composition also reflects the person who wears it whether it be their style, their fashion, their nationality or their beliefs.
The hands of time keep turning
Most makeup trends begin with a natural and logical start and from there it carries itself till the fashion for that look wears out. Trend changes usually happen every ten years so just by looking back on the last century we can see not only a different emergent trend every decade but the resurgent cycles as fashions renew.
The first half of the 20th century
At the beginning of the 20th-century, women were all about looking natural. Cinema and moving pictures were becoming increasingly influential as women copied the stars of the day. None bigger than Mary Pickford, America’s Darling, who would lead the fashion for the natural look for the two decades that she dominated Hollywood. Her gaze was not only a reflection of purity which her characters denoted but also fo strength as a feminist pioneer. She didn’t need to hide behind lots of makeup.
As the Roaring Twenties came into the fore, people wanted to look more glamorous. Smokey eyes, intense mascara and red ruby lips were the looks everyone wanted. After the Great War and substantial economic growth people were in a celebratory mood. This time this reflected in the way they looked and the trend was for decadent diva looks with the makeup to reflect the extravagant clothes people wore as well.
As the 1930s came and went with the Flapper look fading and another war on the horizon, trends evolved yet again. Women were joining the workforce to help in the war effort and now makeup was natural yet subtly seductive. Brows were bushier than the previous decade and women wanted to be taken seriously.
Baby boom beauty and beyond
The Second World War came and went and with it the austerity. In America in particular, life was good. Glamour was back. Everyone remembers Marilyn Monroe and her classic yet diva makeup. Women started bleaching their hair and emulating the winged, and china doll makeup look that made Marilyn such a draw.
We can see the back and forth but suddenly with the 60s a huge change came about. Female emancipation brought more freedom and independent thought. The Hippies of the 70s brought with them a renewed outlook on the world and how we should “ make love, not war.”
The reinvention of cultural priorities meant that not only trending looks evolved but also the reasoning behind them. Those two decades people became more natural. Holistic, organic and natural products were more likely to be marketed in makeup. Some makeup trends were set apart (Twiggy’s big eyes and Flower Power face painting for example ) but the whole movement was beginning to move toward sustainability.
The 80s saw a considerable lurch backward with regards to environmental considerations, but for new and exciting looks it was a boom time. Everything was to excess including makeup.
What did we learn?
We are in a new century where it seems that anything goes. You can say that natural brows are a huge trend. Ten years ago pencil thin brows were very trendy. These days contouring is a huge trend, but that is also recently fading. Looking flawless and natural is having its moment.
People are trending towards their tribes, and even on a catwalk you might not see the same look on the same designer. It’s now all about freedom of expression. The most significant trend to come in the past two decades though is an awareness of how our superficial consumer needs impact the planet and the animals on it.
There will always be a cycle of one look going and another emerging. We will still see a reflection of societal change and life practicalities reflected in makeup trends. What has grown over the past few decades and hasn’t looked back is our ever-growing sense of responsibility to make fashion trends socially conscious. Cruelty-free, vegan and environmentally sound makeup is not a trend but a newly emerging reality. I don’t see this particular trend fading.