The Covid pandemic has been instrumental in accelerating a shift from the heavy influencer-style look, popular in the 2010s, to a more natural and dewey appearance.
But how has beauty changed over history? From the glitz and glamour of the 1920s to the make do and mend approach of women in wartime Britain, who used burnt cork for mascara and beetroot juice for lipstick, each era has developed its own distinct look.
Experts at the Transform Hospital Group have examined how beauty trends have changed over the last ten decades, and which make-up looks have withstood the test of time.
The experts analysed various historic makeup guides and old photographs before working with artists to visualise the most popular beauty looks from the 1920s to the 2020s ,and predicting how beauty will evolve in the 2030s.
1920s: Glamour takes hold as make-up use becomes more popular
The 1920s saw an increase in women wearing makeup with shaped lips and heavy eye-shadow in style
The 1920s saw an increase in women wearing makeup, early stigmas surrounding the use of makeup were gone and women felt comfortable using the latest products to enhance their beauty.
Shaping the lips were a huge trend in this era, women would line their lips smaller than their natural outline and shape them to make it look like they had a cupid’s bow. Red was the most popular shade of this decade.
The other well-loved trends were dark defined lashes, with more daring women also using a kohl eye shadow and plucked eyebrows that were drawn in a downwards fashion towards the temple.
People used various foundation liquids and powders to get the highly coveted pale, ivory skin and blush was applied in circles to give the appearance of a more rounded face.
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1930s: Softer eyeshadow and a more feminine look
Makeup in the 30s was greatly different to its previous decade, heavy eyeshadow was replaced by softer shades
People were still feeling financial strains from the Great Depression, and so although 1930s makeup appeared glamorous, people often didn’t have much money to spend on beauty products. Subsequently, beauty routines became much more practical, using fewer products to achieve the same result.
Makeup in the 30s was greatly different to its previous decade, heavy eyeshadow was replaced by softer shades, femininity was the goal with a push on a more natural look.
Hollywood hugely influenced this decade; stars wore glamorous styles that many women wanted to recreate, as such, the pancake foundation that was made popular for its use on actresses became commercially available in 1937, much to the public’s joy.
Actresses also influenced the huge trend of pencil-thin eyebrows, with some women completely removing their eyebrows so that they could draw a higher brow back on. People also changed their lip line, so it appeared longer and fuller, with shades such as maroons and dark reds in favour.
1940s: Well groomed and minimal but with statement lipstick
In the 1940s eyebrows were well-groomed, medium thickness and either brushed or lightly drawn in and colour matching was very popular
In wartime Britain, make up ingredient were in short supply and as such innovative substitutes such as burnt cork for mascara and beetroot juice for lipstick were introduced.
Thanks to the impact of rationing and product scarcity, 1940s makeup was very natural and sun-kissed with the addition of a red lip. 40s women were praised for their use of lipstick, as it was viewed as a good way to boost morale whilst maintaining their femininity.
Eyebrows were well-groomed, medium thickness and either brushed or lightly drawn in. Colour matching was very popular, with beauty advice being to match your blush, lips and nail colour to each other.
Any eyeliner that was used was applied very subtly, towards the end of the decade eyeliner started to become more defined and not too dissimilar to the style that is still worn today.
1950s: Rise of pastel shades
Post-war, the 1950s saw the rise in pastel make up; greens, blues, yellows and pink were vastly popular in this time
Post-war, the 1950s saw the rise in pastel make up; greens, blues, yellows and pink were vastly popular in this time.
Soft eyeliner was paired with generous applications of mascara, whilst full eyebrows with a defined arch, and pale foundation in a cream or liquid texture were the way to go in this decade. People also applied their blush very high on the cheeks, never going below the tip of their nose.
The most popular lip line changed again with people now extending the border of their mouth, to give a more voluptuous look. And pinks, orange-reds and purple-reds were the most popular lip colours of this era.
1960s: Winged liner and a focus on the eyes
Thick winged liner was a hugely popular trend of the 60s and women started using concealer for blemishes and bags under the eyes
Thick winged liner was a hugely popular trend of the 60s, women would create a cat-eye effect, giving the appearance of a larger, brighter eye.
This decade also introduced false eyelashes to the world, made popular by a photo of the famous model Twiggy, people would buy the longest lashes they could find or layer on mascara if they weren’t available.
Along with the introduction of falsies, women started using concealer for blemishes and under eyes as well.
Cool tones were the trend of the decade, with eyeshadow colours in grey, blue and white being the most sought after. People opted for foundation was pale and matte choosing to forgo any blush, bronzer, or highlighter.
As the 60s trends had such a focus on the eyes, lips were often a nude colour or some women even matched them to their foundation, creating a vastly contrasting appearance.
1970s: Tanned and natural look with shimmery eyeshadow
In the 1970s sheer coverage foundation became more popular, and people swapped their pale shades for a more tanned and natural look
The 1970s saw a change in the way we approached our makeup. Sheer coverage foundation became more popular, and people swapped their pale shades for a more tanned and natural look.
Bronzer was now being heavily incorporated into people’s routines and there was a rise in popularity of using pearl powders to give a healthy glow and accentuate the cheekbones.
Shimmer and crème eyeshadows also became very popular trends, always paired with mascara or false lashes, although these were more natural shapes and sizes than worn in the previous decade.
Eyebrows were also kept natural, people opted for brushing them with clear mascara rather than filling them in with pencil.
In keeping with the natural trend of the decade, clear lip gloss or nude lipstick was the most popular choice when it came to lip products.
1980s: Bold colours become popular
The 80s were a time for colour; blue, purple, pink eyeshadow was everywhere and bright bold lips were incredibly popular during this decade
The 80s were a time for colour; blue, purple, pink eyeshadow was everywhere, the brighter your look was, the better. And it wasn’t just eyeshadow, coloured mascara and bright bold lips were incredibly popular during this decade, reds, pinks, and oranges were the trendiest to wear.
Raccoon-esque liner was all the rage, with people opting for a heavy application around both the tops and bottoms of their eyes.
This was also the first decade we saw the bushy brow gain popularity. Blush was a must-have, with people opting for bold colours like bright pink or deep plum, and in order to get these standout looks picking the right base was key.
When it came to complexion trends, heavy foundation that was lighter than your natural skin tone was the most common look.
1990s: Dark lipliner and bold eyebrows
Brown, purple, and burgundy lipstick flew onto the scene during the 1990s and became a huge trend, usually paired with a dark lip liner
The 90s were the decade of bold eyebrows, eyes and lips.
Brown, purple, and burgundy lipstick flew onto the scene and became a huge trend, usually paired with a dark lip liner. At the time it was very trendy to line the lip with a darker colour, then use a lighter lipstick and not blend the line, giving a very striking look.
Eyebrows were dark and well-defined, and usually very thin. We also saw the start of the blue eyeshadow trend and the use of glitter on the eyes. Skin was flawless and fresh, and so provided a striking contrast with the favoured bold eyes and lips.
2000s: Blue eyeshadow and lots of lip gloss
The 2000s had less of an emphasis on skin or complexion products, with the main identifiable look being some blue eyeshadow and glossy lips
The 2000s had less of an emphasis on skin or complexion products, with the main identifiable look being some blue eyeshadow and glossy lips.
Vibrant blue eyeshadow was donned all over the eyelid and underneath the eyes, there was no getting away from this bold trend.
This decade was also a fan of the frosted lipstick and lip gloss (a lot of lip gloss). Eyebrows were plucked thinner than is trendy now and were shaped with a defined arch.
People would style their hair with the addition of extreme highlights, with the final touches of either crimping or straightening it.
2010s: Full coverage, heavy brows and contouring
Going back to the 2010s, the biggest trend was a full face of make-up with heavy brows, contouring, and highlighting
Going back to the 2010s, the biggest trend was a full face ‘beat’. Full coverage foundation was paired with carved out brows, and contouring, and highlighting to the max.
A bright highlight on your cheekbones and high points of your face gave the impression of a striking glow. Experimenting with eyeshadow looks was in full swing, so whether you preferred a bold, colourful look or something deeper and smokier there was an option for every preference.
The 2010s also brought about the trend of the full pout and lip fillers. Overlining lips was greatly popular and many opted for bold, matte lips in their day to day make up routines.
This decade also saw the trend of faux freckles, where people would add freckles over their foundation.
2020s: Dewy skin and emphasising natural features
The use of crème and liquid blushes, bronzers and highlighters are on the rise as people are moving away from powder products to give a more glowing skin appearance in 2020
The 2020s have seen the focus move away from makeup and onto skincare, with the biggest trend of the decade so far being ‘your skin but better’ makeup and skin rejuvenation treatments.
An emphasis on embracing your natural features has meant people are looking for dewy skin, natural brows, and neutral lip colours.
The use of crème and liquid blushes, bronzers and highlighters are on the rise as people are moving away from powder products to give a more glowing skin appearance.
Monochrome looks are a big trend with people using multi-use products over their eyes, lips, and cheeks to have a cohesive look in a bid to save us precious time in the mornings.
Don’t be fooled though, despite the natural look being much coveted, 2020s makeup is far from boring, with every opportunity to experiment with bold looks and colour.
As another emerging trend is experimenting with eyeliner flicks (fox, dog, cat, bear, owl, tiger) and colourful graphic liner looks.
2030s: Radiant complexion and barely-there lipstick and blusher
The experts at Transform predict that in the 2030s, skincare and anti-ageing treatments will continue to be a priority with non-surgical procedures such as PRP (Vampire Facelifts) expected to be popular, as a way to help wind back the years and achieve plump skin and a radiant complexion.
They also believe that makeup will become more playful – with less need to hide skin imperfections. Shadows and pencils that make a feature of the eyes in particular (such as jewel-toned eye liners) may become a top trend, alongside ‘barely there’ blush and lip colours.
The experts at Transform predict that in the 2030s, make-up will become more playful – with less need to hide skin imperfections