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Why makeup trends of 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are trending

Whether it was the Paris fashion week or the New York one, makeup artistes followed one formula, merging the past and the present. A guide to help you recreate the looks

From the Altuzarra collection presented at the New York Fashion Week in September

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For over two years, skin that glows from within has been the dominating makeup trend (in addition to Euphoria-inspired makeup). Whether it was at the 2022 New York Fashion Week or the recent Paris Fashion Week, skin that looks nourished, hydrated and cared for has become non-negotiable. Such is the focus that creators of fashion weeks are collaborating with celebrity skin clinics and facialists to prep models’ skin before they get the war paint on.

With natural-looking glowing skin serving as a bare canvas, makeup artists are seeking inspirations from different eras to give us a 2022 iteration. The models at the recent Christian Siriano show, for example, paid homage to old Hollywood glamour with plush red lips, and Audrey Hepburn’s fringe was presented in the most trending wet hair version, with hair slicked across the forehead with a deep side part.

Also read: Skin smooth enough for social media could burn you

From the Christian Siriano collection at the New York Fashion Week on 7 September in New York.
From the Christian Siriano collection at the New York Fashion Week on 7 September in New York. (AP)

The biggest makeup inspiration for most of the shows this season has been the 1990s, an era which, like today, saw the popularity of bare, glowing skin with a few glittering accents, after the heavy makeup phase of the 1980s.

Keeping this in mind, we take a step back in time to help you recreate the signature looks of the previous eras.


With the release of the movie Blonde and Kim Kardashian's Met Gala dress disaster, Marilyn Monroe's style has been a topic of conversation for the past few months now. Even Siriano’s show, which took place inside Elizabeth Taylor’s old townhouse, was a salute to old Hollywood glamour. And why not? Be it an eyeliner flick, plump red lips or the French knots, classic glamour never goes out of style. Carolina Herrera, too, had a spring-ready wardrobe to match creamy red lips that were perfectly defined.

How to do it

“For Marilyn Monroe-inspired red lips, start by prepping your skin, keeping it bare and minimal. You can opt for a tinted moisturiser. To keep this look modern and chic, the entire focus should be on well-defined bright lips paired with a gloss. Eyes should be clean, and brows should have a defined arch,” says makeup artist Taskeen Chunawala.


The 1960s were all about winged liners and exaggerated lower lashes. Clumped lower lashes have been having a moment this year, thanks to the trending Barbiecore movement (singer-actor Selena Gomez posted a video on social media, showing how she creates doll-like lower lashes by clumping hair with a tweezer). While the 90s were the biggest inspiration for Jason Wu, the looks combined sleek knots with winged liner from the 1960s.


From the Jason Wu collection during fashion week in New York City on 10 September
From the Jason Wu collection during fashion week in New York City on 10 September (REUTERS)

How to do it

“What’s 60s-inspired makeup without Twiggy? You could try a defined graphic liner on the cut crease of the eye with heavy mascara and liner-drawn lower lashes for a dramatic eye with white eyeliner on the waterline. Use a brow gel to give them an arch and a modern take,” says makeup artist Disha Solanki. She suggests that you finish the look with a nude matte understated lip so the attention stays on the eyes.


Be it Farah Fawcett’s bangs, or Cher and Ali Mcgraw’s glam or natural looks, the flower power era saw a lot of skinny brows, juicy natural lips and blushed terracotta cheekbones created with a sweeping brush technique. A similar blush draping technique which gives a rather subtle contour and flush to the cheeks was also seen at Christian Cowan’s and Aliétte's shows.

How to do it

“Fresh sun-kissed look from the 70s can be created by prepping the skin with a bronze illuminator. Warm your skin with generous amounts of bronzer, in a "3" shape across your face. In other words, start from the forehead, to the cheeks and jaw. Finish the look with some blush on the cheeks and nose,” says Chunawala.


From the Tommy Hilfiger show during New York Fashion Week on 11 September
From the Tommy Hilfiger show during New York Fashion Week on 11 September (AFP)

The 1980s can be a tricky era to try today, with its bad perms and mullets. But Tommy Hilfiger did a fun take on the era with clean, nourished skin paired with chrome nails, and dark and intense smudged cat eye looks. Tom Ford also presented bits of the era in his makeup with grungy smoky eyes.

How to do it

You could get Hilfger’s look just by applying your kohl pencil in the inner corner and heavily lining the lashes, all blended with a matte eyeshadow.

“Smoky eyes, and metallic smoky eyes were a staple of this era. For a more subtle look, play with shades of brown, grey or plum and pair with nude lips. Big hair from the 80s can be achieved using a chopstick curler,” says Chunawala. Once you’ve managed to curl, open them up with your fingers, pin one side of your hair, setting the rest on the other side. You can use some gel or hairspray to tame the pinned side.


From the Fendi show on 21 September during the Milan fashion week
From the Fendi show on 21 September during the Milan fashion week (AFP)

The New York Fashion Week saw a return of the 1990s. Not only did we see clean and glossy skin with paired down lips, but the 90s grunge also made an appearance at Fendi’s show. One of the biggest shows with a 1990s reference was that of Jason Wu with slick buns, thick eyeliner and clean skin. Another way to try this era is with an undone, smudgy smoky eye, which was seen at PatBo (paired with glossy skin). Brown lips were seen at Victor Glemaud, glittering cat eyes at Tory Burch, and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy was the muse for Sandy Liang’s show. Sergio Hudson had models with big hair as seen on runways during the 90s era. So did Son Jung Wan.

How to do it

“The 90s were all about glitter and gloss. Take a silver eyeshadow and sweep it across the eye, paired with a solid black liner and heavy mascara. Line the lip with a lip liner of your choice and fill in with a lipstick that is two tones lighter. Blend to create a gradient, 2022 version instead of the starkly outlined lips of the 90s. Top it with the same silver eyeshadow and gloss to give a frosty effect,” says Solanki. You could also slightly overline your lips and then fill them with a cool-toned brown lip colour.


Y2K has been enjoying the limelight for sometime now. And to prove it further, there were a lot of sleek buns and spiky Mohawk buns signature of the 2000s, at Altuzarra.

How to do it

Start with straight hair, sleek it down with some hair spray or gel and secure it in a tight bun, leaving the ends out. You can further straighten the hair ends with a straightener or use a small amount of hair gel.

Current era

Social media and the pandemic have given rise to several makeup trends. We rebelled with pop colours either on the eyes or the lower lash line, but remained invested in natural, glass-like skin. 

How to do it

One of the easiest trends to follow, all you need is a wash of bright colour on the eyes. “Use a single colour of eye shadow all over your eyes, and layer cream with powder shadows for maximum colour payoff. You can use the colour in the inner corner too,” Chunawala su.

Also read: Why today’s beauty shoppers are butterfly consumers



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