Beauty’s Journey Through Time: Past Influences and Future Prospects


The evolution of beauty trends offers a window into the changing tides of societal norms and cultural values, transitioning from the refined elegance of the 1920s to the bold and diverse expressions that characterize today’s beauty scene. Makeup has consistently served as a powerful tool for personal expression and a reflection of societal trends. As we progress, the beauty industry is in a constant state of flux, embracing new trends and reimagining classic styles for a contemporary audience.

Each decade contributes its distinct styles to the beauty canon, with numerous iconic looks undergoing transformations to resonate with modern sensibilities. The trajectory of beauty trends is on a continuous path of evolution, with the forthcoming decade poised to introduce novel innovations that will redefine traditional beauty standards. The 2020s are expected to showcase trends that capture the zeitgeist, reflecting current aesthetic preferences and advancements in the beauty industry.

The 1920s: The Birth of Bold Beauty

The 1920s marked the emergence of bold makeup choices, symbolizing the era’s liberated spirit, with flappers epitomizing this avant-garde style:

  • Eyes: The iconic smoky eye look was achieved with generous kohl application.
  • Lips: Deep red shades dominated, setting the fashion trends of the era.
  • Hairstyle: Finger waves added a touch of sophistication to the bob cuts, defining the beauty trends of the time.

The 1930s: Elegance Redefined

The 1930s saw a shift towards a more refined beauty aesthetic, emphasizing grace and sophistication:

  • Eyebrows: Thin, precisely arched brows became the standard, often redrawn after shaving.
  • Eyeshadow: Soft, muted tones offered a departure from the vibrant selections of the previous decade.
  • Lips: Dark pink shades gained popularity, complementing the subdued eye makeup.
  • Hair: Short styles mirrored the era’s polished aesthetic, with eyebrow grooming and makeup application enhancing the arches’ elegance.

The 1940s: The Essence of Practical Beauty

The 1940s embraced a more practical approach to beauty, focusing on simplicity:

  • Eyeshadow: Favored subtle shades like beige or light brown.
  • Eyebrows: Fuller, more defined looks were crafted with pencils.
  • Mascara: Applied sparingly to enhance the lashes naturally.
  • Lips: The bold red, particularly Victory Red lipstick, became emblematic of the era.
  • Complexion: Attained a matte finish through liberal face powder application.
  • Victory Rolls, the signature hairstyle, captured the decade’s vibrant spirit.

The 1950s: Glamour Takes Center Stage

The 1950s drew inspiration from Hollywood glamour:

  • The era was characterized by luminous lip shades and the debut of winged eyeliner, adding drama inspired by the film stars of the era.
  • Creamy foundations provided the base for these pronounced features, encapsulating the decade’s exuberant spirit.

The 1960s: The Spotlight on Eye Makeup

The 1960s placed a significant emphasis on eye features, introducing trends that included:

  • Upper and Lower Lashes: Enhanced with voluminous, faux lashes for a dramatic effect.
  • Mascara: Applied generously to underscore these enhancements.
  • Eyeshadow: Stark white was utilized to accentuate the eyelids.
  • Lip Colours: Maintained subtlety with shades of soft pink and peach.
  • Eyebrows: Sculpted with a refined arch and slender tail, embodying the era’s aesthetic.

The 1970s: The Rise of Natural Beauty

The 1970s contrasted the colorful fashion of the era with a more natural beauty approach:

  • Hair Trends: Long, afro, or gently waved styles were popular.
  • Makeup Choices: Employed soft, shimmery eyeshadows, minimal mascara, sheer lip gloss, and a hint of blush to highlight a radiant complexion and subtly styled eyebrows.

The 1980s: Bold Colors and Dramatic Styles

The 1980s are remembered for their bold use of color and dramatic beauty styles:

  • Eye Shadows: Employed vibrant, bold colors applied daringly to the brow bone.
  • Eyebrows: Kept in their natural, thick, and bushy form.
  • Blush: Applied in generous amounts to complement the eye makeup’s intensity.
  • Lip Gloss: Added for a glossy finish, enhancing the makeup ensemble’s overall impact.

The 1990s: Minimalism Makes a Comeback

The ’90s marked the return of minimalist beauty, focusing on elegance and subtlety:

  • Mascara: Used sparingly for a subtle enhancement of the lashes.
  • Eyeshadow: Favored soft, neutral tones.
  • Lips: Defined with liners in shades of brown or pink, spanning from soft nudes to deep burgundies.

The 2000s: The Era of Polished Brows

The early 2000s featured:

  • Thin, meticulously groomed eyebrows and a preference for cool-toned, shimmering eyeshadows and glossy lips, later evolving to include smoky eyeshadows and more defined brows.

The 2010s: Facial Definition Takes the Spotlight

The recent decade emphasized:

  • Facial definition through contouring and bold brows, with fuller lips emerging as a significant beauty trend.

The 2020s: Embracing Ethical Beauty and Minimalist Trends

This decade is characterized by:

  • A shift towards sustainable beauty products and a minimalist approach to makeup, influenced by a skincare-first philosophy and the new norms of face mask usage.

Anticipating Future Beauty Trends

Looking ahead, beauty trends are expected to oscillate between minimalism and bold expressions, serving as platforms for personal expression and exploration. The upcoming years may emphasize the importance of authenticity, celebrating individual beauty, and the development of transparent, innovative beauty solutions that prioritize individuality and environmental stewardship.


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