Beauty Trends by Decade: A Journey Through the Last 50 Years
At Beauty Base, it’s almost our 50th anniversary; throughout that time, we have seen beauty trends evolve and change. We have seen the rise and fall of everything from skinny eyebrows to contouring. Within this post, we will explore many of the heritage of beauty trends of the past 50 years (some of them you should emulate, whereas others you should definitely stay away from!) And we’ll also walk through some of the most popular brands we offer and explore their impact on the beauty industry over the last 50 years.
- 1970s: The Age of Bohemian Chic
- 1980s: Glamour and Excess
- 1990s: The Minimalist Grunge
- 2000s: Pop Princess Influence
- 2010s: The Rise of Social Media Beauty
- 2020s: A Playground of Diversity
- Top brands of the last 50 years
Beauty trends haven’t always reflected societal values, cultural shifts, and technological advancements. They have also been a reaction against those values, whereby the notion of the individual has fought to the foreground and then been adopted; Josephine Baker and her full lips and thin eyebrows that were the essence of her look in the 1920s & ‘30s to Lauren Hutton in the 1970s with her wavy blonde hair, minimal makeup & gap tooth smile or girl next door look.
Over the last 50 years, we’ve witnessed a fascinating evolution of beauty standards, from the natural and minimalistic looks of the ‘70s to the bold and experimental styles of the 2020s. Let’s journey through each decade and explore the iconic beauty trends that define them.
1970s: The Age of Bohemian Chic
The 1970s marked a transition from the polished looks of the 1960s to a more relaxed and natural aesthetic. Women embraced the “hippie” vibe, favouring long, flowing hair, sun-kissed skin, and minimal makeup. Bell-bottom jeans, floral headbands, and au naturel beauty were the defining elements of the era.
With the rise of Disco, we saw a duality emerge in the 1970s, with hyper-glossy stripped looks dominating daytime looks and glitzy, red-lipped looks for evening attire.
How to achieve the ‘70s makeup look
Make sure to use the following products to achieve a glamorous 70s look:
Face: Apply liquid formulas to your face to achieve that healthy radiant glow, or apply a pearl powder for added shine. To ensure you get full coverage and a fresh base, be liberal with your bronzer, as this will give the appearance of a tanned, sun-kissed face. To tap into the 70s look when using blush, apply it to your cheekbones in a defined stripe motion rather than blending it into the base.
What was the eye makeup trend of the ‘70s?
Eyes: For a dramatic evening look that the cast of Saturday Night Fever would envy, opt for any product with excessive shimmer. During the ‘70s, pops of green, blue and purple were dominant on the eyelids of ladies on the dance floor. To make these hues pop even further, silver or white tones were added under the eyebrow for added highlight.
Lips: The ‘70s were all about the gloss. Making sure that the lips looked shiny would be the finishing touch to the ‘70s makeup look. Opt for a clear gloss, a red or pink lipstick to give the lips a refreshing and bold coat.
1980s: Glamour and Excess
The 1980s were all about bold statements and excess. Makeup took a dramatic turn with vibrant eyeshadows, heavy blush, and bold lipstick shades. The iconic blue eyeshadow trend and voluminous hairstyles exemplified the era’s emphasis on glamour and self-expression.
What was beauty in the 1980s?
Known as a decade obsessed with health and fitness, an influx of supermodels, such as Elle Macpherson and Cindy Crawford, intensified the beauty standards of the 1980s. Their presence undoubtedly influenced beauty standards during this era, and glamour filtered into the makeup looks of the decade.
How to achieve an ‘80s makeup look
Looking to achieve a glamorous ‘80s makeup look? Follow these steps:
Face: The 1980s makeup look consisted primarily of a blank canvas of light tones on the face, allowing other areas to be bold. Foundation during this period was often light and airy, with many women opting for shades one or two lighter than their natural skin tone. To build on this canvas, the first step would be to emphasise the cheekbones with bright pink and deep plum blusher.
Eyes: Bold, bushy eyebrows were all the rage in the ‘80s and a common staple of most styles. Key eyeshadow hues included vibrant tones such as blue, purple or pink and many women would blend the colours or opt for a statement single colour.
Lips: The rules of lip looks in the ‘80s were liberal and many women opted for bold red or metallic mauve styles. Lip liner was also popular, and used to create a solid outline to the lip to make it pop. The liner would typically be a shade or two darker than the lip colour.
1990s: The Minimalistic Grunge
What were the beauty trends in the ‘90s?
In stark contrast to the flamboyance of the ‘80s, the ‘90s introduced a grunge-inspired aesthetic characterised by minimalism. Dark, matte lips, “undone” hair, and a focus on natural beauty reigned supreme. This decade also witnessed the rise of supermodels like Naomi Campbell, who epitomised the era’s attitude. On the flip side of this aesthetic, some women would opt for the glitter effect, adorning hair, eyes and lips with sprinklings of gold or silver shine.
How to do a ‘90s makeup look
Face: Many fashion designers sent models down the catwalk with clean, slightly dewy complexions during this period. It was reported during the ‘90s that Calvin Klein would send models, such as Kate Moss, down the catwalk wearing only Vaseline on her eyelids, noses and cheeks.
Eyes: In contrast to the dewy-faced look, came the dramatic eye look of the ‘90s. With heavy eyeliner in full swing, smudged eye makeup and purple, grey or brown hues around the eyes emerged into the mainstream.
Lips: Brown, beige and rusty lips were a brilliant contrast to the bare faces of the ‘90s, and women often used matte lipstick to achieve this striking look.
2000s: Pop Princess Influence
The turn of the millennium brought a blend of pop culture and technology to beauty trends. Frosted eyeshadows, glossy lips, and bronzed skin were the trademarks of this era, influenced by the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Hair straighteners and crimpers were essential tools for achieving the desired looks.
How to do a 2000s makeup look
Face: The era of fake tan, bronzer and heavy blusher. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton and JLo stepped into the new millennium with a foundation that was a shade or two darker than it needed to be. The noughties also saw women applying blusher liberally to the apple of the cheek to create a flushed appearance using coral and red tones.
Eyes: Skinny eyebrows were a huge trend in the 2000s, with women plucking their brows to perfection for a slender, high-rise, angular shape. In the latter part of the decade, the warmer-hued eyeshadows rose to fame with women applying oranges, yellow and bright reds blended.
Lips: Shiny lips using lipsticks and liners were your best friend in the noughties. Many makeup bags were filled with bright red and frosted pink hues; later in the decade, lip gloss would see a huge boom, with bubblegum pink and glittery shades dominating.
2010s: The Rise of Social Media Beauty
With the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, the 2010s witnessed an explosion of makeup tutorials and beauty influencers. Contouring, highlighting, and bold eyebrows became mainstream trends, while Kylie Jenner’s lip kits set off a global fascination with lip enhancement. Dip-dyed hair, the Kardashians and full eyebrows all dominated the era. A push for inclusivity and body positivity also marked the decade.
How to achieve a 2010 makeup look
Face: The Kardashians started a contouring revolution in the 2010s, with extreme highlighting, face baking and full face contouring for everyday wear becoming the norm. By the end of the decade, this switched to women opting for the “no makeup” makeup look, which saw them create fresh-faced looks. Towards the end of the 2010s, there was a focus on skincare and natural glamour.
Eyes: You only need a smokey eye to achieve the 2010s eye look. The over-the-top variation of the smokey eye was popular during this era, and high fashion lines incorporated looks into their publications that were super smokey.
Lips: We all have Kylie Jenner and her famous “Lipkit” to thank for the 2000s lip trend. Overlined and matte lips in neutral and brown tones were all the rage, as well as dark lipsticks for a dramatic, glamorous look.
2020s: A Playground of Diversity
The current decade is a melting pot of diverse beauty trends. The “no-makeup” makeup look coexists with avant-garde experiments like neon eyeshadows and graphic liners. Skin positivity and sustainability are gaining traction, with an emphasis on skincare and natural ingredients. Additionally, fashion and beauty industries are acknowledging the importance of representation, leading to a more inclusive approach to beauty.
How to do your makeup in the 2020s?
If you are looking for contemporary ways to do your makeup, we have lots of resources for you to keep up to date with the latest trends and how-to guides of the makeup world. Make sure to check out our blog for a range of guides, including:
The evolution of beauty trends over the last 50 years reflects the ever-changing landscape of culture, technology, and individual expression. From the bohemian vibes of the ‘70s to the diversity of the 2020s, each decade has left its mark on the beauty world. As we move forward, it’s clear that beauty standards will continue to evolve, adapt, and surprise us, driven by the spirit of innovation and the celebration of individuality.
Top brands of the last 50 years
At Beauty Base, we have a diverse range of industry-leading brands and some niche designers that are carving out their reputation within the beauty and fragrance industry.
Here are some leading brands we love that have defined a legacy over the years, including fun facts about each industry leader.
1. Paco Rabanne
The Spanish brand everyone has in their fragrance collection presented their first range in 1966. Starting in the jewellery business, Paco Rabanne teamed up with Puig to create some of the most recognisable fragrances, including 1 Million and Paco Rabanne XS.
FUN FACT: It was estimated that around 1.3 million men used Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million in 2020! That is around 4.5% of the male population of the UK who use the fragrance.
Italian, luxurious and known for being bold – Versace opened its first boutique in 1978 and quickly dominated the fashion world. Once the Versace family dominated the catwalks and shopping rails, they moved on to homeware and eventually fragrances. The first ever Versace fragrance was launched in 1981 and was simply called: Gianni Versace for Women. It was designed to complement the fashion line and draw attention to the wearer.
FUN FACT: Donatella Versace dyed her hair blonde when she was 11 years old because her brother told her she would suit it. This childhood memory inspired the creation of the Versace fragrance, Blonde years later.
3. Jimmy Choo
Jimmy Choo started their journey crafting high-quality footwear in the East End of London. As the brand’s success grew, Jimmy Choo started creating, clothing and eventually fragrances for some of the most stylish celebrities, such as Princess Diana.
Despite having almost three decades of rich heritage, Jimmy Choo didn’t release their first fragrance until 2011. This first fragrance was eponymous to the brand, titled simply Jimmy Choo and is still in production today and is one of the most popular releases. Other notable fragrances include I Want Choo and Jimmy Choo L’Eau Eau De Toilette.
FUN FACT: All Jimmy Choo fragrances are grouped into five categories: floral, fruity, fresh, woodsy and oriental.
4. HUGO BOSS
The HUGO BOSS brand saw wild growth from its beginnings in 1924, and once the German designer had dominated the fashion world, they branched out into fragrances in 1985.
The first HUGO BOSS fragrance was designed for men and simply called Boss No.1. This fragrance was relaunched in the early 2000s and has similar notes to the original fragrance.
FUN FACT: Since 1985, HUGO BOSS has launched 130 perfumes or aftershaves.
Giorgio Armani has some of the biggest names in pop culture representing their brand, including Cate Blanchett, Sydney Sweeney, Regé-Jean Page and Chris Pine.
The Italian brand was founded in 1975 but started to create fragrances in 1981 with the launch of Armani by Giorgio Armani. Some of the brand’s most notable fragrances today include My Way and Armani Code.
FUN FACT: The Nose, Ron Winnegrad launched Armani by Giorgio Armani and has been a perfumer and teacher for almost 50 years.
Yves Saint Laurent has created iconic fragrances, including household names such as YSL Black Opium. The designer shocked the world in 1971 when he launched the first YSL fragrance for men by posing nude for the campaign to represent the brand’s modernity, comfort and sophisticated values.
YSL were subject to even more scrutiny and controversy with the launch of Opium. The global attention of news outlets on the Opium launch only intensified the desire for the fragrance from the public. Testers were stolen, posters were ripped off walls, and stores sold out of the perfume within hours of release.
FUN FACT: In 1971, YSL launched their fragrance for men, Pour Homme, the first fragrance to be packaged in a tin can.
Miuccia Prada took over the Prada family business in 1977 despite only being 28. She had a doctorate in political science and wanted to take the business to new heights when she took control. Prada, similar to Paco Rabanne, teamed up with Puig and has created 93 perfumes launching their first fragrance in 1990.
One of the most popular Prada fragrances is the Luna Rossa which features bitter orange essence and lavender notes.
FUN FACT: The most commonly used fragrance note used in all Prada fragrances is vanilla, included in 26 scents, whereas Amber is the least used, featuring in only 13.
Founded over 100 years ago, Gucci opened for business in Florence in 1921 and has a rich history, including highs and lows. The Italian brand waited over half a century before introducing its first fragrance with Gucci No. 1 in 1974.
Since then, the Gucci brand has created 115 perfumes, including the iconic Gucci Flora, which includes a blend of Jasmine, Pear Blossom and a smidge of Brown Sugar.
FUN FACT: Gucci’s latest scent, Where My Heart Beats, is innovative in its formula. The perfume has been crafted with alcohol from 100% recycled carbon emissions.
GIVENCHY was founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy, and only five years later, the brand Les Parfums Givenchy was launched in 1957. The GIVENCHY brand has been synonymous with huge names in the acting world, including legends such as Audrey Hepburn, Nicole Kidman and Carey Mulligan.
Some notable GIVENCHY perfumes include Amarige, which includes fruity notes of citrus, melons, plums and peaches, as well as violet, orange flowers, mimosa and soft, sweet spices.
FUN FACT: GIVENCHY was one of the first brands to attach a face to a scent, with Audrey Hepburn becoming the face of the advertising campaign of L’Interdit in 1958.
Charles and Joseph Revlon teamed up with Charles Lachman, a chemist, to create the Revlon brand that initially sold nail enamel in 1932. As the business grew, the brand branched into fragrances and cosmetics and created the “Charlie” perfume in 1973.
The “Charlie” campaign was targeted towards liberated and independent women. It showed model Shelley Hack wearing a pantsuit in the advertisements, which was revolutionary compared to the market featuring models in dresses. Half a century later, the Charlie fragrance from Revlon is still prominently displayed on the dressing tables of women worldwide.
FUN FACT: The Revlon perfume house is esteemed in history, and one of the earliest fragrances from the brand was created in 1935.
Iconic fragrances from Beauty Base
Are you searching for a new signature scent? Look no further than our varied selection of designer fragrances at Beauty Base. All of the fragrances within our collection have been carefully selected by our team of buyers who have their fingers on the scented pulse of new and staple fragrances. You will find women’s fragrances to suit any occasion and men’s fragrances that will turn heads within our vast selection of fragrances from premium brands at Beauty Base.