1960s makeup


The 1960s was an era of profound social and cultural transformation, leaving an indelible mark on history. This decade witnessed a multitude of significant events and movements that shaped the world we live in today. From civil rights activism to the sexual revolution, the 1960s was marked by a spirit of rebellion against established norms and a quest for individual freedoms.

Brief Overview of the 1960s as a Transformative Decade in History

The 1960s is widely regarded as one of the most pivotal decades in modern history. It was characterized by radical changes in various aspects of society, including politics, civil rights, fashion, music, and even makeup trends. The decade witnessed historical milestones such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War protests, and the first moon landing.

One of the defining features of this era was its countercultural movements that sought to challenge traditional values and institutions. The rise of feminism and women’s liberation movements fought for gender equality and reproductive rights.

Civil rights activists fought against racial discrimination and segregation. The anti-war movement opposed U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

All these transformative events created a climate ripe for expression through visual mediums like fashion and makeup. Society experienced a major shift in attitudes towards personal expression, challenging traditional beauty standards that were prevalent until then.

Importance of Makeup as a Reflection of Cultural and Societal Changes

Makeup became much more than just a means to enhance one’s appearance during this transformative decade; it became an emblematic reflection of cultural shifts taking place at the time. Women began using cosmetics not solely for conforming to societal expectations but rather as tools for self-expression and reclaiming their identity. The rise of the feminist movement allowed women to challenge conventional beauty standards and embrace makeup as a form of empowerment.

It provided an avenue for women to assert their individuality, express their creativity, and rebel against the limitations imposed on them by society. Furthermore, makeup during the 1960s played a significant role in breaking down racial barriers.

The Civil Rights Movement paved the way for greater inclusivity in fashion and beauty industries. African American women, who were previously marginalized in mainstream beauty trends, began asserting their unique style through colorful makeup choices and embracing their natural hair.

Overall, 1960s makeup became a symbol of resistance against societal constraints, an expression of individuality, and a reflection of the changing cultural landscape. It serves as a testament to the transformative power of personal style and its ability to challenge social norms throughout history.

The Iconic 1960s Look

Focus on the Eyes: Winged and Cat-Eye Styles

The 1960s makeup look was characterized by a strong emphasis on the eyes, with eyeliner becoming a defining feature of the era. Women embraced bold and dramatic styles, particularly the iconic winged and cat-eye looks.

To achieve these statement-making eye shapes, liquid or pencil eyeliners were skillfully applied along the upper lash line, extending outward to create a winged effect at the outer corners of the eyes. This technique elongated and lifted the eyes for a mesmerizing gaze that captured attention everywhere.

The use of eyeliner in this era was revolutionary. It defied traditional makeup norms and provided women with an avenue for self-expression.

It became synonymous with female empowerment during an era marked by societal changes. Inspired by fashion icons like Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn, women eagerly adopted these eye-catching styles as symbols of rebellion against conservative beauty ideals.

Emphasis on Long, Thick Lashes Achieved Through Mascara or False Eyelashes

Complementing the striking eyeliner looks were long, thick lashes that framed and intensified the eyes further. Women sought to achieve a wide-eyed appearance associated with innocence yet exuding confidence. Mascara soon became an essential tool in every makeup bag.

Mascara formulations advanced significantly during this period, offering enhanced volume, length, and definition to lashes. Coating both upper and lower lashes generously allowed for an instant transformation—the fluttering of lush lashes became a mesmerizing beauty statement.

To accentuate their natural lashes further or create more dramatic effects for special occasions, many women turned to false eyelashes as well. These faux lashes offered extraordinary fullness while minimizing clumping or smudging associated with mascara application.

Pale Complexion: Porcelain-Like Skin Achieved Through Foundation and Powder

In stark contrast to the sun-kissed tans of the 1950s, the 1960s embraced a preference for a pale, porcelain-like complexion. Achieving this coveted look involved meticulous foundation application. During this era, liquid foundations gained popularity for their ability to provide smooth coverage and create a flawless base.

Pale shades that matched the natural skin tone were favored, as they gave an ethereal quality to the face. Women aimed to achieve a matte finish by setting their foundation with powder, ensuring long-lasting wear throughout the day.

Moreover, the desire for a more natural appearance led to minimal use of blush. Instead of heavily accentuating cheekbones with rosy hues as seen in previous decades, women opted for subtle contouring using soft shades that enhanced their bone structure subtly.


The iconic 1960s makeup look captivated an entire generation with its focus on the eyes and pale complexion. The winged and cat-eye styles revolutionized traditional beauty standards by embracing boldness and individuality.

With heavy eyeliner defining eye shapes and long lashes fluttering dramatically, women made striking statements through their gaze. Simultaneously, women sought to achieve a flawless base with pale complexions reminiscent of porcelain dolls.

Skillful foundation application created an even skin tone while powder ensured a matte finish that lasted all day. Embracing natural beauty further led to minimal use of blushes, allowing facial contours to shine subtly.

The 1960s makeup trends not only reflected changing societal attitudes but also empowered women to express themselves confidently through artful self-presentation. Today, this iconic era continues to inspire modern makeup looks that celebrate individualism and creativity in new ways while paying homage to its timeless influence on beauty culture.

Foundation: Achieving a Flawless Canvas

The 1960s saw a significant shift in makeup application techniques, especially when it came to foundation. Gone were the heavy, mask-like foundations of the previous decades.

Instead, women embraced a more natural and dewy complexion that showcased their youthful glow. Liquid foundations gained immense popularity during this era for their lightweight and blendable formulas.

Women would carefully select shades that matched their skin tone, as achieving an even complexion was crucial. The liquid foundation was applied sparingly, focusing on areas that needed coverage while allowing the skin’s natural radiance to shine through.

To set the foundation and create a matte finish, powder was applied delicately using powder puffs or brushes. This technique not only ensured longevity but also helped absorb excess oil, leaving the skin looking fresh all day.

Eyeliner: The Bold Winged Look

When it comes to iconic 1960s makeup looks, one cannot ignore the captivating use of eyeliner. Women in this era embraced bold lines along their upper lash line, extending them into dramatic wing shapes that accentuated and elongated their eyes. Liquid eyeliners with fine brush tips or pencil eyeliners were used to achieve these striking lines.

The precision required for this technique demanded steady hands and practiced skill. Style icons such as Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn played instrumental roles in popularizing this trend with their enchanting cat-eye looks seen on-screen and in fashion magazines.

Mascara: Luscious Lashes Take Center Stage

In the 1960s, mascara became an essential tool for achieving long and voluminous lashes that framed the eyes beautifully. Women sought after thick lashes reminiscent of dolls or fluttering fans.

The mascara of choice during this time period was often Maybelline Great Lash, which quickly gained popularity for its ability to provide length, volume, and a rich black color. The wand’s bristles were designed to separate and coat each lash evenly, creating a striking gaze that enhanced the overall makeup look.

Lipstick: Vibrant Hues for a Bold Statement

The 1960s witnessed a departure from traditional red lipsticks as women embraced brighter, bolder colors like coral, pink, or orange. These vibrant hues became synonymous with the spirit of the era—youthful energy and an embrace of change. To achieve a polished look, lipstick application required precision.

Lip brushes were used to carefully fill in the lips with color and define the contours. This technique allowed for clean edges and ensured that the lipstick wouldn’t feather or bleed throughout the day.

The Rise of Iconic Brands

During the 1960s, several cosmetic brands gained immense popularity and became synonymous with the era’s makeup trends. One such brand was Max Factor, which had been a prominent player in Hollywood since the early 20th century. Max Factor’s Pan-Cake foundation was highly sought after for its ability to create a flawless complexion, and their range of vibrant lipsticks perfectly captured the spirit of the decade.

Another standout brand was Revlon, known for introducing exciting shades like “Cherries in Snow” and “Fire and Ice” that caught the attention of fashion-forward women everywhere. These brands not only catered to the changing demands of consumers but also contributed to shaping the image of 1960s beauty.

The Influence of Style Icons

Style icons like Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, and Jean Shrimpton played a significant role in popularizing specific makeup looks during this period. Audrey Hepburn’s signature doe-eyes inspired women around the world to embrace dramatic eyeliner styles with elongated wings.

Her minimalist approach to blush further highlighted her natural beauty. Meanwhile, Twiggy revolutionized the way mascara was used by emphasizing long lower lashes and creating an illusion of wide-eyed innocence.

Jean Shrimpton’s fresh-faced look emphasized dewy skin paired with soft pastel lip shades that conveyed effortless elegance. These style icons not only dictated trends but also empowered women to experiment with makeup as a form of self-expression.

Colorful Lips and Experimental Eyes

The 1960s witnessed a departure from traditional red lipstick towards more adventurous shades that matched the vibrancy of the decade itself. Coral, pink, orange, and even frosty hues were favored choices for lips. Bold lips were often complemented by minimal eye makeup using nude or soft beige eyeshadows.

Instead, the focus was on creating a defined crease and enhancing the shape of the eyes with carefully applied eyeliner and lashes. The experimentation extended to eyebrows as well, with women opting for a more natural, softer look by filling in sparse areas using eyebrow pencils or powders.

Glowing Skin and Youthful Radiance

The pursuit of a youthful appearance dominated 1960s beauty ideals. To achieve this, women relied on foundation and powder to create a pale, porcelain-like complexion that symbolized purity and innocence.

The use of highlighters was minimal, with emphasis placed on enhancing natural features rather than adding extra glow. Additionally, the desire for a healthy sun-kissed look gave rise to self-tanning products such as “tan lotions” that aimed to mimic a golden complexion without exposure to harmful rays.


The 1960s marked an extraordinary era of transformation in makeup trends. From bold eyeliner styles and voluminous lashes to vibrant lip shades and radiant skin, this decade empowered women to experiment with their looks like never before. The iconic brands that emerged during this time provided tools for self-expression while style icons inspired women around the world to embrace their individuality.

More than just cosmetics, makeup became an avenue through which women could express their newfound freedom and challenge societal norms. Today, we continue to draw inspiration from this era’s boldness and creativity, reminding us that beauty is not simply about adhering to trends but about embracing our unique selves with confidence.


What were the popular makeup trends in the 1960s?

Popular makeup trends in the 1960s included bold eyeliner, pale lips, false eyelashes, and vibrant eyeshadows.

How did women achieve the iconic “Twiggy” look in the 1960s?

Women achieved the “Twiggy” look by using heavy mascara on both upper and lower lashes, creating a wide-eyed appearance.

Were there any specific makeup products that were widely used in the 1960s?

Yes, some widely used makeup products in the 1960s included Yardley’s Pot O’ Gloss, pale pink lipsticks, and blue eyeshadows.

What influenced the makeup trends of the 1960s?

The makeup trends of the 1960s were influenced by fashion icons like Twiggy and Brigitte Bardot, as well as the mod and hippie movements.

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