makeup 1960s

makeup 1960s


The 1960s will forever be remembered as a transformative decade in history, characterized by influential counterculture movements, significant social changes, and groundbreaking fashion trends. It was a time of revolution and rebellion, where traditional norms were challenged, and new ideas emerged. Amidst this cultural shift, makeup played a crucial role in redefining beauty standards and became an avenue for self-expression like never before.

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

The 1960s witnessed an unparalleled wave of change that rippled across various aspects of society. From civil rights movements to anti-war protests, the world was ablaze with activism and demands for equality. This period saw the rise of the hippie movement with its emphasis on peace, love, and freedom.

At the same time, women’s liberation movements gained momentum as women fought for their rights and challenged societal expectations. Technological advancements also played a significant role during this era.

The advent of television brought global events directly into people’s homes, shaping public opinion like never before. The space race between the United States and Soviet Union captured imaginations worldwide, symbolizing human progress and discovery.

In this environment of transformation and upheaval, makeup became more than just a way to enhance one’s appearance; it became a powerful tool for self-expression and pushing boundaries. The makeup trends of the 1960s mirrored society’s desire for change by breaking away from conservative ideals prevalent in previous decades.

Makeup allowed individuals to experiment with their identities freely. It provided a platform for individuals to challenge gender norms through bold color choices or innovative techniques that defied traditional expectations of femininity or masculinity.

Through makeup trends in the 1960s, people rebelled against conformity imposed by societal norms and found new ways to express their individuality. Furthermore, makeup brands began to cater to the changing demands of consumers.

The cosmetic industry flourished with the introduction of new products and techniques that allowed individuals to achieve avant-garde looks. Makeup became accessible to a larger demographic, empowering people from all walks of life to participate in this artistic revolution.

In the following sections, we will delve into the specific makeup trends that defined the 1960s. From complexion perfection to dramatic eye looks, we will explore how these trends were influenced by the cultural shifts of the time and left an indelible mark on beauty standards that resonate even today.

Cultural Influences on 1960s Makeup

The 1960s was a transformative decade in history, marked by significant cultural shifts that had a profound impact on beauty standards and makeup trends. Two major counterculture movements, namely the hippie movement and women’s liberation, played a crucial role in challenging traditional beauty norms and paving the way for more experimental and expressive makeup styles.

The Rise of Counterculture Movements: The Hippie Movement

The hippie movement of the 1960s rejected mainstream values and emphasized peace, love, and individual freedom. This shift in mindset extended to beauty ideals as well. Hippies embraced natural aesthetics and sought to break free from societal norms imposed by previous generations.

As a result, their influence on makeup was revolutionary. Hippies favored a minimalistic approach to makeup, often opting for a “no-makeup” look that celebrated natural beauty.

They embraced their flaws, eschewing heavy foundation in favor of light coverage or even going bare-faced altogether. This rebellion against conventional beauty standards challenged the popular notion that women needed layers of makeup to be considered attractive.

The Rise of Counterculture Movements: Women’s Liberation

Simultaneously, the women’s liberation movement gained momentum during the 1960s, championing gender equality and challenging traditional gender roles. With this social revolution came an exploration of femininity through newfound empowerment. Women’s liberation encouraged self-expression through bold fashion choices and innovative makeup looks.

Women began experimenting with vibrant colors such as electric blues, purples, and pinks for eyeshadow—symbolizing their desire to break free from archaic expectations regarding femininity. This shift reflected their determination to reclaim their bodies while rejecting restrictive societal norms.

Alongside the counterculture movements, several iconic figures emerged during the 1960s whose distinctive makeup styles shaped the era’s beauty trends. Twiggy, known for her doll-like appearance and androgynous fashion sense, became a symbol of mod culture.

Twiggy’s trademark look involved dramatic eyelashes applied on both upper and lower lids to create a wide-eyed effect. Her minimalist approach to the rest of her face, with light coverage foundation and understated lips, allowed her striking eyes to take center stage.

Her influence popularized the trend of emphasizing the eyes as a focal point in makeup application during this period. Brigitte Bardot epitomized a more sensual and glamorous style during the 1960s.

With her sultry cat-eye eyeliner, voluminous hair, and soft nude lips, she exuded feminine allure. Bardot’s impact on makeup trends reinforced the importance of accentuating one’s natural features while maintaining an air of elegance.

Audrey Hepburn, though known for her timeless elegance that transcended eras, had a lasting influence on 1960s makeup trends as well. Her iconic “little black dress” look in Breakfast at Tiffany’s showcased perfectly defined eyebrows combined with understated eye makeup—emphasizing simplicity and sophistication above all else.

Complexion: The Quest for a Flawless, Porcelain-Like Complexion

The 1960s marked a shift in beauty ideals, with women striving for a flawless and porcelain-like complexion. This was achieved through the use of foundation and powder.

One popular foundation during this era was Max Factor’s Pan-Cake makeup. Known for its smooth texture and excellent coverage, Pan-Cake makeup provided women with an even skin tone, hiding imperfections and creating a blank canvas for the rest of their makeup.

Another notable foundation product that gained popularity in the 1960s was Revlon’s ColorStay foundation. Offering long-lasting coverage, ColorStay became a go-to choice for many women seeking durability throughout their busy days.

Its ability to withstand heat and humidity made it perfect for those who desired their makeup to remain intact no matter the circumstances. Furthermore, powder compacts became essential items in every woman’s handbag during this decade.

These compacts not only provided touch-ups throughout the day but also contributed to maintaining that coveted flawless complexion. With various shades available to match different skin tones, these powders helped reduce shine and set the foundation in place.

Cheeks: Rosy Flushes and Contouring Techniques

The 1960s saw a resurgence of interest in enhancing facial features through rosy flushes on the cheeks. Soft pinks, peaches, and corals were particularly popular blush shades during this era.

These hues added a youthful glow to the face while complementing various skin tones. Contouring techniques also started gaining traction during this time period as women looked to achieve more defined facial structures.

Bronzer or darker shades were used strategically beneath cheekbones, along jawlines, and on temples to create shadows that accentuated bone structure. This technique allowed for a more sculpted appearance and added depth to the face, further enhancing the overall makeup look.

Contouring in the 1960s was not as elaborate as it is today, but it laid the foundation for the contouring trends that would emerge in later decades. The focus during this time was on subtle definition and creating a natural-looking enhancement of facial features, rather than dramatic transformations.

The 1960s witnessed a significant emphasis on achieving flawless complexions through foundation and powder. Products like Max Factor’s Pan-Cake makeup and Revlon’s ColorStay foundation provided women with options that helped them attain a smooth and even skin tone.

Additionally, powder compacts became essential for touch-ups and maintaining a matte finish. The focus on achieving rosy flushes of color on the cheeks and utilizing contouring techniques to enhance facial features further contributed to the beauty trends of this era.

Soft blush shades were preferred to add youthful radiance, while contouring with bronzer or darker shades allowed for subtle definition. These makeup trends from the 1960s continue to influence beauty practices today as they celebrate natural enhancements and flawless complexions.

Eyebrows: Thin, Arched Brows that Framed the Eyes Dramatically

The Art of Brow Transformation in the 1960s

In the swinging sixties, eyebrows underwent a significant transformation. The prevailing trend was thin, arched brows that framed the eyes dramatically, creating a captivating and sultry look. Women strived to achieve these sleek arches through various techniques like shaving or plucking.

Thin brows were viewed as modern and fashionable, accentuating the eyes while perfectly complementing the other makeup trends of the era. To achieve those coveted thin brows, women turned to precise grooming methods such as shaving or plucking.

Shaving involved removing stray hairs with a razor blade, ensuring clean lines and defined arches. Plucking, on the other hand, entailed meticulously tweezing individual hairs to create a well-shaped brow contour.

This technique required patience and skill but resulted in beautifully sculpted eyebrows that enhanced facial features. To fill in sparse areas or enhance naturally thin brows further, eyebrow pencils or powders became essential tools for women in the 1960s.

These products were specifically designed to add definition and depth to eyebrows while maintaining their slim appearance. Pencils offered precision by allowing for hair-like strokes that simulated a natural look while powders provided softer shading for seamless blending.

Eyeshadow: Bold and Vibrant Colors that Embraced Experimentation

The Dazzling Palette of Eye Expression

When it came to eyeshadow in the 1960s, boldness and experimentation took center stage. The era ushered in an exciting departure from traditional neutral tones towards an explosion of vibrant colors.

Eyeshadow became an artistic medium where women could express their individuality and embrace their sense of adventure. Iconic eyeshadow palettes from esteemed brands like Yardley and Mary Quant became the go-to choices for those seeking to make a statement with their eye makeup.

These palettes featured an array of bright blues, greens, purples, and metallic shades that allowed for endless possibilities. Electric blues could be used to create a dramatic smoky eye, while vibrant greens and purples added a touch of enchantment to any look.

The use of metallic shades brought an added dimension of glamour and sparkle. The experimentation with eyeshadow colors extended beyond traditional application techniques.

The era witnessed the rise of bold cut creases, graphic eyeliner designs, and even the iconic Twiggy-inspired doll-like lower lash line adorned with faux lower lashes. Women were encouraged to push boundaries and embrace their creativity when it came to enhancing their eyes.


In the 1960s, makeup trends exploded with innovation and liberation, paving the way for self-expression like never before. From thin, arched eyebrows that framed captivating eyes to the advent of bold and vibrant eyeshadow palettes that encouraged experimentation, this era revolutionized beauty standards. The 1960s empowered women worldwide to break free from traditional norms by embracing their individuality through makeup choices.

It was an era that celebrated artistic expression while challenging societal expectations. Today, we can look back at this transformative decade with admiration for the fearless women who paved the way for personal style diversity.

As we reflect on these remarkable beauty trends from the past, let us celebrate how they continue to inspire modern-day makeup enthusiasts who strive to forge their own path in self-expression. Just as women embraced change in the 1960s and broke free from conventional boundaries, so too can we draw inspiration from this era to explore new horizons in our own lives – both within and beyond makeup.


What were the popular makeup trends in the 1960s?

Popular makeup trends in the 1960s included bold, dramatic eye makeup with heavy eyeliner, false eyelashes, and vibrant eyeshadows in shades like blue and green. Lips were often pale, and the Twiggy-style cut crease was a notable trend.

Who were some iconic makeup influencers in the 1960s?

Iconic makeup influencers of the 1960s include Twiggy, Edie Sedgwick, and Brigitte Bardot. They played a significant role in shaping the makeup aesthetics of the era.

What products were commonly used for 1960s makeup?

Common makeup products in the 1960s included black liquid eyeliner, white eyeshadow, false eyelashes, pale pink or nude lipstick, and heavy pancake makeup for a porcelain look.

How did the makeup trends of the 1960s differ from previous decades?

The 1960s makeup trends differed from previous decades by embracing a more youthful and rebellious look. It featured bold eye makeup and pale lips, in contrast to the more subdued and polished looks of the 1950s and earlier eras.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *