Ah, beauty trends. Some of them are super flattering and timeless, like a bang or a shag, while others are best left in the past where they came from. Like, is anyone still sporting the Rachel? (Love you, Jen!) While we're not wearing blue eyeshadow up to our brow bone anymore—that's a good thing!—we've gone through a makeup evolution that's worthy of reflection. Here's every beauty trend from 1955–1999.
We'll get things started with heavy fringe, the kind that went across the forehead from both sides. Popularized by Bettie Page when she appeared in Playboy in 1955, this cut was a huge change from the styles of the 1940s, which were mostly neat and kept off of the face. This short, rounded fringe even differed from the "baby fringe" worn by Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.
Seen here on Grace Kelly, the red lipstick of the 1950s is not the same as the political red lips of the 1940s, when "Victory Red" lipstick was used to encourage women that it was their civic duty to maintain their beauty routines during time of war. Now, women were embracing red lipstick as a way to stand out and be bold.
A cat eye will never not be in fashion, but in the 1950s, it was the chicest move in both eyewear (cat-eye glasses were all the rage) and cosmetics. It's still popular to this day—celebrities like Taylor Swift and Dita Von Teese regularly rock the wings. (If you need help perfecting your own, try this stamp.)
This hairstyle, as sported by Elizabeth Taylor, was a grown-out version of the sleek pixie worn by Audrey Hepburn at the time, but just as chic.
The arch was almost nonexistent, but the brows were thick and bushy for days. The look was typically offset with a nice smokey eye or a matte eyeshadow. By the end of the decade, the rounded, curved eyebrow of the 1950s was long gone, leaving a much more angular brow in its place—a trend that would last for a while.
The 1960s were known for their dramatic lash and eyeliner looks, and the simple fact is this: false eyelashes came into fashion in abundance during this time. Twiggy's iconic eyelashes in the photoshoot that catapulted her to stardom were just one of the dynamic eye looks of the era.
Jackie Onassis was a style icon in every right, and while she's most known for her sartorial choices, she was no slouch in the beauty department either. Her makeup was kept clean and minimal while she was First Lady, and her flipped-under short bob haircut with the side-swept bang was a popular look for that era. Even Diana Ross and Elizabeth Montgomery were seen sporting the style.
Known as the "bombshell look," this hairdo was popularized by sex symbols like Brigitte Bardot (as seen here), but not reserved for them. It was a look that screamed "sex," but was still wearable.
The winged eyeliner of the 1950s was taken to new heights—pun intended—after Elizabeth Taylor wore this OTT look in Cleopatra. What was before a "cat eye," now was the canary: The wing extended nearly to the temple, typically combined with a bright eyeshadow color—blue was favored, or a gentle lilac all the way up to the brow bone. Paired with lightly done makeup on the rest of the face, it was a look for the ages.
The smokey eye of 1964 wasn't like the smokey eye of the modern era. This swinging style included a combination of grey and black shadows, with the grey going to the browbone and white in the inner corner of the eye—quite unlike the smudged brown and gold hues used today.
This sky-scraping hairstyle involves piling one's hair on top of the head and setting it in place with copious amounts of hairspray. Originated by Margaret Vinci Heldt in 1960, it peaked in popularity with the emergence of Motown, sported by singers like the Ronettes and Aretha Franklin.
While 1960 was all about the upper lashes, 1966 brought Twiggy, and with her, an exaggerated lower lashline. Mascara on the lower lashes was a no-no until Twiggy and her makeup artist made it look oh-so-chic.
Legend has it that when Mia Farrow originally cut her hair into this style for the filming of Rosemary's Baby, Frank Sinatra left her. Whether or not that story's true, the pixie cut that Farrow got for the film is legendary, even sparking a Tyra Banks tantrum on America's Next Top Model when one contestant refused the cut.
A cut-crease is one of the more difficult looks to achieve in beauty, but it was at its most popular during the 1960s, especially when worn by superstars like Diahann Carroll and Pat Cleveland. A cut crease is a makeup technique to make the eye look brighter by applying a lighter shade of shadow all over the lid and then adding a darker shade on top of the eyelid crease in a v-shape. The light-to-dark contrast was dynamic both in-person and on-screen.
The Afro is often synonymous with the hippies of the 1960s and 1970s, but it was about much more than just "free love." It was a representation of the "black is beautiful" movement, and a way of showing black pride to the world.
The Bettie Page bangs of 1955 were left in the past in favor of new, straight bangs, like the ones seen here on Cher. She paired her eyelash-skimming bangs with a long, straight now-iconic mane.
Ali McGraw was a fashion icon of her era, and her legendary middle-parted long hair was a part of that iconic look. Before then, hair was either not parted at all (brushed straight back and held with A LOT of spray), or parted on the right or left side. The middle-part was so impressive and impactful it's still being rocked to this day, including by the Kardashians.
Liza Minnelli was known for her daring haircuts, like this shag—not quite a pixie, but not quite a bob. It falls somewhere in the in-between, and was completely different than the more traditionally feminine looks of the time. The look was made famous by Jane Fonda's infamous
Hair accessories, like scarves and flowers, were the look of disco, along with the Afros that started in the late 1960s. Stars like Donna Summer and Diana Ross perfected the accessories, which made for a night-on-the-town-worthy beauty look when paired with a dramatic eyelash and a bright lip color.
Side ponytails dominated the scene in 1974, as seen here on Charo. They were usually clasped low at the nape of the neck and typically un-curled. A sporty, chic look.
Light on the mascara, heavy on the pastel eyeliner and eyeshadow. By 1975, the rise of disco and folk led to a ton of soft eye looks like this.
The "Farrah" is one of the first named haircuts, a trend we'll see recur in "The Rachel" and "The Meg"—keep clicking! "People [were] lining up [and] down the street" for this star's feathered after Charlie's Angels premiered.
Made popular by Carly Simon and Bianca Jagger, this shaggy look was all the rage in 1977. It was made to look chic and defined by the glossy sheen on their manes.
As seen here on Marilu Henner from Taxi, the 70s brought innocent, feminine loose curls to the forefront. They were very popular with tv stars and models; Cheryl Tiegs' loose spiral curls dominated magazine covers in the late 1970s.
Siouxsie Sioux from Siouxsie and the Banshees caused quite a stir with her dramatic eye makeup looks at the end of the 1970s. Her graphic eyeliner perhaps contributed to women of the 1980s embracing eyeliner full-force.
The 1980s were a time to make strong beauty moves and to start daring beauty trends, and bold-hued eyeshadow was just one of them. Debbie Harry never shied away from a bright look, wearing pink eyeshadow and blue eyeliner for almost the entire early 1980s.
When Brooke Shields emerged with her thick eyebrows, she was deemed by Time Magazine to have "The 80s look." Hers were in sharp contrast to the thin eyebrows of the 1960s and 70s, and thick, well-groomed eyebrows became aspirational in the 1980s.
The mullet has a bad rap as an unfashionable hairstyle, but when celebrities like Olivia Newton-John and John Stamos can pull it off, you know it's more than a fashion faux pas. This feathered version definitely helped keep it chic, and the lack of a trucker hat elevates the look.
Along with the bright eyeshadows of the 80s, bright blush was a definite look, and matching your bright blush to your bright outfit was immensely common, as seen on Janet Jackson here. In the 80s, bigger and brighter was better.
Why wear one crazy eyeshadow color when you can wear multiple crazy eyeshadow colors? Cyndi Lauper made marrying unconventional shades—red with blue, green with orange–into a massive trend in 1984.