A look at how we’ve been celebrating and calling attention to our eyes during the Golden Age
As we all know, fashion and beauty trends come and go, but is each new trend really new, or simply a reimaging of earlier styles? Let’s take a closer look at eye makeup trends during the Golden Age to see where the truth lies.
The Golden Age is estimated to have started in the early 1910s and lasted through the 1960s. In 1910, makeup was worn primarily by actresses or ladies of pleasure. While actresses’ external appearance inspired women to enhance their own looks, it would still be another decade before it became common for women to wear makeup. The accepted image for women in this decade was completely bare skin or a very sheer wash of color. Additionally, makeup was not yet readily available to women and certainly not as we know it today. The first mascara available in the U.S. was invented in 1915 as a dry cake, set in a tin that required water to convert it to a consistency that could be applied to the lashes - a far cry from our Your Way Mascara!
During the 1920s, women wanted to establish a more visible and audible presence, and wearing makeup symbolized their fight for equality. This decade was dubbed the Roaring Twenties when “flappers,” young women who wore short dresses, sported bob haircuts, and wore bold makeup, certainly made their presence known, gaining the right to vote and increasing the number of women entering the workforce. The makeup trend during this period included intensely colored lips, smokey, dark-lined eyes, and a flush of color on the cheeks.
The 1930s saw an economy reeling from the 1929 stock market crash and people escaping their stark reality by going to the movies. The stars of the day, Greta Garbo, Mae West, and Carole Lombard, inspired women to duplicate their pencil-thin eyebrows, certainly not the trend today! For those who could afford to buy makeup, pale pastel or neutral shadows, black eyeliner, mascara, blush, and raspberry or maroon lipstick provided the ticket to emulating their idols.
The 1940s saw a return to bare eyes and lighter makeup application due to war rationing, which included cosmetics. Additionally, women had less free time since they were now filling positions previously held by currently soldiering men. Eye makeup became more understated and practical, with only mascara and neutral shadows being applied. The exception to this was the famed “pinup girls”, whose images were used to lift soldiers’ spirits during the war and remind them of what they were fighting for…the beautiful girl waiting back home. These women were very glamorous, wearing bold red lipstick, arched dark brows, and winged eyeliner.
In the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe popularized the cat eye through her role in the movie “The Asphalt Jungle.” Other actresses and fashionable women copied the style by pairing winged black liner with neutral shadow and pink or reddish-pink lips.
The 1960s saw a significant focus on lashes. Due in part to the baby boom at the end of WWII, young people dominated the fashion and beauty landscape, profoundly affecting both and creating the mod look. The mod eye was characterized by a wide-eyed appearance, achieved by applying extra-long false eyelashes to the upper and lower lids coupled with voluminous amounts of black mascara, white or colored shadow, and thick black eyeliner. Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot, and Jean Shrimpton were the IT models of this decade, with all three being featured on the cover of virtually every prominent fashion magazine.
Here ends the Golden Age, an examination of which has cemented that whatever the current trend may be, at least some component has been seen before, reconfigured with more advanced product formulations and color, but still familiar, nonetheless.
Try out these looks from days past or create a new eye trend by mixing and matching our liners, brow gel, and mascaras (available in four shades with a bendable wand), marching to your own drummer while supporting our focus on freedom of expression, inclusivity, and accessibility.
View our numerous eye and lip products at https://melowaymakeup.com/