Previously on our blog, we explored how eye looks evolved during the golden age, which spanned the 1920s through the 1960s. Today we’re going to view the trends that have played out since then and what inspired them.
During the golden age, makeup trends were born from various factors and influences, such as world events, economic conditions, celebrities, the arts, and traditional media. With the evolution of social media in the early 2000s, those factors began to play a much smaller role in trendsetting. In the early days of social media, the initial reach of a million potential customers was staggering. That number has since exploded into billions of prospective consumers, a dream come true for e-commerce, marketing professionals, and the beauty industry. With the click of your mouse, you can see what makeup and clothing styles your favorite celebrities are currently obsessed with and then click into YouTube to learn how to copy them. This new-found access spawned today’s prolific number of online makeup tutorials presented by celebrity makeup artists and influencers.
Now, let’s look at the evolution of eye looks between the 1970s and today.
Fueled by the women’s liberation movement, the Vietnam War, and the sub-culture of anti-establishment hippies, the 1970s took a minimalist approach to all makeup. Eye makeup in this decade consisted solely of neutral shadow and a swipe of mascara. Celebrities like Lauren Hutton, Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, and Ali MacGraw popularized this natural look, taking it mainstream.
The 1980s saw a complete about-face with a return to excess. The economy was surging, and disco music and star-studded clubs were hot. Women reacted to this rocking environment by seeking bolder, flamboyant, and intensely pigmented makeup colors. The proponents of this trend included Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Diana Ross.
The 1990s saw another 180-degree shift with a surprising return to minimalism, this time as a possible reaction to the overindulgence of the 80s and a blooming love affair with the new-to-the-modeling scene, Kate Moss, who embodied the fresh-faced, unpretentious look.
In 2000, we had Jennifer Lopez to thank for the hottest eye trend of the year, sparked by her heart-stopping attire at that year’s Grammy Awards and her incredibly thick, full, and feathery eyelashes. J.Lo’s enviable lashes were achieved by adding faux red fox fur lashes and mounds of mascara to her natural lashes. In response to the demand for lookalike eyes, lash bars multiplied across the country in department stores and salons, offering professional applications of artificial lashes. The cosmetics industry responded to this trend by producing lash-thickening conditioners and mascara formulated with fibers that would thicken and lengthen one’s natural eyelashes.
In 2012, another major change took place when a then unknown model walked the Chanel couture runway. Cara Delvingne, enjoying her first big fashion campaign for Burberry, had prominent, thick, archless, bushy eyebrows. Labeled the IT girl of the season by Karl Lagerfeld, emulating Delvingne’s eyebrows became the latest craze. This fresh style generated a celebrity following, including Lily Collins and Keira Knightley. It also inspired a line of products formulated specifically for eyebrows that consisted of powders, pencils, pomades, and tinted gels while simultaneously becoming a line item in salon and spa service offerings.
Today, trends have a much shorter lifespan thanks to social media so have fun and experiment since by the time you perfect your chosen look, something new will have already replaced it.
Here are four popular 2023 trends that you can try but do it quickly or the look you’re copying may become obsolete before your eyeliner is dry.
Doe eyes attempt to make the eyes appear wide, round, and innocent. You can achieve this look with eyeliner and a generous application of mascara.
As a throwback to the 2010s, the grunge look is back! Glam grunge is matte, messy, and has more coverage. Use darker eyeshadows, heavy dark eyeliner, and copious amounts of mascara to help your lashes stand out.
Inspired by Barbiecore and the return to hyper-femininity, this look is about taking pride in your feminine strength and celebrating it. This eye expression calls for sharp liner, flirty lashes, eyeshadow, and mascara that's concentrated toward the center of the eyes to widen them.
Sleepy Eyes AKA Bedroom Eyes
This look refers to the appearance of a heavy-lidded, half-shut, or dreamy eye, which can be interpreted as expressing an interest in becoming more intimate. To execute this properly, black eyeliner is required to create a straight wing outward from the corner of the eye and to fill in your lower lash line. To complete the look, a neutral shadow can be added to the outer third of the upper lid and underneath the eyes.