A few weeks ago, we looked at eyebrows through the ages. While not all elements of makeup have seen such a dramatic transformation, eyeliner, one of the oldest forms of makeup, underwent a subtle, but noticeable journey throughout the last century. Take a look at some of the most iconic eyeliner styles of the past:
The 20s was the first time that, in the western world, eyeliner was used liberally and with great purpose. As a result of the rediscovery of King Tut’s tomb in Egypt, women were applying eyeliner with gusto to get the trendy look. Subtle makeup had reigned supreme until this point and film stars such as Louise Brooks pioneered the slightly smudged lined eye.
In a departure from the thick, smudged lines of the 20s, eyeliner was kept very close to the lashline in the 30s. Barely there liquid liner was used to fill in the spaces between the lashes but was never thick or smoky. Seen here on Marlene Dietrich.
While eyeliner is a key element in recreating 40s looks, the line was much more subdued during wartime. There was no smudge, and definitely no defined shape, but similar to the 30s, a very thin line was often used to define the upper lashes, as seen here on Lana Turner.
The 50s saw a return to femininity with post-war fashions celebrating the form. Stars such as Brigitte Bardot pioneered the dark eyes/light lips look that became legendary from the era. Rather than the conservative application of the decade past, liner was used all around the eye and onto the waterline.
Probably the most iconic time in the 20th century for eyeliner, the 60s saw the introduction of the fashionable cut crease and eyeliner that went beyond a simple swipe of black. This look on Edie Sedgwick was a common and very trendy style.
After the dramatic lines of the 60s, liner softened considerably in the 70s. Warm browns took the place of harsh black lines and a more natural look was in vogue.
The 80s was a time where exaggerated makeup was the norm. Frosted lips and pale blue eyes were paired with heavily lined eyes in both black and neon brights. Madonna’s signature looks from the 80s dictated to her droves of fans and liquid liner was key in recreating this look.
In spite of being famous for the glamazon girls, the 90s saw subtle liner on most of its fashion and beauty icons. From the grunge girls of the early 90s to Cindy Crawford and the gang in the later years, liner was used as a subtle way to highlight the eye rather than make a statement.
The 00s was the decade of the signature eyeliner. Many women opted for a liquid line but it’s the soft cat eye, made famous by Angelina Jolie, which left its mark. Whether she applied a harder flick or a soft extended line (as seen, left), she kick started a trend that we’ve yet to see recede.
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