Believe it or not, there was a time in the history of makeup when contouring was not a thing. I know, I know: what did they do instead? Well, according to makeup artist and Face Paint: The Story of Makeup author Lisa Eldridge, that answer varied over time. Eldridge takes us through 5,000 years of makeup in 7 minutes, shedding light on how culture informed the reigning beauty trends of each era.
In early Egyptian society, makeup was experimental and worn daily by men and women of all classes. Obvious makeup was frowned upon in the classic Greek period (a woman’s main role was to be virtuous and stay in the house) so they wore a light dusting of white powder on the skin, a hint of color on cheeks and defined unibrows. Heavy blush distinguished the aristocracy from the middle class in the mid-18th century and flappers at the close of the 19th century preferred dark eyes and small rosebud mouths.
Women’s empowerment in the 20th century gave us the freedom to experiment with makeup as we see fit and helped usher in today’s YouTube guru culture. Contouring doesn’t make the cut (that’s totally 21st century!) but we do see flashes of 60s mod, 80s neon and 90s grunge as Lisa takes us through the remaining decades.
Watch Lisa model 5,000 years of makeup trends in her video above.