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May 18, 2024
Makeup Through the Ages
Make Up

Makeup Through the Ages: A Look at Historical Trends

Makeup has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. From ancient Egypt to modern-day America, people have used makeup to enhance their appearance, express themselves, and even communicate social status. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant makeup trends throughout history.

Ancient Egypt (4000 BCE – 30 BCE)

Ancient Egyptians were known for their elaborate makeup rituals. Both men and women would use kohl to darken their eyes and create the iconic “cat-eye” look. Kohl was made from a mixture of lead, ash, and burnt almonds. They would also use red ochre to color their cheeks and lips. The use of makeup was not only for aesthetic purposes but also had religious significance, as it was believed that makeup had protective and healing properties.

Medieval Europe (500 CE – 1500 CE)

In medieval Europe, makeup was mostly used by the upper classes, particularly by women. Pale skin was considered fashionable, so women would use lead-based powders to achieve a porcelain complexion. They would also use rouge made from crushed plants to add color to their cheeks and lips. Eyebrows were often shaved off completely and redrawn in thin, arched lines using charcoal or soot.

Victorian Era (1837 – 1901)

The Victorian era was characterized by extreme modesty and prudishness. Makeup was considered vulgar and associated with prostitutes and actresses. Women would use subtle powders to achieve a pale complexion, but any other form of makeup was frowned upon. However, towards the end of the era, the popularity of theater and ballet led to the rise of stage makeup, which was more dramatic and colorful.

Roaring Twenties (1920s)

The 1920s saw a dramatic shift in makeup trends. Women embraced a more liberated and daring style, known as the “flapper” look. This included bold, dark lipstick, heavy eyeliner, and a powdered, matte complexion. Women would also use mascara to darken and lengthen their eyelashes. The iconic “Cupid’s bow” lip shape was created by outlining the lips with a dark pencil and filling them in with bright red lipstick.


The 1960s were all about bold, colorful makeup. Women would use bright eyeshadows in shades of blue, green, and pink, and heavy black eyeliner to create a dramatic “cat-eye” look. False eyelashes were also popular, and women would often wear them in clusters to create a more dramatic effect. Pale, matte skin was still in fashion, but women would add a touch of color to their cheeks with rosy blush.

Modern Day

Today, makeup trends are more diverse than ever. From the natural, “no-makeup” look to bold, colorful, and avant-garde styles, there is something for everyone. Social media has played a huge role in the popularity of makeup, with beauty influencers and bloggers sharing their tips and tutorials with millions of followers. The availability of high-quality, affordable makeup products has also made experimenting with different looks more accessible than ever before.

  • The Bottom Line:

Makeup has a long and fascinating history, with trends constantly evolving and changing. Whether it’s for self-expression, cultural or religious significance, or simply to enhance one’s appearance, makeup has played a significant role in human culture for thousands of years.

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