The Top ’70s Makeup Looks That Are Making a Comeback

designer makeup with rhinestone
Eyes of a beautiful young woman in a bright designer makeup with rhinestones, body painting.

The Inspiration Behind 1970s Styles

Every decade has its statement style. Whether that style is cherished or hated, the fashion and beauty worlds always have strong feelings about it. The 1970s were a turning point for style, from hair and makeup to clothes and shoes. This period saw a shift away from “plain Jane” colors, with most people donning brighter colors and bolder looks. Flare bottoms, afros, and disco makeup were just a few of the great features of the ’70s style. 

Many different icons rocked the wide range of looks that characterized the ’70s era. Idols like Stevie Knicks, Ella Fitzgerald, Farrah Fawcett, groundbreaking Iman, and the magnificent Olivia Newton-John showed just how in tune they were with the fashion of the 1970s. Bold outfits, big hair, and beautiful sunkissed skin looks were what the world wanted, and these women delivered. 

The push to accentuate bolder looks or features can be attributed to the shifting cultural landscape of the decade. It would be a disservice to discuss the 1970s without acknowledging that they were a time of political unrest, recession, expanding freedoms, and testing boundaries. Sound familiar? The similarities between the 2020s and 1970s are startling; even 50 years later, we’re paying homage to one of the most significant decades in American history and the amazing looks it brought into the world.

What Do 1970s Throwback Styles Look Like?

Much of the clothing and makeup worn by today’s fashion moguls and influencers are all too reminiscent of the ’70s style. Victoria Beckham has her own line of ’70s flare bottom pants, thrusting one of the most well-known ’70s fashion looks into the spotlight. Other ’70s beauty looks included high waist styles, long dresses and skirts, and very natural themes, like flower patterns.

If you take a moment to scroll down Instagram, you’ll see quite a few flowing flower gowns that could’ve come right out of a 1970s fashion magazine. Even the beauty site Byrdie says, “In fact, some of our favorite celebrities—like Saweetie and Rihanna— have recently paid tribute to the groovy vibes of yesteryear with ’70s-inspired glam.” With huge stars like Saweetie and Rihanna embracing the 1970s throwback style, it’s obvious how influential that decade is in today’s beauty world.

’70s Makeup Trends Were About Expression

So why does fashion matter when talking about makeup? The fashion and makeup worlds work in tandem with each other, deeply influencing each other. A runway model, for example, isn’t ready to show the world her look until she has both fashion and makeup together. New trends, statements, and looks in both worlds are constantly complimented or used with different looks from the other. 

’70s makeup trends were all about emphasizing the feeling that summer brings on – hot, dramatic, and fun. Makeup trends and fashion choices before the seventies were mainly decided by men. Women were told what was appropriate for them to wear and how much makeup was too much makeup. But when the ’70s hit, these became worries of the past. The shifting cultural and political landscape that started in the ’60s provided women in the ’70s with freedoms they hadn’t yet known. They started dictating what they wanted to wear and how much makeup was right for them to achieve the bold looks they were going for. 

Today, there is even greater freedom of expression, and both women and men are taking advantage of this. The vibrant, dynamic looks of the ’70s are the perfect inspiration for people of the 2020s to experiment and express themselves.

Top ’70s Makeup Looks Making a Comeback

While most makeup of the seventies stayed neutral to emphasize natural skin tones or allow the eyes to maintain all the attention, many bold colors were chosen to show off earth tones. Color palettes consisted of olive green, teal, light blue, deep purple, or bright red. This decade favored bold jewel-toned hues as well as dreamy pastels, and while the looks were often not mixed, they were always applied in a way that emphasized one facial feature above the rest, be it lips, cheekbones, eyes, or eyebrows. These same shades and disco makeup themes have made a strong resurgence today. Let’s explore some of the ’70s makeup looks that are making a comeback.

Beautiful Eye Makeup

The 1970s encouraged makeup wearers to drop the natural eye makeup looks that sixties icons like Audrey Hepburn were famous for. In the ’70s, iridescent shades that shone on eyelids were the fashion, and women indulged in highlights, colors, bright accents, and bold looks.

Today’s innovative makeup community has reclaimed many of the colors used in the 1970s makeup world. Shades of blue, green, purple, and other beautiful colors are encouraged in regular eyeshadow or as part of an intense smokey eye look. These bright colors become the focal point in contrasting blended black ends. 

Consider the trend of cut crease style eyeshadow. This makeup look is incredibly difficult to achieve and is not an easy lesson for beginners to learn, but it is the makeup community challenging the way traditional eyeshadow is applied. The cut crease encourages the wearer to blend the eyeshadow high above the eyelid, making the eyelid a plainer color than the mixed and blended bold colors on top of the precision crease. This look has shown similarities to the bold looks of the 1970s, where women often worked with paler eyeshadow colors because the cut crease itself was bold enough back then. Today, makeup is mixing bold colors with bold designs, and the results are glamorous. 

Aside from cut creases, the 1970s were all about color, finding as many as possible, and figuring out a method in which to blend them. Sunset lids were all the rage, a fad that encouraged eyeshadows of earthy terracottas, gold, oranges, and warm brown tones blended all over the eyelid. This look may be seen as plain now, but back then, that addition of color was all women needed to set themselves apart from the traditional plain and fair makeup tones of the past. Today many makeup artists take on the challenge of blending beautiful colors together on the eyelid for a smooth and remarkable outcome. 

Eyeshadow Gems & Stickers

If bright and bold eyeshadow colors and styles weren’t enough for the 2020s, they would welcome gems and stickers. Part of the disco makeup trend of the seventies encouraged stickers, gems, and other sparkly items to sit on the eyelids. Never before had this kind of innovational trend occurred in the makeup world.

Today, thanks in part to the hit show Euphoria and the many music festivals people attend, eyeshadow accented with gems is saved for special events. It takes extra effort to complete your eyeshadow look, then carefully glue the gems to your eyes. This look is loved by many for its standout beauty. It is delicate and charming and one the 2020s doesn’t seem intent on dropping anytime soon. 

The 2020s don’t encourage stickers as much as they do rhinestone eye makeup, but they are still part of the music festival look. In fact, today, many beauticians recommend using stickers to make this unique look easily attainable. Even though stickers may be easier to apply than rhinestones, they may fall off much more easily than rhinestones do. Because rhinestones offer longer-lasting looks, more big beauty magazines geared towards young women like Seventeen and Loreal market how to achieve the rhinestone eyeshadow look at home. The best thing about this trend is that it provides options. Whether you’re a professional artist or a first-time makeup user, you can figure out a rhinestone method that works for you. makeup done with gems on eyes

Big Lashes

Big lashes were the apple of the eyes back in the seventies. Gone were the days of translucent black powders painting lashes. Makeup artists encouraged dramatic false lashes on performers, artists, and celebrities, causing huge lashes to become one of the biggest makeup trends of the time.

Volumizing mascara has made its debut once again as the makeup community of today searches for hacks to make mascara appear thicker and longer. Recent tips even include putting concealer on the eyelashes before applying mascara to add volume and length to your natural lashes. Even the lower lash line has become exaggerated in today’s makeup world as it encourages the wearer to attach lower lash falsies or to even paint on dramatic bottom lashes with liquid eyeliner. 

Glossy or Bold Lips

The glossy lips of the early 2000s are very similar to those of the ’70s. In the ’70s, natural looks with added shimmer and shine became the trend in the makeup community, and most makeup artists used plain or sheer gloss to highlight their lips. Lip looks in the seventies also consisted of the immortal red lipstick or dark plum, mulberry, or cranberry colors. Pastel colors like peach, raspberry, and pink were also used.

Today has seen a similar look come into fashion, with sheer but natural colored lip gloss. Rihanna’s Fenty lipgloss is a fine example of how lip glosses that maintain natural lip colors are being used to bring glitter, shine, and shimmer to lips. Lip liner was also used in the ’70s to blend into whatever lipstick or lipgloss was applied. Today, makeup artists have once again pushed beauty standards forward by trying lip liner that stands out and using two shades of lip gloss or lipstick to blend colors. This lip look has because a staple in the makeup world of 2022 and looks amazing on just about everyone who wears it.

Statement Eyeliner

One of the biggest parts of the seventies makeup style was the focus on the eyes. Brightly colored eyeliners, as well as winged eyeliner, became the most fashionable look of the time. Today, the winged eyeliner look has become a time-honored tradition. This makeup look can help achieve a laid-back and relaxed style, or it can complement those who dress to impress. Statement eyeliner is very versatile and can be worn with all types of makeup designs and outfits.

Modern makeup artists have taken statement eyeliner even further by mixing up the kinds of eyeliner designs you can do on your eyelids. One of the best trends of the 2020s is the use of two different color eyeliners silhouetting each other. Often black eyeliner is topped with white eyeliner, which emphasizes the eyes even more. Sometimes people drop the classic black eyeliner in lieu of brightly colored eyeliners, like blue, purple, or green.

Thin Eyebrows

Sometimes, fashion leads to learning experiences, although it doesn’t necessarily get through to everyone. The 1970s encouraged thin eyebrows, and even though many who adopted this trend have said that they regretted it, the 2020s have decided to reboot this makeup look.

Thin eyebrows are found on supermodels like Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid and famous actresses of 2022. This look does send a powerful message, though. Even though natural brows without any product are beautiful, thin eyebrows make it clear that every point on a person’s face is purposely tailored to give off a specific look. Thin eyebrows may not be the focal point, but they are a precision look that was purposefully achieved.

Natural Blushes

Just like thin eyebrows, natural blushes were one of the few aspects of makeup that were less than bold in the seventies. Back then, it was all about finding specific areas of the face to emphasize, and yet, the cheeks were often not the focal point of a makeup look.

Today’s makeup community has rejuvenated this trend by losing heavy foundations and using more natural colors and blushes. These blushes add to the lightweight makeup look that many strive for. Blush and bronzer are used to maintain a sunkissed, rosy cheek look, one that arguably began in the 1970s. different shades of blushes

Throwback Makeup’s Impact

In simplest terms, today’s throwback to seventies fashion is a means to break away from beauty standards. Ironically, breaking out of tradition seems to be the beauty world’s newest mission. Whether it’s eye shadow, glossy lipstick, bold colors, red lipstick, or tons of eyeshadow, it’s up to you to choose how to express yourself best. Each person knows their own features best, so the ’70s resurgence has been a call-back to the first time people truly began expressing themselves and breaking boundaries. Through something as frivolous as beauty standards, we’re reminded that the rules we think exist do not truly exist, and it is entirely within our power to live by them or rise above them.

The 1970s saw the advent of disco makeup, which is eerily similar to the style of makeup Euphoria has made popular once again. The singer and actress Cher is seen today with many iconic 70’s looks, including glossy lips and bright blue eyeshadow. Famous actresses like Christina Agulera, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga have sported bold eye looks like this, either wearing winged liner, emphasized eye makeup, or bright eyeshadow colors. This gives them statement eyes or lips that stand out, while the rest of their makeup stays more light and laid back. two girls with heavy makeup  

The 2020s Takes 1970s-Themed Makeup to Another Level

The 1970s welcomed makeup looks that were specific to each individual person. Gone were the times when makeup was supposed to look the same on everyone. No one was expected to look like Snow White, and often pale skin, dark hair, and plain eyes were the opposite of the desired look. In fact, this decade was so dedicated to reinventing the makeup game that they even welcomed the idea of a multi-step skincare routine, emphasizing the importance of cleansers, exfoliators, toners, and moisturizers. Even today, multi-step skincare routines are highly encouraged. This is especially true among those in the makeup community as they are very aware of how makeup can dry out skin, cause issues and irritations, and clog pores. They are also looking to emphasize spot treatments, oils, sunscreen, and other new products to keep skin clean, fresh, and young. 

One of the most interesting things about ’70s fashion and beauty was that there was not one specific look or style that overshadowed the rest. Some people might think of Woodstock-style clothes or disco clothes, but these two contrasting styles exist side by side, with many of the same people enjoying both. Various trends and aesthetics arose in the seventies, and the idea was to find whatever worked for you.

Just as it was in the seventies, self-expression is everything today, and people are encouraged to wear whatever makes them feel beautiful. The ’70s were a time of freedom and connection to nature, and today, these values live on as we express ourselves through makeup and fashion. Back then, makeup was used to find new forms of expression and challenge the traditional way we view beauty. We’re doing the same thing today, pushing past the idea that there is only one type of beauty. The groundbreaking styles, trends, and attitudes of fifty years ago are a powerful source of inspiration today, so it’s no wonder so many ’70s makeup looks are making a comeback.

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