From Bootylicious to Browlicious – Beauty Trends of Yore (Part 2)
Let’s hop into the beauty time machine right where we left off – the 50’s. This seminal decade, slain by glamorous baes such as Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn, is known as the “Golden Age” of beauty.
After World War II, everyone was #shook af. Nowhere was this more evident than inside the American household, where traditional/conservative values prevailed in an effort to regain stability. Basically, when all the men went to war, the women were expected to fill jobs and be boss bitches. Then, all of the sudden, the men came back and were like, “war is over, make me a sandwich,” and women were expected to become 24/7 domestic goddesses. Please.
Actresses, celebrities, and models became the gold standard for beauty trends. Meanwhile, the hot wife paradigm (ie. Slaying both your look and your domestic responsibilities) dominated, and 50’s women wanted to appear as picture-perfect as today’s pre-teen Instathots, both inside and outside the home. The perfect woman would be able to attend to all her chores, all the while resembling Audrey Hepburn. Hairstyles were time-consuming and complex. Makeup was thick and creamy to aid in the illusion of a flawless complexion. Pink was the shade à la mode, appearing in eyeshadows, lipsticks, and blushes. Winged eyeliner was everything. Basically, if you were going to wear makeup, it HAD to be on point. You had to visit the salon several times a week to keep up your ‘do. And, as if perfect hair and makeup isn’t already a full-time deal, you also HAD to fold the toilet paper into little triangles, make dinner, and tend to the children before hubby walked in the door at 5 o’clock. DAYUM.
If this is giving you anxiety, you’re not alone. I can barely vacuum my apartment without breaking into a sweaty tantrum. And trust me, when I’m doing chores, I ain’t wearin no winged eyeliner. So, major props to the 50’s ladies for staying snatched while taking care of the household. Y’all the real MVPs.
The 60’s were sort of a weird purgatory between the straight-laced elegance of the 50’s and the free-spirited Farrah Fawcett realness of the 70’s. The cat-eye was replaced by EXTREME Lash looks, made popular by stars like Twiggy. People started to wear mascara on their lower lashes for the first time, and falsies became all the rage. As women said #mmbye to the chained-to-the-stove lifestyle and pursued careers and education, they also bid farewell to the hours of salon time and adopted more practical hair looks – bobs or long, straight hair. Not sure how straight hair is more practical, considering it takes me an hour to flatten my primal mane, but okay. As the hippie movement came around, women started rejecting cosmetics in full (now THAT’S a look I can go for) and began to wear dark eyes with pale lips, or no makeup at all.
The 70’s were all about hair. One look became iconic – Farrah Fawcett Feathers. This signature look featured layers, a middle part, and hella volume. Makeup looks became more natural and featured more nude tones as a “less is more” lifestyle came into play. Also, a fitness fever started to dominate – aerobics became chic. So did disco, but don’t even get me started on that.
The 80’s were kind of a lot. Think: neon, perms, leotards, eyeshadow. People wore heavy makeup and tons of bold colors. Colorful, opaque eyelids were popular, as were asymmetrical bob hairstyles… unfortunately. One good thing did come out of the 80’s (besides Ryan Gosling, of course): the eyebrow rebirth, spearheaded by the legend herself, Brooke Shields. Women wore high ponytails, also known as “palm trees” or “waterfalls.” Great, now TLC is stuck in my head. Time to move on.
The 90’s are my favorite decade because it’s the decade where a true legend (me) appeared on the scene… with gusto. As for 90’s beauty trends, we can all agree that it was a struggle – nay, a full-on epidemic. Over-plucked brows, thick lip liner that was five shades darker than the lip color itself, over-glossed lips and glittery eye shadow… dare I go on?
90’s hair is the stuff of my darkest nightmares. Butterfly clips, crimped hair, chunky zebra highlights, and zig-zagged parts – all of which I definitely bought into – dominated the heads of 90’s chicas. A hairstyle called the “Rachel,” named after my second least favorite Friends character (my least favorite is Monica because she’s uptight and is only fun to watch during the two episodes where she gets drunk).
Then, the early 2000’s came around, and were basically a continuation of the 90’s madness. What’s more extra than extra-glittery lips? Body glitter! People walked around shining bright like a diamond (or, rather, like a sweaty Brittany wannabe) and sporting spray tans so orange they emitted light. To make matters worse, decorations popped up in places they shouldn’t. For example, butterfly clips were a thing (this is a sore subject for me, since my dense and savage mane would send butterfly clips flying across the room), as were statement belly button rings. Sadly, eyebrows went away once again, replaced by “tadpole brows,” a term that I saw online and kind of grosses me out.
So, even though there were no hideously grotesque Facebook photos to immortalize the beauty trends of yore, you mustn’t forget the cosmetic struggles of women past. Suffering through tadpole brows, butterfly clips, crimped hair and toilet paper triangles – these women fought for your right to contour. #Neverforget.
In the next and final chapter, I will discuss current beauty trends and my forecast for the future. What’s next for our brows... tadpole or Brooke Shields? Only time (and Facebook) will tell.