History of Makeup in the 1960s

Women and makeup go hand in hand. They are like two peas in a pod. While some women wear makeup to enhance their features, others use makeup to get an entirely new look. Either way, makeup has served women in more ways than one could imagine.

The evolution of makeup trends through the years has been drastic. For some years, it was all flowers and sunshine while others, it was more dramatic. Women have followed trends based on their circumstances in general and by following their ideals. Celebrities carry the huge responsibility of introducing new ideas, and if something is hit, it spreads like wildfire.

The 1960s was the decade when the youth started taking over. They made sure that their voices were heard loud and clear. For that reason, they would use anything and everything to convey the message. Women from that decade also chose to revolutionize their makeup. Following is the brief history of makeup during the 1960s and what each look signified. You can also read some fall beauty makeup tips here. 

The Early ‘60s

The early 60s carried the late 1950s look. It started off with softer looks with pale colors over the eyes and nude lip colors. Just a few years later, the trends shifted towards a more prominent and dramatic approach. This was when the youth “woke up” and had ample cash on their hands to spend on themselves. 

The Mid ‘60s


It took just a couple of years to change everything women knew about makeup. From softer looks, they turned to prominent eyes. They started using eyeliner generously and chose bold colors as eye shadows. They used false long lashes and experimented on making their eyes bigger or smaller using makeup. Interestingly, the rest of the face was kept natural.

The Late ‘60s

By the end of the decade, the makeup trends had evolved into drawing and painting on the face. Women loved to draw fake face marks like freckles and moles. Some would paint fake lashes in funky colors, while others would do polka dots on the eyelids. It is safe to say that the 60s were more focused on eye makeup rather than an entire look.

Influences on Makeup

As mentioned earlier, makeup trends were influenced by the circumstances of that time. They were also spread by media personalities who sparkled their way into Hollywood. We have enlisted below some of the factors that influenced the most famous looks from the 1960s:

1. The London Scene

The London Scene

This was the time when the term “mod” started to rise for the youth. It was short for “modernists” or simply modern. Unlike the 1950s, the youth were more determined, and they were seen more active in their daily routines. This was also the time when women started speaking up for their rights.

During the mid-1960s, magazines and TV shows played an important role in uniting the youth from all over the world. The images from magazines and makeovers from TV shows influenced young women to try out new ideas of makeup

The most iconic influence was by the British model Twiggy. She introduced an entirely different eye look. Not only with colors, but the women of the 60s also rocked black and white colors too. White eye shadows over eyelids with black crease and extra-long lashes completed their dramatic look.

2. Quant & Yardley

Quant & Yardley

In 1966, Mary Quant launched her cosmetics range. Just like her clothing range, her makeup was targeted towards young women. They were accessible, and everyone loved the color scheme. She included a step-by-step guide with each pack of her products, making it easy to use for everyone.

Quant named her products using ironic words. The packaging of the products bore her signature daisy as the icon. All this combined made her brand insanely popular in the late 60s. Her most famous products were shimmers for the eyes along with mascara.

Following Quant, Yardley also made their way into introducing new products. They advertised with pictures of British supermodels who became fashion icons worldwide.

3. Music & TV

Music & TV

The music industry in the 1960s was booming. The Beatles, Led Zeplin and The Rolling Stones are some, to name a few. People wanted to copy their music ideals in every way possible. This influence did not remain confined to clothes and hairdos. They quickly created makeup looks based on their favorite bands.

A similar thing happened when shows like Ready Steady Go! were released and gained popularity. The kind of outfit people wore in the shows, and their general makeover influenced everyone. It was a quick and easy way for people to change their current styles into something trendy.

4. Movies


Just like TV shows, the movies influenced an even bigger audience. With a bigger budget and professional artist, the looks created were beyond anything the world had ever seen. Take the example of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra in 1963. How beautifully the artists merged the fashion trends of the 60s to reenact the beauty of the ancient Egyptian queen. Elizabeth’s looks in that movie caused a lot of stir simply because it was too pretty to be true. 

Megastars like Sophia Lauren and Bridgette Bardot were the screen beauties of their time. While Bridgette carried funky looks, Sophia had more of a softer side when it came to makeup. Both of them, with many others, changed the course of makeup trends during the 60s.

5. Feminism & Hippie Culture


Since women were more active about their rights during the 60s, they wanted to show their freedom by wearing whatever they want. Some women chose Goth looks with dark eyes and even darker lips. They completed their looks with untraditional gender-neutral clothes to defy the kind of clothes the society chose for them.

Other women saw makeup as something to portray women as sex objects. They chose to go with a more natural look with minimum makeup. Their stance remained that they don’t need makeup to look attractive, and they were not wrong. Whatever makeup the women chose, they made a statement out of it. Feminism played an important role in determining makeup trends among women, and it is true to this day.

Makeup and Time

Everything changes over time. There is nothing in this world that does not get influenced by other things. This dynamic nature of things is applied for makeup and fashion too. Throughout history, women have struggled with making a place for themselves and getting equal rights. They have come a long way, and among many other things, they have also used makeup to make their presence known.