Remember dark lip liners and razor-thin brows? Powdered ghost face and bright red blush? If you’re lucky, you probably don’t and that’s because those god-awful trends didn’t last too long. And while we’ve made plenty more mistakes in the books of beauty history, human-kind did some things right - and those things, they did really right - so right in fact, that they endured the collapse of ancient civilizations, the Crusades, the first atom bomb and much more to make it all the way to 2019.
As we all know, evolution only allows the survival of the fittest (or most fabulous), and while feathered brows and acid-brights may come and go, these iconic trends are here to stay.
Seasons may change, but a good cat-eye will endure the ages. The first recorded instance? A dramatic, mineral-made wing donned by Cleopatra and the Bedouins circa 69 BC. Then, in the ’50s, the launch of Maybelline’s Max Factor saw eyeliner become a household staple. On the silver-screen, we fell in love with the va-va-voom eyes of Audrey Hepburn, as she stared longingly into the window at Tiffany’s, or Sharmila Tagore giving away all her heart’s desires in a single, striking gaze.
The cat eye has worked to be both feral and feminine, flirty and fierce - it’s so versatile that it can transform an entire look with sight variations. Of late, those variations have abounded, with mod negative-space flicks, arty smudges and tinges of color, or structured geometric shapes.
So, keep your friends close but keep your cat-eye closer, because we ain’t ever saying goodbye to the feline flick.
Back in the ’90s, ‘shiny’ was just a matter of all-over shimmer, a sort of disco-ball-derived glitz sported by our favorite silver-screen sweethearts and pop princesses. It involved iridescent-finish everything – from eyeshadows and lipstick to body shimmer and blush. Over the years, ‘shiny’ has taken on a different interpretation altogether, with the overt giving way to the now ubiquitous ‘lit-from-within’ glow. K-Beauty came along to break the glass (skin) ceiling with a dewy look derived from intense hydration and a focus on skincare. Then, Glossier started up an online revolution featuring shiny, happy girls sporting peep-through gloss on their lids, cheeks and lips.
It took us long enough to shake off those years of matte-mania, spent freakishly dabbing any hint of shininess off our faces -but if recent runways shows are any indication, glowy, ‘just-out-the-bath’ skin won’t lose momentum any time soon.
So, how do you join the glow gang? Well, there’s no dearth of recruits: from strobe creams or highlighters, to face oils and gloss - the sky is the limit, and it turns out glowy girls are the prettiest.
If you had to trace the fringe back to its origins, it would take you on a meandering path from present day - from being a mainstay of our reigning queen of pop Taylor Swift to Warhol’s drug-addled muses, Godard’s broody enchanteurs to Bardot and bombshells of the ’60s, from Hepburn and the ’20s flappers all the way back to the placid, painted faces of 18th century European women. But this historical hair favorite of females all throughout history wasn’t started by a female at all. In fact, it started with an Iraqi renaissance man called Ziryab.
Thanks to our man Ziryab, we received a trend for the ages and we’ve never really gotten off the bang-wagon since. The fringe has made its cameos constantly, with ever-changing cuts: blunt or wispy, shaggy or choppy, sideswept or - its latest iteration - baby bangs.
So, will it last? Well, we think you can come to that conclusion yourself.
If you look through the annals of beauty history, red lipstick didn’t always hold a respected place; in fact, in the late 1800s, it was considered the signage of crass, lower-class women – the scarlet A so to speak. The advent of film kind of changed that- with actresses needing to wear darker lipsticks so they were visible in B&W movies, and the trend stayed on to add oomph to the otherwise dull, utilitarian styles of the post-war world. After that, all it took was the endorsement of the world’s most iconic women - Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Madonna – to make sure red lipstick received the immortal status it holds today.
So, why red? Well, it’s the color of blood and fire, power and passion, love and desire - and contrary to popular belief - it’s also a color that suits everyone. While there’s plenty of ways to wear your red - from a deep, satin wine to a saturated matte - if you’re scared of wearing red lipstick, you can start off with a more subtle balm or stain formulation.
Whatever you choose, you’d be joining a lineage of history’s most bold, beautiful and unapologetic women.
It's safe to say Queen Cleo and her immortally stylish people were the trailblazers behind every beauty trend we have today - and eyeshadow is no exception, first spotted as a mineral green powder on ancient Egyptians, which they used to ward off bacterial infections. In 1959, the very first Barbie had lids brushed with blue, and the Flower Power revolution that followed in the 60s continued to bat true blue lids as a symbol of self-expression, and cinema's most iconic scenes and starlets followed suit.
For a time, it suffered a small sleight to its reputation as 'garish' and 'over-the-top', but overall, blue eyeshadow has held its own, making a statement for everyone from David Bowie to Jessica Rabbit to Carrie Bradshaw, and most recently - on Spring 2019 runways.
Wear it as an iridescent aquamarine, or a solid stripe of cobalt, a tinge on a smokey or a broody jewel-toned gradient - whatever you pick, know that it takes its place in a rich and varied history.
Who knew a single strip of hair on your lids could become such a potent symbol of femininity, coquettishness and expression? And although civilizations have evolved, the power of the batted lash has endured since the Ancients. From malachite and burnt cork to toxic dyes and coal powder, women have been darkening their lashes from time immemorial. In the Victorian era, a perfumer's son created the first legit form of mascara with a mix of coal and petroleum jelly, and the rest is history.
Since then, we've seen the flutter flourish in its various forms - super-curled and spidery, colored or wispy. With the technology we have today, we can choose from extensions and fur falsies, a variety of different wands and formulations - volumizing, lengthening or curling.
If that's indication for anything at all, it's this: our obsession with lashes will be as long-lasting as the mascaras we hold dearest.