The Hottest Makeup Trends From Every Decade Of The 20th Century

Over time, beauty looks have changed drastically by the decade, and we're continually progressing with our techniques while borrowing from the past, as it is a constant source of inspiration. When comparing the hottest makeup trends by decade, there's a noticeable pattern of going back and forth between subtle makeup and taking a more flashy direction in cosmetics, rather like a pendulum swinging from side to side.

One thing is certain regarding the makeup of the 20th century, and that is that we have evolved with our beauty trends and tricks, although sometimes not for the better. While it's hard to keep up with trends in the 21st century since they are constantly changing, there seems to be more interest in beauty and makeup than ever before. Continue reading to learn about makeup by the decade, and how much it has progressed.


  • In 1900, Pale Skin And Rosy Cheeks Were What Women Wanted

    In 1900, Pale Skin And Rosy Cheeks Were What Women Wanted
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    The Look: All natural, pale skin, blushed cheeks

    In 1900, women would wear makeup, but they did not like for it to be noticeable. It was common for sex workers to wear makeup so other women tried to keep their makeup use a secret less it draw an unfavorable comparison. Pale skin was very much in, and women would wear powder and light blush on their cheeks.

  • 1910 Was All About A Bare Faced Natural Look

    The Look: Light makeup and long, curled hair

    By 1910, makeup had come a long way. The most telling sign of this was Max Factor opening their own studio. The first blush compact was sold during this time. Powder and blush were a big hit, although makeup was still primarily an actress and theater hobby - or for prostitutes - and not yet mainstream. 

  • By 1920, The Smoky Eye Look Was All The Rage

    By 1920, The Smoky Eye Look Was All The Rage
    Photo: Bain News Service / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Look: Heavy mascara, dark eyeshadow, and lips, lips, and more lips

    The makeup game completely changed by the 1920s. The freedom-loving Flapper came into existence, and with that, a glam look took over. Women wanted to emulate the looks of their favorite stars of the silver screen, and they began wearing noticeable makeup that was distinctly different from the softer looks of previous decades. Deep red lipstick became the norm, as did black smoky eyes and mascara.

  • The '30s Were All About The Eyebrows

    The Look: Short hair, pencil-thin brows, and light eyeshadow

    By the 1930s, women began noticing a trend with actresses and soon followed suit: super thin eyebrows. The trend of shaving off eyebrows and drawing them in became commonplace during this period. The look was paired with pastel shades of eyeshadow, dark pink lipsticks, and blush.