Beauty Trends That Have Lasted Throughout History

We learn beauty trends today from fashion magazines, influencers, and celebrities but many popular looks can date back as far as 6,000 years ago. Some of the biggest trends in beauty originated within ancient civilizations and have evolved over time re-emerging in their modern forms to adorn women all over the world. From winged eyeliner to red lips, these beauty trends have taken over the world time and time again. At this rate, these trends may last forever!

Winged Eyeliner

Screenshot of Rex Harrison and Elizabeth Taylor for the film Cleoptra / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

Winged eyeliner has transcended makeup trend to become a makeup staple. This look has been around since Ancient Egypt. Not only was this a fashion choice, but it was also believed to ward off evil spirits. Upper eyelids were painted using black kohl and lower eyelids were painted using green malachite. The trend also became part of the Geishas’ immaculate makeup routine in the 1800s in Japan.

The modern winged eyeliner or cat-eye re-emerged in the 1920s during ‘Tut-mania’ with the discovery of King Tut’s Tomb which put this style back into public consciousness. In the 1950s liquid eyeliner was invented during the mass commercialization of makeup and the look became a worldwide phenomenon, especially among Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Audrey Hepburn. Today, winged eyeliner is more popular than ever, especially with almond eyes.

Hair Dye

Humans have been changing their looks, making bold statements, and hiding their greys using hair dye since the beginning of time. During the classical period, Roman emperors were famous for dying their hair blonde, Egyptians commonly dyed their hair black using henna, and European tribes dyed their hair different colors to show differences in rank. The first modern hair dye was surprisingly purple! In the 1800s English Chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally created the first synthesized dye while trying to develop a cure for Malaria. The dye was eventually developed into the first hair color formula by the founder of L’Oreal, Eugene Schueller, in 1907. Since then, women and men now have access to every hair color possibility. One of the most famous hair dye trends, platinum blonde, was ignited with the release of the Jean Harlow film, Platinum Blonde.

Painted Nails

Painting nails has long been a symbol of self-care and expression. The history of painted nails originates in India with Henna and then spread to China where it was originally a status symbol among the elite. Like every other beauty trend on the list, painted nails also made an appearance in ancient Egypt on Cleopatra’s hands and eventually arrived in Europe during the Renaissance. Unsurprisingly, coloring and bejeweling hit a high in 18th-century French courts among the likes of Marie Antionette. In 1878, Mary Cobb brought the mani and pedi to the US when she opened the first nail salon in Manhattan. The modern liquid form was developed in France in the 1920s by Michelle Ranard who worked for the company that would become Revlon. Now nail polish can be found in almost every color!

Red Lips

We call red lips timeless for a reason! Red lips first took the fashion world by storm in ancient Mesopotamia where women crushed red rocks into a paste that they applied to their lips. Ancient Egyptians used red beatles to do the same. In the Middle Ages, makeup was frowned upon until Elizabeth I began to rock it as part of her iconic style.

Red lips undeniably make a bold statement and they have carried a variety of cultural meanings depending on the time in history and the region of the world. From high social status to low morality, this makeup trend has seen more ups and downs than any other trend on this list. The modern red lip was repopularized with the suffragist movement in the 20s, became one of the sole makeup products used during WWII, and was part of the bombshell look of the 50s. Today, the red lip seems to make a “return” every season and is a staple on runways and fashion magazines.

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