The Most Popular Makeup Trend The Year You Were Born

Trends are one of the many ways that society defines itself over time. Our clothing choices, the music we enjoy — even the makeup we wear — all paint a picture of our values, perceptions, and social conditions during specific moments in history. When it comes to makeup trends, one thing is consistent: they're ever-changing. Some trends fade away in the blink of an impeccably-lined eye, while others lay dormant until they're rediscovered by the next generation. On the flip side, some makeup fads are so objectively bad that we look back on them with a collective cringe.

Beauty and wellness writer Kari Molvar notes that social media has shattered the old trajectory of beauty trends. "Usually beauty trends and ideals take centuries to change," Molvar told CNN. "But with the digitalization and the globalization of the world, we've been exposed to so many fresh ideas, thoughts and points of view, the whole notion of what beauty is has just completely blown up." Thanks to the change, there's more authenticity in the beauty world than ever before. "What we can tell is that what's cool now is dictated more by 'normal people' (read: street style, YouTubers, and other influencers) rather than unapproachable fashion runways or magazine spreads like back in the day," Patrick Ta, a celebrity makeup artist, told Byrdie.

Although trends, along with the very concept of beauty itself, are quickly transforming in the digital age, past beauty trends have left a profound mark on the world — and they continue to inspire us today.


Every decade has an It girl. In the 1980's, Brooke Shields — with her thick, feathery eyebrows — was the undeniable queen of glam. At age 15, Shields became a household name when she appeared in a Calvin Klein ad that was criticized for being too racy. Nonetheless, the beauty world was absolutely taken with the teen's lush, natural brows. In 1981, Shields' face graced the cover of Time Magazine along with the proclamation that she was "The '80s Look."

Shields never meant to start a revolution with her brow hairs. In a 2022 essay for InStyle, the star recalled, "Thankfully, my mom was always very protective of my look. She practically threatened to break the fingers of any makeup artist who approached me with tweezers. She didn't have the foresight to think the eyebrows were going to be iconic." Brooke Shields' brows were embraced by fashionistas of the 1980s — including pop legend Madonna, who famously donned heavy, coffee-colored brows that clashed with her blonde hair. 

The 1980s had women filling in their brows with pencils and powders to achieve Shields' billowy-browed look. But surprisingly, the icon revealed via Instagram that she uses a simple graphite drawing pencil to bolden her iconic arches.


The 1980s were an era of vibrant hues, and fashionistas were not afraid to pack on the color — especially when it came to their eyelashes. "It was a time of extremes in fashion, makeup, and music...a time of major creativity," makeup artist Pat McGrath told Allure. For this decade, no makeup look was too bold. According to McGrath, extravagant colors like purple, blue, and green were the peak of eyeshadow shades during this decade. And no 80s eye look was complete without a hefty swash of colorful mascara. First popularized by stars like Boy George, brightly-colored mascara is anything but an old-fashioned relic — titanic beauty brands like Benefit and Marc Jacobs continue to embrace this vibrant fad.

Speaking about pigmented lashes, beauty expert Ashlee Glazer told Byrdie, "It's beautiful and edgy with a throwback to the glam '80s and punk-rock era." For a modern spin on the trend, Glazer said, "it's important to keep the eye shadow or liner soft, as to not overpower the look" (via Good Housekeeping).


The 1980s proved that color blocking wasn't just for fashion. Makeup lovers decorated their eyelids like vast canvases, applying numerous strokes of different colored eyeshadows. Pioneered by legends like Grace Jones, this flamboyant trend gave ample meaning to the phrase "more is better." Eyeshadow color blocking incorporated soft pastels, electrifying neons, and even bold black.

Pop legend Cyndi Lauper was a color blocking queen of the 1980s. Her lids were often adorned with carefree swipes of various hues. In 2016, Lauper told Vogue that she discovered her iconic makeup style after lots of experimentation. "In the '80s I used to go to the bookstore ... I found a lot of makeup that matched the shape of my face," she revealed. Lauper's beauty philosophy is simple. "See what you look like, and see what matches your face. Then, one night, practice," advised the singer.

For those who want to get seriously playful with their eye makeup, color blocking is the trend. Beauty expert Elena Miglino told PopSugar that deep blue and silver are ideal colors to get you started. For maximum eighties vibes, Miglino said, "Try adding blue shadow from lid to crease with a synthetic brush and sweeping silver under the lash line for a great eye-popper. If you're feeling a little more bold, throw on some coral lipstick to complete the look!"


In the late 1980s, the beauty industry began digging its heels into foundation with added skincare. Magazines were splashed with makeup advertisements containing fancy buzzwords like "cell extracts" and "non-comedogenic." When The New York Times spoke with Iris Model in 1987, the beauty expert remarked, ”We look at foundation as an extension of skin treatment. Anything that stays on your skin for a while will have a function there.”  Since heavy, full-coverage foundation was trending at the time, it was a clever opportunity for beauty brands to introduce the concept of cosmetics with added skincare.

Today, the trend of skincare-packed makeup rages on. But as celebrity hair and makeup artist Meredith Boyd explained, some of those ingredients require a little bit of demystifying. "Skincare ingredients in foundation are such a minuscule amount it's not going to make much of a difference. I wouldn't depend on these ingredients as a replacement for skincare, rather I'd rely on a skincare regimen before makeup for best results," Boyd told The List.


When it comes to 80s fashion icons, the legacy of Princess Diana is tough to beat. From her saucy red nail polish to her penchant for black evening wear, Diana's fashion choices pushed the boundaries of royal protocol — and she served some incredible looks in the process.

The late princess started a medley of trends, but blue eyeliner was one of her most iconic. Whether she was dressed down or decked out in the crown jewels, Diana's baby blues were almost always rimmed with electric blue pencil. It was her signature look — and thanks to her star power, it became the signature look for many women in the 1980s. Reflecting on Diana's favorite makeup trend, royal makeup artist Daniel Martin told Vogue, "In the '80s, blue eyeliner was about pulling out or brightening up naturally blue eyes. She never took it up to her eyelid, which would create an entirely different effect altogether. I think her wearing it in that way made it wearable for so many."


At the end of the 1980s, makeup lovers traded in their bright pink and purple matte lipsticks for a new trend: sheer, glossy lip shades with a hint of hue. It all started in 1989 with Clinique's Black Honey Almost Lipstick. This product was special because it delivered a glossy shimmer with a touch of color that looked perfect on every pout. Beth Mumm, an executive director at Clinique, told The New York Times, "It has that goth look but isn't heavy. People wanted to put in less effort than in the '80s. The cool thing was to find one product that was simple and elegant."

Black Honey scored a new generation of devotees in 2022, when TikTok discovered that Liv Tyler wore it in "The Lord of the Rings" movies. The lipstick instantly went from cult classic to viral sensation, causing it to sell out in stores nationwide. According to Clinique's website, the company sells one tube of Black Honey every three minutes.


From neon fashionistas to glam punk rebels, the 1980s were an era of exuberant styles. But as the 1990s took hold, there was a collective yearning for more minimalism in fashion and cosmetics. Thus, the no-makeup makeup trend was born. Thanks to the fresh, youthful faces of It girls like Kate Moss and Liv Tyler, naturally glowy skin was all the rage in the early 90s. 

Celebrity makeup artist Dick Page was one of the visionaries who first introduced no-makeup makeup to the world. Reflecting on his work for Calvin Klein runway shows, Page told Vogue, "My default look for Calvin Klein was a healthy, bare face, so I always kept the skin as clean as possible, with a minimum of foundation and rarely any powder. The skin often looked dewy, even shiny, and I'd use Vaseline on the eyelids and a dab of sheer rose or soft red lipstick for a trace of color on the cheeks and sometimes the bridge of the nose." ​​


The nineties were a plucky time — literally — as women grabbed their tweezers and fearlessly reduced their brows to razor-thin slivers. The wee eyebrows of the 1990s are generally regarded as a big mistake, especially for the folks who discovered that overplucking can damage hair follicles and prevent the brow hairs from regrowing. But at the time, everyone from Foxy Brown to Drew Barrymore was rocking ultra-thin arches.

We swore we'd never go back — but, flash forward to the present, and superthin brows have made a surprising comeback. According to makeup artist Kali Kennedy, this trend has undergone a major evolution since the nineties. "The previous skinny brow seemed less intentional and almost had an accidental shape, but the new, modern skinny brow is sleek and symmetrical," Kennedy told HuffPost. For those who want to embark on an updated skinny brow journey, brow expert Jared Bailey suggests, "Always rely on the skills of a pro, so there's no permanent damage made to the hair follicle."


In the early 1990s, makeup lovers were obsessed with dark lip liner. To achieve the look, you'd apply a rim of brown liner over a much lighter lipstick shade or a gloss. When this trend hit the mainstream, some considered it to be avant-garde. However, dark lip liner had actually originated years earlier in Black and Latinx communities. Decades before the existence of melanin-friendly beauty products, women of color took to lining their lips with brown eyeliner or eyebrow pencils. As makeup artist Sam Fine explained to Allure, "Black and brown women had to be the creators of their own beauty with so few references and tools." With help from superstars like Missy Elliott and Janet Jackson, this beauty trend eventually became a pop cultural sensation.

More recently, dark lip liner has been spotted on megastars like Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, and Camila Cabello. For a modernized version, the lip is filled in almost completely with dark liner and then meticulously blended into the lighter lip shade. "I love using a deeper lip liner and warmer shade of golden brown gloss to make this look more modern and wearable," celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek revealed to PopSugar.


The nineties gave us numerous cultural movements, but few are as timeless and special as grunge. Thanks to the meteoric success of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the subculture burst into the mainstream during the 1990s. Grunge fashion was defined by its flippant, unconventional styles: baggy denim, billowing flannels, and most importantly, thick layers of smudged eyeliner. The look was popularized by rock icons like Courtney Love, and it quickly spread. Before long, smudgy grunge-inspired makeup was embraced by superstars like Christina Applegate and Wynona Ryder. 

As a new generation of beauty enthusiasts discovers the subversive secrets of grunge style, smeared eyeliner has re-entered the spotlight. If you're itching to try this look, celebrity makeup artist Dani Kimiko Vincent says that a dark, blendable liner will do the trick. "You can even add a little gloss over the lids for an undone eye. Finish with a black volumizing mascara — and don't worry about perfect application because the look is meant to be a bit messy," Vincent told InStyle.


When it comes to nail polish colors, Chanel Nail Color in Vamp is the stuff of legends. The dark, red-black nail polish debuted on the catwalk in 1994, but it reached galactic levels of cool when it appeared on the fingers of Uma Thurman in the movie "Pulp Fiction." Vamp was also beloved by Madonna, as well as the fictitious Buffy Summers in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." With all of the frenzy around Vamp, it's no wonder that the nail polish — which now goes by the name Rogue Noir – remains a fan-favorite.

According to celebrity manicurist Jenni Draper, Vamp's enormous success is totally justified. "It was a kit must-have then and still is to this day!" Draper raved to Who What Wear. "It's such a statement colour — you mean business when you wear it. It looks incredible on everyone, all skin tones, and oozes luxury. In my opinion, it's a hard-to-beat colour, and I make sure I have bottles of it in my kit at all times." ​​


Fashionistas of the mid-nineties set their sights on dark, matte lip shades. Mauve, brown, and burgundy kissers were all on the menu for this edgy makeup trend. For maximum drama, deep red lips — otherwise known as bitten-red lips — were also in demand. With the help of nineties bombshells like Aaliyah, Jennifer Aniston, and Angelina Jolie, dark lip shades became a mainstay of the decade.

Given their sultry appeal, it's no surprise that dark lip shades are having a modern-day revival. Vampy lips are the essence of chic, and they can also add fullness and definition to your pucker. Dark lip shades work best on lips that are freshly exfoliated, moisturized, and primed. For maximum staying power, try filling in your entire lip with liner, and then add a finishing layer of lipstick. According to celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, dark lips are a standout look, so it's best to keep it simple with the rest of your makeup. "The trick for keeping a dark lip modern is pairing it with natural eye makeup and clean, dewy skin," Dedivanovic told Glamour.


If the phrase "spider lashes" gives you a creepy-crawly feeling, let us assure you that there is nothing unpleasant about this nineties trend. Picture a pair of long lashes with strands so perfectly clustered together that they create a glorious, feathery fan around the eyes. In the late nineties, makeup lovers couldn't resist this trend. Over the course of the decade, spider lashes were donned by the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna, and Pamela Anderson — however, supermodel Naomi Campbell was the undisputed queen of this look.

In 2018, NYU students tracked the evolution of mascara and eyeliner fads over the past century. They found that eye makeup trends are heavily influenced by cultural conditions like gender roles, economics, and self-expression — which have all changed rapidly throughout history. Jessica Barker, one of the project's co-curators, told NYU, "As with any type of fashion, approaches to cosmetics kind of ebb and flow. In some periods, people argue that makeup is oppressive to women and holds them back, but at other times it's seen as a tool for creativity and empowerment."

For those who are dying to try these arachnid-inspired lashes, we have one word for you: falsies. According to Evie Magazine, this look is easily replicated if you opt for false lashes with strands that are bunched together at the root. This look is a must-try for those who want to dial up the drama on their eye makeup.


The late 90s marked a renaissance for bubblegum pop and blessed us with artists like the Spice Girls, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. With the rise of pop princesses and swoon-worthy boy bands, makeup and fashion also soaked up some of that bubblegum sweetness. Shimmering makeup became the gold standard, and every fashionista was armed with a tube of frosted lipstick. The sweet, icy glimmer of frosted lips was an all-out obsession in the late 1990s.

If you aren't completely sold on the 90s version of this fad, we're happy to tell you that frosted lips are back and better than ever. Speaking with Glamour, makeup artist Opeyemi Adeyemo explained, "Today's lipstick for the Frosted Lips trend have newer, duo-chromed pigments that have better light reflectivity. They've also been adapted to be hydrating on lips, long-lasting, and smudge proof." For an even more modern effect, go with a layer of frosted lipstick on top of your base color.


The 1990s graced us with an edgy assortment of punk, goth, and grunge-inspired makeup trends, but there was also a softer side to this decade. When pastel eyeshadow hit the scene, makeup lovers couldn't get enough. In fact, the preferred way to wear pastel shadow was to take it all the way from the lashline to the brow. With popular colors like lavender, blue, and yellow, makeup lovers could have their pick of these petal-soft hues.

Today, pastel eyeshadow is anything but retro. Stars like Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid adore this versatile beauty trend. For an updated spin on pastel eyes, Byrdie suggests dusting the inner corners of your peepers with a subtle sweep of any pastel shade. To wear this trend like a pro, you can also try pairing pastels together with neon eyeshadow colors.

As celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek told Bustle, the secret to rocking pastel lids is a base of concealer or eye shadow primer, which will add vibrancy to the look. "Once that has set, take your pastel eyeshadow and start packing it in at the upper lash line until you've reached your desired intensity," Sesnek instructed.


A decade before Lil Mama's lip gloss was poppin', sheer lip gloss blasted onto the scene at the end of the 1990s. From catwalks to college campuses, there was a glimmering, glossy shine on just about every set of lips. It's easy to see why lip gloss was so beloved in the late 1990s. For starters, it's the ultimate product for everyday wear. And with an endless variety of styles and flavors, collecting them was half the fun.

Lip glosses of the nineties had one toxic trait: they could be quite sticky and goopy. But if you're willing to give it a chance, you'll find that lip gloss has come a long way in the last few decades. Thanks to updated formulas, modern lip glosses offer the perfect amount of sheen with none of the stick. This high-glitz, incredibly low-maintenance beauty trend is a must try for modern-day makeup enthusiasts.


As the year 2000 approached, imaginations ran wild with dreams of a space-aged future. Fashion and media embodied this futuristic fantasy, drawing inspiration from sci-fi concepts like space pods, supercomputers, and robots. Like an alien space rocket, the Y2K aesthetic had taken full flight. It was an era of shiny black clothing, rhinestones, and shoes that resembled space boots. The style of the early 2000's was popularized by artists like Blaque, TLC, and the Spice Girls, who embraced the aesthetic in their music videos and performances. But it wasn't just fashion that received a space-age glow up in 2000 — makeup also evolved with the Y2K aesthetic, and metallic eyeshadow was one of the year's top trends. Just like the sleek, sheeny clothing of the era, metallic eyeshadow helped makeup enthusiasts unleash their inner cosmonaut.

Metallic eyeshadow has a gold or silver sheen that gives it a metal-like appearance. For inspiration, think Britney Spears in her "Stronger" music video. According to Bustle, a monochrome look is the perfect way to dip your toes into wearing metallic shadow. "These pigments tend to get lost on makeup brushes, so by smudging the pigments on the eyelids, you can get a better application and they work better with our skin's natural oils," makeup artist Maya Lewis told the publication.


Where the nineties were a bit more modest, the 2000s were all about showing skin. Once it became popular to free the belly button, the waistlines on jeans started creeping to impossibly low levels. Cropped baby tees and ultra-mini skirts also had a moment during this era. And what better way to accentuate all of that skin than by slathering it with glistening trails of body glitter?

The shimmering, gloopy substance was brought to prominence by trendsetters like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton — and if it was good enough for them, then it was certainly good enough for the masses. Body glitter is a legendary relic of the early aughts. Not only could it add an instant luster to your look, but some body glitters even had delectable fragrances. The preferred method of applying body glitter was through a tube with a giant plastic ball that you'd roll across your skin. Ideally, you'd keep rolling it on until you resembled a human disco ball. The era of body glitter was truly an illuminating time to be alive.

If full-on flakes of glitter don't seem appealing to you, there are still ways to try this shimmery trend. According to Refinery 29, glistening skin is making a low-key comeback in the form of radiant sprays and creams. Plus, you can use a subtler shimmer dust to give your skin just a touch of celestial sparkle.


Nothing is more refreshing than a frosty cola on a hot summer's day, so we can't blame Lip Smacker for wanting to capture that sensation in a lip balm. It's a good thing they did, because cola-flavored Lip Smacker is now the essence of early aughts nostalgia. In 2002, nearly every purse contained a tube of this delicious lip salve.

As beauty historian Rachel Weingarten noted, cola-flavored Lip Smacker was more than a beauty trend — it was a rite of passage. "Lip Smackers were about being in a secret club with your girlfriends," Weingarten told Allure. "On some level we knew we were experimenting with the vestiges of womanhood, but in a very safe way. And the shine was shimmery enough that your friends thought you were daring, and subtle enough that you couldn't get in trouble for wearing makeup." Plus, the products brought tweens closer to their favorite celebs — like Brittany Murphy, Gwen Stefani, and Rachel Bilson — who were also enthusiastic fans of cola-flavored Lip Smacker.

These days, Lip Smacker has expanded its flavor lineup to include root beer and fruity soda, so you can still get a juicy swipe of that sweet early aughts nostalgia. However, Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker was cruelly discontinued in 2020.