There’s plenty of makeup inspiration to take from decades past, but the 1950s, in particular, were great for beauty. Icons like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Dorothy Dandridge, and Lena Horne stunned in some of the now-classic makeup trends that rose to prominence during this memorable decade—such as winged eyeliner, bright blush, and bold lips and brows. Ahead, we’ve put together some of our favorite makeup looks inspired by classic beauty trends from the 1950s, which pay homage to Old Hollywood with a modern twist.
Beauty and Brows
Bold brows, liquid liner, and stunning pink lips showcase some of the very best beauty trends of the 1950s. Fill in your eyebrows with a pomade if you want to make them look darker and thicker, and brush a strong-hold gel through them to ensure they stay in place.
Flushed skin and winged eyeliner pay appropriate homage to 1950s makeup looks. If you’re looking for a modern take that’s slightly more dramatic than a classic wing, exaggerate the eyeliner. For an affordable product that will give you your dream cat eye, opt for Essence’s Superlast Eyeliner ($4).
Elevate your makeup look instantly with fluffy eyelashes that open the shape of the eyes. Highlighted skin, soft, natural blush, and lipstick come together for a look that would be ever so popular way back when.
This whole look is delightful. The skin is soft with just the right amount of blush, and the winged eyeliner takes on a modern twist with an extended bottom line. The lips are shaped with a natural pencil and filled in with slightly lighter lipstick.
Sliver of Silver
Switch up your shadow to something silver. Accompanied by liquid liner and false eyelashes, this is a version of 1950s glam that’s still very wearable today.
Full lips in both soft and bold colors were a staple of 1950s makeup, and this take is unbelievably beautiful. Paired with dramatic false eyelashes, there’s nothing we would change about any of it.
Bright pink lips and liquid eyeliner replicate popular makeup trends seen on movie starlets from the 1950s—and we can confirm that pink is never a bad idea. Find the brightest pink lipstick you can and wear it everywhere you desire—it’s as easy as that. Looking for some bold pink lipstick inspiration? Check out the Nars Lipstick in the shade Schiap ($26).
Everyone deserves a little glam in their daily lives, and this makeup look is positively elegant. From soft hues on the cheeks to bolder brows, liquid liner, and precisely shaped lips, everything about this makeup showcases just what we’ve always admired about beauty looks from the 1950s.
Mauve lips, full lashes, and bold brows highlight our favorite 1950s makeup trends. The lip color is simply divine, and we need it ASAP.
1950s Classic Elegance
Classic and elegant red lips alongside winged eyeliner is a 1950s pairing that has remained relevant for many, many years. When in doubt, this look is always a great idea for any special occasion (or just for yourself).
The eyes (and brows) have it all: The detailed arches and beautiful soft smoky shadow of this look give off effortless 1950s beauty vibes. When creating a soft smoky eye that’s wearable from day to night, shades like rust and chocolate brown are ideal and work well with any eye color.
We cannot get over how stunning Tia Mowry’s skin looks here, another beauty takeaway from the 1950s. The impeccable eyebrows and monochromatic berry eyeshadow and lipstick also have us hooked.
Blue eyeshadow was a (surprisingly) popular makeup staple in the 1950s, and we didn’t think it could get much better—until we saw it paired with red lipstick and brushed up brows in this dazzling makeup look, of course. For blue eyeshadow, check out Victoria Beckham Beauty’s Smoky Eye Brick in Royal ($56).
Metallic silver eyeshadow, red lips, and glowing skin make this look an excellent addition to your repertoire, especially for nights when you want a dressier look.
The Bold and the Beautiful
Rouge was a makeup staple in the 1950s—the bolder the blush, the better. Blush instantly adds vibrance to the skin, and this look is an example of how we can take inspo from past decades and incorporate it into whatever creative mood we’re feeling. Need some new blush? Patrick Ta Beauty’s Monochrome Moments ($32) are stunning.
Subtle and Sweet
From the liquid liner to the monochrome blush and lips, this look takes all the best 1950s beauty trends and translates them into something subtle and gorgeous for modern everyday wear.
Monochromatic makeup is timeless, and this is the perfect example of how using the same color palette on the eyes, cheeks, and lips is a win for any situation. With bold brows and voluminous lashes, we see a little ’50s and then some in this beautiful situation.
Tightly Lined and Lashed
The perfect liquid eyeliner tight line, along with a convincing set of falsies and glowing skin: We can’t think of anything else this makeup look needs, other than lots of documentation, of course. Not a fan of false lashes? Try the Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara ($24) for longer, lengthier lashes.
Retro eyeliner and blush serve 1950s makeup vibes and more. This elevated twist on the look, featuring brushed-up brows and glossy lips, is seriously gorgeous.
Sculpted and Stunning
Softly sculpted skin and cheekbones with fantastic lip and shadow colors to boot, this makeup look is worth repeating over and over. The lids are lined to perfection with liquid eyeliner, and the lashes are divine.
Neutrals are always a great idea, and natural makeup is just as in style now as it was in the 1950s. Everything works together here, from the lined lids to the nude lips and matte eyeshadow.
Red lips? Check. Amazing eyebrows? Double check. Perfect liquid liner? Infinity check. Everything about this look is incredible, but we didn’t have to tell you that.
The Eyes Have It
Soft, natural makeup looks different on everyone, yet it works so well—and that’s why we can’t stop obsessing over makeup looks like this one, which did well in the ’50s and are still popular today. For nude lips with a glossy touch, try CTZN Cosmetics’ Nudiversal Lipsticks ($25).