Makeup Tips and Trends through the Ages: 1960s Makeup

Jealous of Jackie O’s style? Tantalised by Twiggy’s glamour? Don’t miss this fab run-down of 1960s makeup - complete with tips and tricks to get the look!

Heavily punctuated by radical social and political upheaval, the 1960s was an amazing decade. Women took their fashion and makeup inspiration from a variety of sources including the ever glamorous First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and blonde bombshell Bridget Bardot. What impact did these diversely different styles have on the makeup trends of the swinging 1960s? Let’s take a look!


1960s Makeup Trends

The 1960s were perfectly sandwiched between the classic, refined beauty of the 1950s and the gutsy, mod styles of the early 1970s. On one end of the beauty spectrum, ladies sought to emulate Jackie Kennedy’s impossible elegance with bouffant hair, pillbox hats and makeup that emphasised their natural beauty.

Conversely, others were more drawn to the edgy, rebellious nature of the Mod subculture. These women often sported stylishly short haircuts and highlighted their eyes to the extreme while downplaying the rest of the face.

And who could forget the smoulderingly sexy looks of Bridget Bardot?

No matter which beauty theory the gorgeous ladies of the 1960s prescribed to, the decade’s emphasis was placed firmly on the eyes as the traditionally trendy red lips of the ‘40s and ‘50s fell out of fashion.

Let’s take a closer look at the biggest makeup trends of the 1960s.

#1 Face

The beginning of the 1960s saw women applying pale, cream foundations for a fabulously flawless face. A typical 1960s woman would then set her foundation with liberal application of a translucent powder to create a perfect matte finish.

However, as the decade progressed, Max Factor’s iconic Pan-Cake makeup became increasingly popular. The breakthrough formula – a foundation and powder in one – was applied to the face with a damp sponge to achieve a polished but natural complexion. This “less is more” ideal reigned supreme for the rest of the decade with women avoiding the previously acceptable cakey look at all costs.

Much like today, 1960s girls relied on concealer to correct and conceal small blemishes and areas of redness.

1960s Party Makeup Tips: To emulate the 1960s face, opt for a cream to powder finish foundation. The product should glide on smoothly then transform into a micro powder that feels less heavy than a liquid or cream on your skin. If you really want to go the authentic route for your 1960s party makeup, the original formula Max Factor Pan-cake foundation is still available today! 


#2 Cheeks

Believe it or not, blush was not a must in the 1960s. Those who did want to add a gentle flush of colour to their cheeks generally opted for delicate, peachy hues. Other fashionable choices included the subtle use of soft rose and warm brown blushers. Powder was the most common formula though creams and liquid washes were also available. Blusher was applied in the shape of a narrow triangle beneath the cheekbones and in the hollows of the cheeks.

1960s Party Makeup Tips: Copy your ‘60s sisters by ditching the shimmer – 1960s blusher was almost universally matte. 

#3 Eyebrows

Eyebrow trends have undergone a dramatic transformation throughout the decades as we know from our look at the 1920s and 1940s.

In the 1960s, the en vogue look was well-groomed eyebrows, usually sculpted and defined with the use of a brow pencil. Some women chose to shave their inner brows completely only to fill them in more softly in short strokes.

1960s Party Makeup Tips: If Twiggy is your inspiration for the evening, thinner brows with just a hint of pencil for definition are the way to go. Got thick brows you’d rather not pluck? Just fill them in neatly and attend the party à la Liz Taylor. 



The eyes were at the heart of 1960s makeup. For a classic, daytime look, many women copied Jackie Kennedy’s elegant eye makeup. Light matte and pastel colours on the lid, such as pale pink and champagne shadows, were popular. However, even women who preferred this natural look frequently opted for bolder blue and green eye shadows for evening engagements. Just like today’s makeup application, a taupe or soft brown shade was used in the crease to create definition. The brow bone was also highlighted, usually with a white matte eye shadow.

Often, eyeliner was applied close to the upper lash line and along the waterline to intensify the eyes and give the illusion of longer lashes before a generous amount of mascara was applied.

Of course, this demure look didn’t suit everyone. Some girls gravitated towards the Mod style immortalised by Twiggy. To create this look, a bold white, blue or grey eye shadow was usually applied to the lid. Next, a dramatic cut crease was created by applying a dark eyes shadow or pencil liner along the crease of the eye. This resulted in a sharp, graphic-esque line that remained shamelessly unblended.

Thick, black liquid eyeliner reigned supreme on the lid while white pencil was used on the waterline to open up the eyes. Often, huge pairs of doll-like false lashes followed. Twiggy took this step even further by using liquid liner to draw in individual lower lashes for a surreal effect. This intense look was completed with a lashing of mascara.

1960s Party Makeup Tips: Keep the step-by-step 1960s eye makeup tips above in mind when creating your look. Whether you’re going natural or Mod, your eyes should be the focus of your entire look. Long lashes are a must, so don’t skip the falsies.



#5 Lips

While the women of the 1960s emphasised their eyes, lips took a backseat. Some women even applied foundation over their lips to help them blend in with the rest of the face! Those who did wear lipstick stuck to colours that wouldn’t take the focus away from their eyes, such as pale pinks, corals and very subtle reds. However, daring Mods could sometimes be seen sporting white lipstick.

1960s Party Makeup Tips: Embrace the beauty of the subtle 1960s lip with a warm, nude lipstick. For a little more pizazz, choose a metallic finish. Skip lip liner for a less defined lip shape.

#6 Nails

Like the classic red lip, the red nail polish that’d been so popular in the fifties gave way to pastel shades. Frosted and pearled pinks were common, with Mods often rocking clear or white polish. The most commonly requested nail shape was almond – a trend that continued well into the seventies.

1960s Party Nail Tips: Stick to pale colours. Frosted finishes aren’t as common in today’s nail polishes, so you might need to raid your mother’s polish stash!

Trends are circular, so it’s likely that the hottest styles of the swinging sixties will soon make a comeback. But why wait? Get ahead of the trend. With these tips and a little creativity, you can bring the most fashionable makeup styles of the 1960s back to life. Good luck!

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About the author

Bethany Tyndall

Bethany Tyndall is an enthusiastic, full-figured, Aussie beauty blogger with a passion for budget buys, DIY beauty, nail art & wild makeup ideas. Her biggest goal is to help ladies all over the world feel beautiful and confident at any size!

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