The worst beauty trends from over the years

Popular styles of hair and makeup have changed dramatically over the years.

In the ’50s and ’60s, for example, it was common for people to wear lipstick-drawn smiles and beehive hairstyles. But, in the following decades, thin eyebrows and bold eye makeup ruled the beauty industry.

From the ’50s through to 2019, here are some of the worst beauty trends that have become popular over the years.


In the 1950s, many women wore solid “cake mascaras” instead of liquid formulas.

Today, people who wear makeup commonly use liquid mascara that’s packaged in tubes and applied with wands. In the ’50s, however, “cake mascara” was much more popular, according to Vintage Dancer, a style website and online store created by author Debbie Sessions, who researches the history of fashion.

“Cake mascara” was typically made in the form of black or brown squares, and packaged in metal tins, according to Vintage Dancer. To apply the product, people used damp, bristled brushes to scoop the mascara from the tin and transfer it to their upper lashes.

While Bésame Cosmetics says the practice is both sanitary and environmentally friendly, modern mascara wands work just fine to evenly apply the product across every lash.


It was also common to draw lipstick in the shape of a smile during this decade.

According to Glamourdaze, a blog about vintage makeup, “non-smear” lipsticks were all the rage in the ’50s. People commonly wore the lipsticks in pastel shades, and applied them in the shape of a smile.

Many lipsticks were also made in the shape of hearts during the decade, according to AP, which made it easier to apply the product in distinct shapes. However, this innovative trend wasn’t practical – after all, it’s rare to see people wear hand-drawn smiles as part of their everyday looks today.


Facial products were applied heavily throughout the ’50s — and it wasn’t a good idea.

The ’50s was the era of the ‘mask effect,'” according to Glamourdaze. People aimed to look like Hollywood actors throughout the decade, and donned heavy amounts of liquid foundation, cream products, and loose powder.

Of course, full-coverage foundations are still popular, and a huge variety of makeup formulas now exist. But wearing heavy amounts of face products, particularly powder, can also clog pores and look cakey on the skin.

Read more: 4 foundation mistakes that could actually be making your acne worse


During the ’60s, beehive hairstyles were all the rage.

According to Cosmopolitan, the hairstyle was created by Margaret Vinci Heldt, a celebrity hairstylist from Chicago, in the ’60s. She created the look for a magazine called Modern Beauty Shop, and was inspired by a hat she wished to wear, but couldn’t make work with any style.

But as a result of its rich history, the hairstyle has become so reminiscent of the ’60s that wearing it today can look a bit like wearing a costume.


Bold makeup worn on the lower lash line was a popular yet questionable trend from the ’60s.

Those who wore makeup in the ’60s often aimed to create exaggerated eye looks, according to Blush. To achieve the look, many wore fake eyelashes on both the upper and lower lashes, or used eyeliner to draw distinct lines underneath the eye.

But because bold eye shadow, strong eyeliner, and shimmery shadows are so popular in 2019, according to the Zoe Report, there’s often no need to add extra dimension to the lower lash line.


Thin eyebrow styles were a hit throughout the ’70s.

From Donna Summer to Diana Ross, just about every celebrity donned thin, arched brows in the ’70s, according to InStyle. The look was commonly used to frame the eyes and showcase the bright and shimmery shadows that were popular at the time.

Still, the style wasn’t always flattering, and could even prevent those who had thin eyebrows from trying thicker styles and fuller shapes in the future.


Shag haircuts were desired in the ’70s, but the style is now outdated.

According to the Fire Island Pines Historical Preservation Society, a hairstylist named Paul McGregor created the shag haircut for Jane Fonda in the ’70s. It quickly became a fad, and is now known as a staple beauty trend from the decade.

However, the original boxy look of the haircut doesn’t match today’s trends. Instead, it’s been replaced by newer versions of the look, and has since been worn by stars like Taylor Swift and Meg Ryan, according to Harper’s Bazaar.


Eye-makeup trends in the 1980s were often over-the-top — like wearing eyeliner that extended towards your temples.

In a 2018 interview with Allure, makeup mogul Pat McGrath described the ’80s as “a time of extremes in fashion, makeup, and music.”

She also told the publication that the decade inspired her makeup looks for Louis Vuitton’s spring 2017 fashion show, where she sent models down the runway wearing “colorful eye makeup pulled out toward the temples in shades of purple, blue, and green.”

While the ’80s eye-makeup trend was a hit back then – and still works on modern runways – it’s often too exaggerated to wear on a daily basis. Rather than pulling eyeliner towards the temples, eye makeup today is more commonly worn just on the lids.


Another extreme trend from the ’80s involved wearing eye shadow and eyeliner that reached up to the eyebrows.

According to Refinery29, eye makeup in the 1980s often included a wash of powdery shadow extending from lash to lid.” Many, including musician Cyndi Lauper, experimented with the style during the decade.

But, while you might see similar looks appear on Instagram today, many might find the style of this eye makeup too bold to wear daily.


Many trendy hairstyles from the ’80s are now debatable.

From permed mullets to teased curls, the ’80s arguably welcomed a number of questionable hair trends. According to Good Housekeeping, two-toned styles, blonde pixie cuts, and mohawks were also popular.

Of course, hair is all about self expression. But when it comes to trends from the ’80s, it seems as though many looks required a lot of effort, and would also look outdated today.


Lip liner was just as popular as lipstick throughout the ’90s.

In the ’90s, people commonly wore lip liner in a shade darker than the color of their lips. And though the product was typically blended slightly with a clear gloss, the trend typically resulted in a distinct outline of the mouth. Today, people who use lip liner often pair it with lipstick for a more subtle look.


Many updo hairstyles from the ’90s left a few strands hanging loose.

In 2014, Cosmopolitan described the loose pieces of hair in this trendy style as “face-framing tendrils.” The look was worn in the ’90s by stars like Gwenyth Paltrow, and could be created by leaving a few loose strands of hair down while tying the rest into a bun, ponytail, or other updo.

While the style can look glamorous, it can also be pretty impractical to have strands of hair constantly waving in front of your face.


At the start of the 2000s, it seemed like everyone was wearing chunky highlights in their hair.

Throughout the beginning of the decade, people headed to the hair salon in the hopes of incorporating bright, blonde highlights into their darker hair. The result often looked chunky, as it featured contrasting streaks of color.

Highlights have yet to completely go out of style, of course, but the trend has become more subdued over the years.


People didn’t pay much attention to their eyebrows throughout the early 2000s.

According to InStyle, eyebrows “remained thin, but followed a more natural path” in the 2000s, as the decade was focused on “recovering from the tweeze-fest that was the ’90s.” Even stars like Tyra Banks and Victoria Beckham rocked the trend.

But while natural brows might have worked a decade ago, the style wouldn’t match the full-glam beauty trends that are popular today.


The 2010s have seen a lot of fake tan.

Dark spray tans became popular in the early 2000s, according to Good Housekeeping, and remained all the rage heading into the 2010s. While it’s unclear as to what kept this trend in motion, Byrdie reported that it could have something to do with the tans sported by cast members of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”

However, the look arguably isn’t as desirable in 2019, 10 years after the reality show first aired on television.


Perfect eyebrows are one of the most recent beauty trends.

As beauty tutorials became more popular on social media, a new standard was set for shaping and styling eyebrows. The Instagram-inspired technique involves eyebrows that are perfectly waxed, colored, and shaped, and often look full or drawn on.

In a 2015 interview with Allure, celebrity makeup artist Suzy Gerstein explained why the trend is typically unflattering.

“Brows are meant to be unique to each face,” Gerstein previously told Allure. “They add character and structure, and those brow shapes that look like precisely-pruned lines do neither.”

“I am all for removing the excess stragglers that do nothing for an arch, but I just think it’s important not to go overboard in a quest for the ‘perfect’ brow because it just ends up looking cookie-cutter,” she continued.