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Retro Beauty: Hair & Makeup Tips

From the 1950s to the 1980s, retro styles are making a comeback.

· beauty,fashion,retro,style

Retro hair, beauty, and fashion styles are always making a comeback – whether you’re channeling your inner Bettie Page to attend a rockabilly concert and classic car show, or you’re dressing as a Madonna lookalike for a 1980’s throwback dance party. It’s fun to look back at some of the women’s fashion and beauty styles that still remain popular today. Here are a few favorites. Now, everybody strike a pose. Vogue!

1950s – Get the Look

When you think of the 1950s, you probably imagine Olivia Newton John in “Grease” with her slick ponytail, Pink Lady jacket, and that adorable poodle skirt iconic of the decade. Long waves, curls, and ponytails were certainly in fashion during the post-war era, and while good girls wore sock hop style fashion, pin-up queens like the notorious (and glamorous) Bettie Page created a style of their own.

To get the Bettie Page look, you’ll need Bettie Bangs and curls, bold red lipstick, a cute vintage dress, and high heels. For Bettie’s hairstyle, you don’t have to have bangs to achieve perfect Bettie Bangs! All you need are some Clip-In Bettie Bangs™ by Classy Rebel™, handmade with 100% human hair and available in six different colors. Use a curling iron and pins to create wavy locks. (For help, follow this video tutorial.)

For Bettie’s makeup, put Vaseline on your lips first for a sheen and cover with a dark red lipstick. Think vamp. On your face, use a light foundation for an even skin tone and add a bronzer on the apples of your cheeks to contour and highlight your cheekbones. On your eyes, start with skin-toned eyeshadow primer, and then a light shimmery eyeshadow in the corners of the eyelids, and follow up with black winged eyeliner, mascara and false lashes, and lastly, grey shadow on the lids.

Top off the look with a vintage or retro-inspired Bettie-eqsue pencil dress in black, red, or leopard print. There are many online vintage pin-up style stores that sell this type of women’s fashion, such as and Pinup Girl Clothing, with dresses (and shoes) available in a wide variety of sizes and styles.

1960s – Get the Look

The 1960s era of hippie fashion and free love can be summed up in flared jeans, bare feet, paisley shirts, flowers, a natural makeup look, and long, flowing hair. While Woodstock brought about a much simpler fashion and beauty style, the mods and rockers of the same decade presented a much different approach.

For mods, high-end fashion, bobbed hair, matte eyeshadows in pastel blues and greens, false lashes, soft red and coral lips and cheeks, and defined dark crease lines on the eyes (a la Twiggy) were popular.

There were also women who based their 1960’s fashion sense after classy celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, and the sophisticated beauty of First Lady Jackie Kennedy. These looks were made famous by skirt suits, the little black dress, pillbox hats, oversized movie star sunglasses, ballet pumps, and white ladies’ gloves.

In addition, the rockers of the era looked like The Beatles and Bob Dylan, featuring a hip underground Bohemian style.

1970s – Get the Look

The 1970s were the disco era, when celebrities like Cher and ABBA made an impact on music and fashion. Outlandish, psychedelic patterns were all the rage, as was fringe (on everything from vests and jackets to bags), sequins, embellished bell bottoms, silk metallic rompers, knee-high plastic boots, and platform heels.

1970’s-era hairstyles included the feathered cut (made popular by Farrah Fawcett of Charlie’s Angels), the bleach-blonde bob (a la Debbie Harry of Blondie fame), and the natural afro.

Meanwhile, 1970’s makeup during the day was mainly a natural, tanned, athletic look with shimmery cheeks and natural brushed eyebrows, lip stain, and shimmery eyeshadow. At night, disco makeup included bright pink lips and dramatic navy blue eyeshadow, pastel colors, and mascara.

1980s – Get the Look

By the 1980s, the days of disco had ended, giving birth to a brighter, bolder, neon-hued era. Madonna became the Queen of Pop and the quintessential Material Girl, and Cyndi Lauper emerged as the voice and face for a more alternative, experimental style, mixing patterns, colors, fabrics, and styles in crazy ways that could only make sense in the ’80s.

If you’re going for a Madonna-inspired 1980’s look, try wearing thrift store-bought tight club kid crop tops, embellished jean jackets, short skirts and leggings, lace gloves, oversized pearls and rosary necklaces, big multi-colored bangles and rubber bracelets, dangling earrings, neon eyeshadow and bright red lips.

For a Madonna-esque hairstyle, try short and permed, worn with headbands, scarfs, or hats. Top off the look with the right footwear – either zip-up ankle height heel booties or ’80s retro Reebok sneakers.

Now you’re ready to try some basic retro fashion and beauty styles. If you have any style tips or makeup and hair tutorials, please share your thoughts below!


Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

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