The Changing Image of Makeup: Then and Now


Courtesy of Elle, Marie Claire, Sephora, Byrdie, Beth Mello

As years progress, different societal trends and styles take over and influence teen choices. While vibrant colors remained a staple in the pouches of makeup enthusiasts, the choice did not please all teens. Although the colors remain the same for artists today, they continue to experiment, finding new ways to express themselves. “Just like anything else in life, makeup artistry takes time and patience. If it’s your passion, the practice should come easily and soon enough, you’ll master it,” Atlanta makeup artist Beth_mello said.

Jessica Joachim, News Editor

Over the centuries, makeup has dominated the culture of women and even men. The first accounts of makeup began with the ancient Egyptians as they used creative and sometimes dangerous methods to achieve their desired look, including berries to color lips or arsenic and mercury as ingredients in their products. Over time, the items used to alter looks developed into safer, more innovative creations. More conventional tools for makeup were popularized during the 1980s as heavy makeup application became trendy. One prominent celebrity, Paris Hilton, embodied the common look of the 90s decade—overdrawn eyeliner and heavily shaded eyelids. This look marked the national trends of the time. 

“My awareness and participation in beauty trends coincided not with Alanis Morissette and Dawson’s Creek but with the Olsen twins, Gilmore Girls, and Avril Lavigne. I’m talking thick black eyeliner, glossy pink lips, bone-straight hair, and Bath & Body Works perfume,” BYRDIE beauty editor Amanda Montell said. 

As celebrities boasted their makeup on runways and in front of cameras, fans followed, emulating their idols and investing in a trusty eyeshadow palette.

At NC, during the early 2000s, teenage girls boasted their works of arts in schools, where one student discusses her opinion of how the girls around her choose to wear their makeup.  The vibrant colors went along with trends, but with all trends, not everyone follows along. 

“Now, hues of orange and purple coat eyelids and black rings form around eyes. Teenage girls must stop looking like clowns that fell into a birthday cake and learn that less equals more. Wearing make-up is okay, just not as much as teen girls wear these days,” Niemic (2006) said. 

Young women take different approaches to the world of makeup as they appreciate the ability to transform their natural features or accentuate others, and even take the chance to skillfully complete works of art on their faces. 

“I love that makeup is a personal art form. One can be a painter, the canvas, and the art. It was once something very taboo like a person couldn’t make it known that they were wearing makeup. I love that it has evolved into…what it is today, something we all can have fun with!” Atlanta makeup artist Beth_Mello said. 

Today, teens and young makeup artists attract mass amounts of followers by using unique eyeshadow colors and matching them with unexpected combinations. Social media influencer and famous beauty blogger, Jackie Aina, released an eyeshadow palette partnered with the well-known makeup brand, Anastasia Beverly Hills. The palette features a wide array of pigmented colors, sure to stand out on any skin tone. The product garnered over a thousand reviews on Google with an almost perfect rating, displaying the high consumer demand for a diverse color sequence.
Now, even males participate in the art. Famous male makeup artists James Charles, Manny MUA, Jeffree Star and Patrick Starrr begin to literally change the face of makeup.

Historically, makeup was used by women to enhance their features and align with the typical beauty standards of society. Modern-day makeup artists give makeup a new meaning, as it now allows people to experiment with various colors and designs as they create temporary canvases and works of art.