The Harley Medical Group

Beauty through the ages - 1960s

During the 1960s, popular beauty and makeup trends were divided into three marked stages: the earlier part of the decade was influenced by subtle and classic makeup looks and fine tailored clothing inspired by The American First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

Next came the British led mod phase, characterised most famously by London model Twiggy (Lesley Hornby). Makeup trends changed overnight to complement the short skirts and brightly coloured clothes worn by teenagers and young women, who preferred more of a natural look, focusing heavily on the eyes. Towards the end of the 1960s, feminism largely influenced women’s roles in the world, with many turning to more casual dress styles to reflect their equality with men. As such, the chic, glamorous look which reigned during the 1950s came to a sharp halt and developed into the early hippy style.


The Woman Behind The Look

Twiggy was the inspiration of the 1960s mod style a trend which is associated with the 60s even now. The young model was a huge fan of false lashes and plenty of mascara. Her fame at the time really made the look take off among young women and teenagers wishing to rebel against the heavy makeup of their predecessors.

Twiggy’s Beauty Secrets

So what are Twiggy’s beauty secrets?

"I've done my own eye makeup since I was 14 and in my mod phase. It was a very specific look, heavy round the eyes. I’d mess about with eyeblack – a pot of solid black liner mixed with a bit of spit on the end with a fine brush."

The Twiggy-eyed look required three layers of false lashes topped with extra mascara, as well as painted in 'twig' shaped lines along the bottom lash line for a full lash effect. The model reportedly set aside 90 minutes every morning just to put on her makeup – now that's dedication!

Ever a fan of mascara, Twiggy said: "For some women, the idea of wearing make-up fills them with fear, but it’s a good way to draw attention to your best features. At the very least, mascara can open up the eyes and add depth to your face."

All About The Eyes

Makeup during the 1960s was all about the eyes. In previous decades, women had made their lips the focus of their attention but all of this changed when the mod era began. Heavy mascara and false eyelashes became the norm and created large, doll-like eyes which were offset by pale and neutral foundations. Pale pinks and whites became popular shades for lips, with some women even using their foundation to blot out some of their natural lip colour.

The first time Retro Was In

Although it had an iconic look of its own, much of the 1960s style echoed that of the 1920s, making it the first decade to embrace retro. False eyelashes became more popular than ever, the fuller the better, and the carefully applied cat eye look remained firmly rooted in the 1950s.

Key 1960s makeup styles

  • Eyes

Eyeliner and mascara were the most go-to products of the 1960s. Women also used white to line the inner corner of their eye – making it seem bigger. Jet black eyeliner was used to make eyes pop and was further accentuated by blue and brown toned eye shadows. False lashes were used on upper and lower lids to recreate a retro flapper girl look.

  • Foundation

Foundation and powder was used sparingly in comparison to the caked look of the previous decade. By the end of the 1960s, women were using a mere dab of translucent powder to set their face. Blusher was applied to the cheeks lightly and in neutral shades.

  • Lips

Pale lips were popular to keep the main focus on the eyes. Women used foundation to blot out some of their natural lip colour and preferred pale shades of lipstick.


Follow this step-by-step guide to recreate the swinging sixties look for yourself.

Learn more about iconic beauty trends in our Beauty Through The Ages infographic.


Posted July 18, 2020
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