8 Old-School Beauty Trends Made Modern

Just like fashion trends, beauty trends come and go…and come back again. While we hope some will always remain buried (cough, scrunchies), many of the ghosts of hair and makeup’s past have been brought back to life to haunt the red carpet, the catwalk, and everything in between — to alluring effect.

Ahead, we’ve picked out eight of our favorite back-in-the-day beauty looks and shown you how to resurrect them for modern times. Who knew recycling could be so much fun?


Blunt Bangs

Made famous by the “Queen of Pinups,” Bettie Page’s trademark bangs came to symbolize sexuality and a timeless style that would later sprout copycats and eventually lead to the advent of clip-in bangs.

In the modern-day version, as seen on Rooney Mara, not much has changed in the cut of the bangs themselves — they should fall straight across your forehead, from temple to temple, and end right above your eyebrows. Keeping your blunt fringe wie will open up your eyes and give you a fresher look.

But, when styling, keep them soft, shiny, and not-at-all stiff. They should have a little bit of bounce — best achieved with a dollop of volumizing mousse and blow-drying with a medium round boar-bristle brush — but not look like they’ve been rolled under. 

Photos: Everett Collection/Rex USA, Jim Smeal/BEImages


Vampy Lips

The infamous dark lipstick of the late ’80s and early ‘90s had the impressive ability to make its wearers look both washed out and 10 years older (sorry, Madonna). As with any dark shade, this particular reddish brown hue can add severity, especially on someone with a fair complexion. Plus, it makes any pesky lip wrinkles even more obvious. 

Update this trend with an all-over sweep of bronzer and a touch of illuminator on cheekbones to transform your look from “vampire fanatic” to sunkissed goddess, like Camilla Belle at the Met Gala earlier this year. When experimenting with a dark lip, or bold lipsticks in general, always remember to exfoliate (flaky pouts are not hot) and to prime with a nude lip liner to keep color from feathering. Another important tip worth noting: Keep all other makeup trends to a minimum so as not to look too costume-y. That cat-eye liner look? Save it for another night. 

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages


High Ponytails

The simplest and the most loved of hairstyles, the ponytail has been embraced by everyone from high-school cheerleaders to music icons (looking good, Cher).

Make your tail stand apart from the pack by smoothing down frizz and flyways with a serum, tying it super-high, and spritzing it into place with hairspray. For the finishing touch, up the sophistication factor with a fancy add-on, like here at Jason Wu. Take a strip of your favorite textile, wrap around the base, and secure in place with bobbies. Black latex? Sure! A girlier lace? Why not! The sky’s the limit, really. 

Photos: Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images, Maria Valentino/MCV Photo


Bold Brows

Ali Macgraw’s distinctive eyebrows could have been an accidental oversight. Negligence? Minimal grooming? Whatever the case, it works. After years of over-plucking their arches into pencil-thin caterpillars, women have (finally) reverted back to the era of bolder, bushier, and as a result, more youthful-looking brows. Case in point: The stunning Lily Collins, whose arches (dare we say it) may even out-brow the great McGraw herself.

While the new rule is, the bolder the brow, the better, don’t even think about drawing yours on — they’ll look too severe and out of place. Follow your natural shape and fill in sparse areas with a powder or pencil, then brush over with a clean spoolie brush afterward, for a natural finish. If you have light hair, choose a shade that’s just a step darker. Dark hair? Go one shade lighter. 

Photos: Moviestore Collection/Rex/Rex USA, Everett Collection/Rex USA


Rimmed Eyes

Women used to believe that black liner could make their eyes look more pronounced, and while that’s true in some cases, it actually has the opposite effect when you cake it on top and bottom lash lines. It may have worked for Brigitte Bardot, but for the rest of us mere mortals, it can make eyes look small and raccoon-like. Not sexy.

Take inspiration from the makeup at Marios Schwab and break up the lines with cat-eye inspired strokes. This geometric style not only introduces drama, but widens and elongates the eyes as well. Score! 

Photos: Everett Collection/Rex USA, Maria Valentino/MCV Photo


Slicked-Back Hair

Swept-back hair can tend to look a bit old-fashioned, mostly because it harkens back to the ’50s, when women like Veronica Lake here would torture their strands into stiff, shellacked, semi-severe coiffs. So specific, right?

While we’re not a fan of helmet hair, we do like how sweeping your hair back can not only keep your hair off your face, but also showcase whatever awesome makeup you happen to be rocking. To keep it fresh and out of granny-hair territory, ditch the part and the perfect curls and go for a more futuristic wet look.

Comb mousse through damp hair from your crown to behind your ears, then blow-dry the rest of your head. Distribute a smoothing crème from roots to ends, and finish with a strong-hold hairspray for that sleek, no-budge look. Add a dime-sized drop of shine serum and a teensy bit of gel to smooth down flyaways — wayward wisps can quickly make your hair go from glam to greasy. 

Photos: Cinema Photo/Corbis, Maria Valentino/MCV Photo


Doll Eyes

If only we were all blessed with doe eyes (cue jealous glare at Liza Minnelli), but alas, that is not the case. To recreate her doll-like eyes, many women would load up the mascara on their top and bottom lashes, leading to the infamous spider fringe.

For a newer spin on this trend, take a cue from our modern-day doe-eyed idol, Zooey Deschanel. Stick a pair of falsies on your upper lash line, crimp with a curler, then coat on very-black volumizing, thickening mascara. Your incredibly full lashes are all you need to make an impact, so make sure everything else is left sweet and simple. 

Photos: Rex USA, Jim Smeal/BEImages


Blue Eyeshadow

For something so commonly reviled, blue eyeshadow has had quite the life span. Twiggy rocked a robin’s egg blue in the ’60s, and then we saw an explosion of ceruleans right on through to the early ’90s. But, despite its apparent lasting popularity, there’s a reason blue eyeshadow has such a bad reputation: a monochromatic, icy blue hue powdered on your entire lid can make your eyes look flat and dull, not to mention the fact that it’s not really that flattering of a shade.

But that doesn’t mean all blues are out — it’s just a matter of mixing up a range of options and adding dimension. Introduce some dark in the crease for depth, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try a metallic cobalt blue for an intense holographic effect (à la this futuristic eye makeup from Prabal Gurung). 

Photos: Via Portable TV, Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

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