Eyes are the focal point of the face, so it’s unsurprising that they are often the main focus of any makeup look. But while a simple smoky eye with neutral lids and strong mascara is great for every day, there’s no limit to what you can do with your eyes. Reducing your eye makeup to its bare minimum and using highlighter only on the inner corners of your eyes is one way to keep things fresh, but recreating classic looks from history also has its benefits! These vintage eye ideas will inspire you, whatever your taste.
20s Flapper Eyeshadow
The flapper era of the 1920s was all about being bold and daring, and the makeup of the time was no exception. A simple but striking flapper eye is created by using a deep burgundy or burnt red as a base and blending it up to the crease, then dusting with a light shimmer to give it some extra oomph. Experiment with different colours to find your perfect shade. To recreate the exaggerated eyeliner of the flapper era, apply black liquid eyeliner with a brush, preferably with an angled tip. Try to apply it as close to the roots of your lashes as possible, then draw a thick line extending beyond your lash line out to the edge of your eye.
30s Bright Eyeshadow
The subtle, soft makeup of the 1930s was a reaction to the bold styles of previous decades, with bright eyeshadow being a notable exception. To create this look, choose a shimmery, light-coloured eyeshadow (yellow, purple, or gold work well) and apply it from the lashline to just below the brow. For an even bolder look, try using a metallic shade. If you want to recreate the soft look associated with this era, choose a shimmery or pearl-finish eyeshadow and apply it very lightly. For a more dramatic effect, use a bolder or metallic shade.
40s Natural Eyeshadow
The 1940s were all about glamour with a subtle hint of sophistication. To create a natural eyeshadow look, use a matte brown eyeshadow all over the eyelids. For a more dramatic effect, use a darker brown, almost black. For an even more dramatic 1940s eyeshadow look, apply a black eyeshadow all over your lids. Apply a silver or gold eyeshadow to your eyelids as a highlighter. Alternatively, you could try a 1940s smoky eyes look. To create this, apply black eyeshadow all over your lids, and extend the colour up to your crease. Blend the colour out towards your brow so that the line is softer. You can also try a brown smokey eye look, where the colour is much softer and more subtle.
50s Brown and Black Eyeshadow
The 1950s were all about glamour, but with a more natural twist. To recreate this, use a dark brown eyeshadow as a base colour, then blend a matte black eyeshadow into the crease. This creates a subtle, smouldering look that is perfect for a night out. Alternatively, you could use a black and gold combination for a more dramatic effect. For a softer 1950s eyeshadow, use a light brown eyeshadow all over your eyelids, and blend the colour into the crease. This will create a softer smoky eye that is perfect for daily wear.
60s Bright Eyeshower
The 1960s was a decade of change, and this is reflected in the bold colours and exaggerated makeup looks associated with the time. To create bright eyeshadow, choose a pink or purple eyeshadow and apply it to your entire eyelid. Alternatively, you could use a yellow or gold eyeshadow to create a more neutral look. For a 1960s eyeshadow look with a twist, apply pink or purple eyeshadow to your eyelid, then apply a silver eyeshadow to your eyelid as a highlighter. For an even bolder look, use both colours on your eyelids.
70s Bold Eyeshadow
The 1970s were a time of sexual revolution, and this is reflected in the bold makeup looks of the time. To recreate a bold eyeshadow look, apply bright pink or blue eyeshadow to your eyelids. Alternatively, you could use orange or gold for a more subtle effect. For a bolder 1970s eyeshadow look, apply a bright pink or blue eyeshadow to your eyelids. Apply purple eyeshadow as a highlighter. To create a 1970s psychedelic eyeshadow look, apply an orange or blue eyeshadow to your eyelids. Apply a pink or purple eyeshadow as a highlighter.
80s Neon Eyeshadow
The 1980s saw eyeshadow move to the forefront of many makeup looks. To create an eyeshadow look that screams 1980s, apply a bright blue eyeshadow to your eyelids, and apply a silver eyeshadow as a highlighter. Alternatively, you could use orange or purple for a more subtle effect.
90s Dark Eyeshadow and Smoky Eyes
The 1990s was a decade of change and experimentation. This is reflected in the many different makeup looks associated with the time. To create a bold 1990s eyeshadow look, apply a dark blue eyeshadow to your eyelids, and apply a silver eyeshadow as a highlighter. Alternatively, you could use purple or black for a more subtle effect.
The eyes are the window to the soul, and this is as true today as it was thousands of years ago. There are almost as many ways to decorate your eyes as there are people on the planet, and this article has hopefully given you some inspiration for your next look. Whether you want to channel your inner flapper girl, go retro, or just keep things natural, there’s a look for you out there. Keep experimenting and you’ll soon be able to do your makeup in your sleep!