Trendsetting Women In Makeup History

Happy Women's History Month! As a beauty brand and real-life makeup lovers, we HAVE to discuss the iconic women throughout history who started makeup trends that still inspire millions today.  Going back in history also highlights how important and versatile makeup has been with no gender limitations, used for ceremonial reasons, for health, as a symbol of status, and of course as an artistic form of self-expression.   


1. Cleopatra

Image credit to


Although we now know that Cleopatra the extraordinary beautiful temptress was all propaganda from Romans who probably didn't want to admit a woman was smart, capable and intellectually charming. That doesn't take away from the fact that she was the original wing queen. I mean all Egyptians, regardless of gender, wore similar makeup for religious and health reasons (protection for their eyes) as well as a symbol of status. But without a doubt, Cleopatra is the most iconic face associated with the look. The Ancient Egyptian makeup trend included bold blue/green eyeshadow derived from malachite and the famous black kohl that has inspired winged eyeliner for generations. 


Try the look with The Holy Grail Liner


2. Marie Antoinette

Image credit


The infamous Marie Antoinette was renowned for her beauty, style and unfortunately her frivolous spending. In her defense, she wasn't allowed to do many things and her duties were very limited. Beauty became an important pass time for her. At the time makeup was used by both men and women as a status symbol, as a fashion statement and to conceal pock-marks for survivors of the smallpox. Makeup staples of the time included heavy white powder which contained lead 😨 , Rouge a red tint on the cheeks for a rosy flush which also contained lead 😰, and to further conceal pock-marks black velvet beauty patches cut into different shapes were placed upon the cheek near the eye or above the lip (probably the safest part of the routine). Marie Antoinette had all the free time in the world to perfect the fashion and her iconic makeup is to the date often recreated for movies and fashion.


Get a temporary beauty mark yourself with The Holy Grail Liner or one of our Glitters for a fun twist. 



3. Sada Yacco

Image from the play 'La Ghésha et le Chevalier'


We can't discuss iconic makeup without mentioning geishas and the most prominent geisha of all was Sada Yacco.  She was renowned for her modernized Japanese theatre performances around the world and became a beauty and fashion icon.  She released her very own makeup line, inspired by the color palettes popularly used by geishas which consisted of red, white and black. Geisha’s used rice powder to create a thick layer of white foundation that was brushed onto the face and neck. Charcoal was commonly used for the eyes and eyebrows, while vermillion red was used to paint the lips.  Yacco's fashion and beauty have been immortalized in artworks by artists like Picasso and beauty brands are still prominently inspired by geisha makeup today.


Try the look with The Holy Grail Liner and Red Magic Color Liner


4. Clara Bow

Image credit Hollywood Heritage Museum


Clara Bow started her acting career in the early 1920s during the silent film era and was one of the few actresses who successfully transition into the talkies. Her role in the film It helped establish her as the "It Girl" of her time and became the symbol of the "perfect" flapper. The 1920s were a time of liberation from outdated traditions and limitations on women's fashion. Flappers like Clara Bow broke norms like wearing dresses that showed more skin than traditionally,  made it fashionable to wear men's clothing and broke the norm by embracing bold makeup looks. Well-defined cupid bow lips, dark heavy eyeshadow with tons of mascara and downward statement eyebrows was the "It" look of the roaring '20s and what made Bow one of the most famous faces of the decade.  


Try the look with The Holy Grail Liner


5. Jean Harlow

Image credit to color by Klimbim


The original blonde bombshell herself is none other than 1930s actress Jean Harlow. She set forth a frenzy for bleach blonde hair and pencil-thin brows for decades. The Jean Harlow look was very doll-like and mixed elements from the '20s, like the powdered face and defined deep lips. And brought on a new focus to the eyes by toning down the rouge and concentrating on the eyes with elongated flared lashes. Harlow and her makeup artist Max Factor certainly set a trend that would be emulated and inspire generations to come. 


Try the look with our Gold Collection Lashes


6. María Felix


Image credit to color by Klimbim


Before the golden age of cinema in the United States, Mexico's cinema was having their moment in the 1940s. María Felix was one of the era's outstanding stars, her beauty, style and strong personality garnered her the title of La Diva de Mexico, La Doña and María Bonita. Unlike the thin brow trend of the U.S. in the '20s and '30s, she was known for her strong fuller eyebrows. Her iconic look had a focus in her mesmerizing gaze with a cat-eye liner, long false lashes and a dark shadow blended underneath her bottom lashes. María Felix's makeup was also known for her preferred choice of red lipstick, but her beauty advice for others was to do whatever you wanted and never put yourself down for your choices because you should be the first person who believes in your beauty.  


Try the look with Gold Collection LashesLash Glue The Holy Grail liner


7. Marilyn Monroe 

Image credit Frank Powolny 1953


If Jean Harlow started the blonde bombshell trend, then Marilyn Monroe perfected it by the 1950s (both looks were created by Max Factor himself). The '50s aren't only considered the golden age of cinema, they are also considered the golden age of makeup in the U.S. and Monroe was the golden girl. Post-war the cosmetics industry was one of the only ones that were able to stay afloat. Red lipstick became a staple for American women and a way to keep their spirits up. Marilyn Monroe's iconic makeup was created with white eyeshadow in the inner corners of her eyes, small winged eyeliner and false lashes. Her makeup focused mostly on her plump red lips with an elaborated multi-step process with five different variations of red to contour her lips to perfection.  



8. Twiggy

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The '60s was an era full of young fun energy and the fashion of the time reflected this, the skirts got shorter, the heels got higher and the makeup revolutionized all the trends from the past into an art form of their own. Twiggy becomes the first known international supermodel and the poster girl of MOD fashion. Twiggy's look consisted of white or bold color eyeshadow across the lid with a dark line above her crease. And with the focus being her doll-like eyes, she would top the look with voluminous false lashes and draw bold bottom lashes to exaggerate the look. During this time it was also popular to experiment with different colors and shapes when it came to makeup and the MOD look has definitely stood the test of time with GEN Z recreating the style today.  



9. Donna Summer

Photo credit Rex Features


The '70s were ruled by Disco and their Queen was none other than Donna Summer and she certainly represented the glam of the era. The look consisted of glistening skin, bold color eyeshadows and long dark lashes. And if you're gonna do the disco look you could not skimp on the blush and lip gloss either. The '70s weren't shy with their makeup and it was all about feeling like a star something that is definitely inspiring the makeup of today. 


Try the look with Gold Collection Lashes So Wet! gloss


10. Diana Ross

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Ok, so yes Donna Summer was the queen of disco but the '70s was a time full of fashion Queens. Diana Ross embodied the glitz of the disco era and at the same time served the doll-like look from past generations. Her makeup focused in her eyes with big bold lashes and shimmer or a pop of color and of course lip gloss was a must. 


Try the look with Gold Collection Lashes So Wet! gloss


11. Cher

Photo credit Refinery29


The overall 70's look was either natural hippie babe or full-on glittery disco, Queen Cher of course pulled off both looks spectacularly. And as her career track will show she went on to successfully reign over several other looks and eras. At the time Cher's look consisted of glowy skin, fun color eyeshadows and glitter of course! If she chose to go the natural route lip gloss was still always a staple. 


Try the look with Glitter, Eye Got You Primer & So Wet! gloss


12. Cyndi Lauper

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In the '80s girls just wanted to have fun with their hair choices, fashion ensembles and makeup! Cyndi Lauper might as well be the inventor of fun because she sure was having tons of it creating her looks. Lauper always said her technicolor makeup and chromatic looks are performance art and she certainly paved the way for larger-than-life artistic makeup for years to come. She wasn't scared to try anything and her looks always consisted of vibrant colors, graphic eyes and bold lips. She also was known to embellish her makeup with cutout geometrical shapes something that has gained popularity in TikTok today. 


Try the look with Lash GlueMagic Color Liners & Liner Brush Set


13. Grace Jones

Photo credit Jean-Paul Goude


 The '80s weren't only a time for bold makeup, they also amplified the beauty of androgyny and no woman did it better than Grace Jones. She was a disco queen, runway model, nightclub performer, fashion icon and did whatever else she pleases the limit does not exist in her world.  Grace Jones' iconic look consisted of  sharp, long dark winged eyeliner, strong cheek contour and deep-color lips. She also never shied away from color or experimenting with her eyebrows. 



14. Madonna

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We can't forget the original Material Gworl herself the Queen of Pop Madonna. The economy was booming in the '80s and the rich pigmented makeup of the time reflected this in a very fun and artistic way. Madonna of course was creating a lot of the trends some of which are still big today. Her signature look in the '80s included a variety of vibrant colors in her eyeshadow or fun graphic liner on her crease and usually blue around her eyes to emphasize her color. Madonna was also a fan of heavy black eyeliner and big voluminous lashes. For the lips, she would opt for fun neon colors or deep rich reds and burgundies. 



15. Selena 


Photo credit Capitol Latin Records


Unfortunately, the '90s were the start of the no makeup, makeup, and skinny brows came back with a force also lip gloss and glitter made an appearance (a very subtle appearance in my opinion). Thankfully, there were still women like Naomi Campbell, Drew Barrymore and La Reina de la Techno Cumbia Selena Quintanilla popularizing makeup trends that would live on for years to come. We're of course talking about the beautiful deep red and brown lipsticks and darker overlining to emphasize the appearance of plump lips. Selena also skipped the skinny brows and instead embraced and emphasized her dark brows. She was also a fan of black winged liner and flared lashes. 


Try the look with Gold Collection LashesLash Glue The Holy Grail liner


16. Gwen Stefani

Photo credit Pinterest


Gwen Stefani in the '90s was THE moment and paved the way for all the Euphoria makeup looks today. Her iconic '90s makeup was in BIG part thanks to her then boyfriend's mother, an Indian woman, who gifted Gwen with some bindis herself. Bindis are traditionally used by South Asian Women in the forehead for religious and cultural significance. Gwen has said after her then mother-in-law gifted her the bindis she chose to start wearing them as an appreciation for the Hindu culture. Then the idea to embellish her forehead or eyes with jewels grew and now has inspired a whole new generation. 


Try the look with Glitter & Eye Got You Primer or Rhinestones & Lash Glue


Which woman & era's trend inspires you the most? Who would you add to the list? And do the 2000s deserve their own list? Let us know in the comments below or chime in on Instagram or TikTok


P.S. To help you set your own makeup trends and to honor this month properly use code "herstory" at checkout for 20% off everything!

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