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#ThrowbackThursday, Tutorials & Tips

#TBT: Iconic Beauty Looks We Still Obsess Over

While some makeup trends fade out as quickly as they arrived (white lipstick, we’re looking at you!), other looks have stood the test of time. Whether we were first introduced to a bright red lip or perfect cat eye in a classic film, music video, or commercial, our collective interest was piqued—and we’re still obsessed!

Join us for a trip down memory lane as we list 5 looks with serious staying power in the makeup industry (that probably inspired you to become a makeup artist!).

1. Madonna’s dark lips and smoky eyes

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Regardless of whether you were around in the 1980s to witness the phenomenon that was Madonna, you undoubtedly know the look she was famous for. By lining her eyes with thick eyeliner and creating a dark smoky eye, the pop star created a look that defined the decade! Ever the risk-taker, Madonna complemented her dramatic eyes with a dark lip, usually in a shade of crimson or sometimes fuchsia. The look was complete with a messy side ponytail or, depending on which part of the 1980s you choose, a short, tousled hairdo with dark roots.

We’re doubtful that a smoky eye will ever go out of style, as it is a staple in any makeup artist’s repertoire. Actually, it’s probably the most crucial skill you’ll learn in makeup artist classes! Combining that smoky eye with a dark lip is both daring and bold, which makes it a look all Madonna’s own.

2. Marilyn Monroe’s perfect red pout

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When it comes to blond bombshells, no one has ever topped Marilyn Monroe. Although she was at the height of her fame sixty years ago, she continues to reign supreme as a serious beauty icon, and we still can’t get enough!

Marilyn was famous for several different physical attributes, such as her creamy white complexion and famous beauty mark, but it was Marilyn’s bright red lips that were truly her legacy.

Never afraid of a dramatically red lip, Marilyn would actually employ several different shades and finishes to get the perfect pout. She would line, blend, and highlight the color so it looked absolutely perfect.

Let Marilyn’s fearlessness inspire you as a makeup artist, and look for a red lipstick that works with your client’s skin tone!

3. Audrey Hepburn’s thick eyebrows

One of the reasons why Audrey Hepburn was so enchanting was because she never considered herself beautiful, and she was confused as to why so many women wanted to emulate her look. Imagine that!

Well, there’s no doubt in our mind that Audrey was a beauty and makeup icon for the ages with her large, doe-like eyes, slim frame and, of course, those thick eyebrows! Audrey had serious eyebrow game. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s (when Audrey experienced the highest success in her acting career), her eyebrows changed significantly but always remained bold. She would pluck stray hairs, brush her brows in place, and then fill her eyebrows in with a small brush in a color that was close to the shade of her dark hair.

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Audrey’s big, bold brows continue to inspire us because of their versatility! Thick eyebrows work well if you wear glasses, or have dark hair. Their thickness and shape can be customized to your own face and preferences. No matter how you wear them, you’re guaranteed to make a beauty statement for the ages!

4. Kate Moss’s effortless makeup

It’s nearly impossible to think of makeup artistry and beauty in the 1990s without Kate Moss. This British-born beauty was known for her effortless makeup looks, including messy hair, winged eyeliner, and red lipstick that always seemed so natural as though no work had gone into it! We attribute Kate’s natural beauty to her glowing complexion and innate star power—her look has been described as “grunge” but we like to think of it as “gorgeous grunge”!

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In her print ads for both Calvin Klein and Levi’s in the 1990s, Kate appears to only be wearing lipstick or eyeliner with tousled hair and clean, glowing skin. This easygoing approach to makeup has inspired countless women throughout the years, and continues to do so. Who wants to look as though they put a lot of effort into their makeup?

While we’re confident that some time went into the creation of Kate’s “effortless” looks, there are some easy ways to emulate her minimalist style with these 5 looks you can create in under 5 minutes.

5. Brigitte Bardot’s cat eye

One of the most iconic makeup looks of all time (and one that all makeup artists use on a regular basis) is the cat eye, and with good reason!

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Flirty and extremely flattering, the cat eye was in its hey-day in the 1950s and 60s, due to several different actresses who wore it well like Sophia Loren and the incomparable Brigitte Bardot.

While Brigitte was blessed with large eyes and naturally thick lashes, they were taken to an entirely new level when she created a cat eye look!

Depending on your preference, choose either a liquid or gel liner to draw a thick line straight across your eyelid (emphasis here on straight line, as this will work with the natural curve of your eye and result in that coveted flick effect.)

Perfecting Brigitte’s cat eye is a challenge for any makeup artist, but it’s a look with serious staying power!

QC’s Master Makeup Artistry course explores makeup through the eras and teaches you how to duplicate celebrity looks!

Victoria is a blog writer and social media expert for QC Makeup Academy, writing in-depth articles to help emerging makeup artists grow their knowledge and experience in the industry.

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