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How to DIY a 1960s Makeup Look—Plus, Iconic Beauty Looks from the Decade

Photo by M. McKeown / Stringer/Getty Images

The 1960s were a time of major cultural shifts, experimentation, and liberation—and those changes extended into the beauty world. The decade has also had a lasting legacy, especially when it comes to how we wear makeup. From hippie to mod, ‘60s makeup trends are just as common now as they ever were.

When celebrity makeup artist Erin Parsons thinks of the era, she thinks “Big eyes with lots of liner, fresh, natural skin, pastel lips, and huge lashes.” But the mod look translates into the 21st century, too. “I love adding a curved line in the crease with tons of mascara, keeping the skin fresh, and topping lips simply with balm,” says Parsons. “It's a fresh, modern take on the ‘60s but also feels current with the graphic eye looks featured today.” Ready to take a makeup time machine? Keep reading for a full makeup tutorial from the pro, as well as more swinging sixties makeup looks that stand the test of time.

About the Expert:

Erin Parsons is a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist.

How to Do a ‘60s-Inspired Makeup Look

Black and white portrait of English supermodel Twiggy
Michael Ochs Archives / Handout/Getty Images

When creating a ‘60s makeup look, Parsons takes inspiration from none other than iconic model Twiggy. For extra credit, “you can even actually find tutorials of her doing that famous eye she’s known for!” says the makeup artist.

1. Set your foundation. “Start by moisturizing the skin and only covering blemishes with your favorite concealer,” says Parsons, who recommends MAYBELLINE Instant Age Rewind for covering up spots.

2. Add graphic eyeliner. “Moving onto the eye, begin by adding a black eyeliner above the crease,” says the makeup artist. And don’t sweat it if you aren’t a pro with liquid eyeliner. “You can use a pencil or liquid, depending on your presence and skill level,” says Parsons.

3. Draw on the lashes. “Next, add liner to the top lash line and dip downward at the other corner,” explains Parsons. “Following this line, start to move inward towards the nose, creating the infamous ‘Twiglet lashes.’” And the pro stresses not to worry about making the look perfect—although symmetry is key. “Just make sure to add the same amount of lash lines on each side,” advises Parsons.

4. Make the eyes pop. “Curl lashes and coat with mascara, topping off with false lashes,” says the makeup pro.

5. Groom brows. “Keep brows natural but groomed by brushing into place,” says Parsons. A spoolie brush such as BILLION DOLLAR BROWS Eyebrow Brush will do the trick.

6. Complete the look with lips. “Finally, top the pout with a peachy tinted lip balm,” recommends the makeup pro. We love PIXI BEAUTY Shea Butter Lip Balm in Sweet Peach, which is nourishing and flattering on all skin tones.

Our Favorite Iconic ‘60s Makeup Looks

These retro beauty looks are the ultimate makeup (and hair, and style, and everything) inspiration.

1. Brigitte Bardot’s Cat-Eye

Old studio portrait of actress and model Brigitte Bardot
Hulton Archive / Stringer/Getty Images

Bardot’s winged eyeliner helped cement her status as the bombshell of the era. Paired with pillowy, pale lips, the style is arguably one of the most copied makeup looks to this day.

2. Eartha Kitt’s Red Lip 

Old portrait of Eartha Kitt in a red dress and gold neclace
Archive Photos / Stringer/Getty Images

The original Catwoman had cheekbones that could cut ice—and eyebrows that told you exactly what she was thinking. Add in a matte red lip, and behold: a beauty icon as well as a superhero.

3. Audrey Hepburn’s Smoky Liner

Black and white portrait of American actress Audrey Hepburn
Pictorial Parade / Staff/Getty Images

Audrey Hepburn may go down in history for her fashion sense, but her beauty looks were just as spectacular. This mod eye makeup look, complete with a hazy extended wing, would look right at home on any red carpet today.

4. Marsha Hunt’s Lashes

Black and white portrait of American pop singer Marsha Hunt
Photo by M. McKeown / Stringer/Getty Images

The actress, model, and singer’s makeup and hairstyles were iconic even at the time (as one of the stars of Hair, she was on the musical’s poster), and has carried on a legacy to this day. Case in point: Before TikTokers were painting false lashes over their under eyes, Marsha Hunt did—to stunning effect.

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About the author
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated July 5, 2021 12:00 AM