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13 Iconic ‘70s Makeup Looks for the Modern Era

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Hippies, dancing queens, and everything in between—‘70s makeup was so iconic that its remnants still live on today in sun-goddess bronzers, the iconic cut crease, pastel shadows, and graphic liners. But ‘70s style offers something deeper. It's about embracing the raw, unfiltered authenticity that defined an era. ‘70s makeup trends were all about breaking norms, where makeup became a tool for self-expression and rebellion. The aesthetic of this decade instantly conjures up a carefree spirit that’s backed by an epic soundtrack (preferably played with windows down driving cross-country). To put it simply, it’s a vibe—and the easiest way to channel that feel-good energy begins with your makeup bag. The best part? You probably already have everything you need.

Much like Diana Ross commanding the stage with her magnetism, Farrah Fawcett dazzling with her iconic hair, and Studio 54 pulsating with an electric atmosphere, the ‘70s makeup era was a stage for individuality. Imagine your makeup bag as a backstage pass to that retro era, allowing you to embody the charisma of Ross, the natural allure of Fawcett, and the glamorous intensity of Studio 54, all at once. It's not just about recreating a look; it's about tapping into the spirit that made that era legendary.

To set the mood, we tapped pro makeup artist Melissa Hernandez and model-musician (with a killer vintage collection) Devyn Severson for a series of 70s-inspired makeup looks that are equal parts groovy and wearable.

About the Expert:
Melissa Hernandez is an LA-based celeb makeup artist. Her star-studded roster spans an impressive list of editorial features and red carpet events.

1. Classic ‘70s Cut-Crease

When it comes to ‘70s makeup, bolder is definitely better—and no look is more emblematic of this era than the cut-crease. Yep, the look that’s a YouTube makeup tutorial glam staple got its start way back when—the ‘60s to be precise, but you get the idea. To differentiate this statement eye from its modern counterparts, you’ll want to adjust the shape. “Modern cut-crease eye looks are usually extended outwards towards the tail of the brow, while ‘70s cut-creases are much more rounded,” explains Hernandez. Think doe-eyed shape, rather than cat-eyed.

Get The Look:

To master the ‘70s cut-crease, embrace softer transitions between colors, opting for earthy tones or vibrant hues. It’s about framing the eyes with a playful yet sophisticated touch.According to Hernandez, the essential product for creating this look is a silky, kohl eye pencil. Everything else—eyeshadow colors, blending brushes, etc—are totally up to your personal preference. Though we highly recommend adding in a lengthening mascara or voluminous false lashes to get those mile long, feathery lashes. 

To start, prime your lids with concealer (this will help your look stay in place) and gently draw your “crease” with a kohl liner, making sure to keep it rounded. For this, we love PIXI BY PETRA Endless Silky Eye Pen in Black Caviar. Hernandez’ trick to nailing the shape is relaxing the eye and looking ahead. “Look straight into a mirror when mapping out your crease—if you tilt your head back and try to sketch a crease, it will disappear.” Make a mistake while sketching? Micellar water and a cotton swab will be your best friend. Once you’ve got the shape down, softly blend your line with a stiff blending brush for a diffused effect. Then, pat in an eyeshadow below the crease—Hernandez loves pastels for 70s-like contrast. The hard part is done! Now, define your upper and lower lash lines with the same kohl liner—opting for a kitten flick (a baby cat-eye liner) up top. Then, finish with a bit of white liner in your waterline and two-to-three coats of mascara. You’re ready for the spotlight. 

2. Sunset Lids

The shift from the vivid, psychedelic hues of the ‘60s to the ‘70s color scheme emphasizes a transition towards warmth and earthiness. Terracottas, golds, oranges, and rich browns dominated the scene, marking a departure from the exuberant neon palette. Hernandez’s rounded sunset eye mirrors this change impeccably. It embodies a mod, relaxed vibe, offering an effortlessly chic style achievable with only two shades, making it an accessible and uncomplicated choice for anyone looking to embrace the essence of the era.

Get The Look:

To get a boost of pigment payoff, add a dab of concealer to prime your lids, which will give your powder shadow an extra grippy surface and even base. Using the ZOEVA Caramel Melange Eyeshadow Palette, Hernandez prefers a flat shader brush to dip into the soft rust shade (Aftertaste), patting it onto the lids and into the crease. The key to keeping true to the decade, Hernandez says, is in the rounded shape. So with a fluffy blending brush and the apricot shade (Alchemy), use windshield wiper-like motions (from inner to outer corners of the eye) to diffuse the crease and round out the curve. Then with a small, stiff brush, apply the same Alchemy shade to the lower lash line—connecting it with the outer edge of your life. Top with copious amounts of mascara, because YOLO. 

Notice there isn’t a big focus on the lips and cheeks? Hernandez says that’s by design. “When experimenting with makeup, I recommend enhancing one feature; whether it be eyes, lips, or skin, and pair your complexion according to what the focal point is.” So to finish off the look, opt for a subdued rosy blush and nude lip. Absolute perfection. 

3. Fresh Faced

Devyn Severson in a maroon turtle neck rocking a no-makeup makeup look against maroon background

The ‘70s weren’t all glitz and glam. Simplicity and the embracing of natural features were a major development of the time—due in part to second wave feminism hitting the mainstream. Celebrating what makes you uniquewas a turning point in makeup being seen as a means of self-expression and, more importantly, a choice. Pretty cool, right?

This minimalist approach to beauty still holds strong. Today, it manifests in makeup trends like dewy, radiant skin, sheer lip colors, swipes of highlighter, and understated, neutral eyeshadows.And this fresh glow is the perfect way to amp up your natural beauty. 

Get The Look:

Keep things subdued by swapping out your go-to foundation for a base of moisturized skin and a bit of concealer under the eyes. Warm up your face with a fluffy blush brush and the PACIFICA Desert Sunset Matte Blush & Bronze, applying the rosy shade to the apples of your cheeks and bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks. Don’t forget to gently dust the bronzer over the nose, by the hairline, and on the chin for an all-over glow. This look is all about subtlety, so be sure to keep a light hand—it’s always easier to add a layer than take one off.

For the eyes, opt for a wash of warm pink (like the universally flattering MAËLLE BEAUTY Enchanted Eyeshadow Collection Single in Pink Diamond) and fluffed-up brows. Top it all off with a swipe of mascara and your fave gloss and get ready to change the world. 

4. Disco Shimmer

Devyn Severson in a room rocking a shimmery gold and matte orange eyeshadow look

On the other end of the ‘70s makeup spectrum is the dance floor. Incoming, disco makeup: shimmery shadows, glitter, metallics—there’s nothing off limits when it comes to disco glam. Severson’s golden eye pairs up unexpected hints of orange and navy that work like a charm. Cue up some Donna Summer, rock your best jumpsuit, and get the dance party started. 

Get The Look:

Since the eyes will be the prize of this look, you’ll want to keep the rest of the face lowkey. For skin, we love BEAUTYBLENDER Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation for a natural finish that holds up to whatever moves you’ll be busting. Then, a little bit of cream-based bronzer (our fave is YENSA Silk Bronzing Base and Blush) to the outer edges of your cheeks and you’ll be all set. 

For the eyes, the round shape makes its way into the mix yet again. Using the WANDER BEAUTY Wanderess Seascape Palette, pat the shade Sea Foam (a flat blending brush will help here!) onto lids and into the natural crease. Then, with the bronzy Golden Reed shade and a fluffy blending brush, create an arch shape above the crease—tapering it down and out to create a winged effect. Using a liner brush, use the blue Coastal shade to create a dramatic wing that continues along the lower lashes. For mascara, go for a formula that matches your disco mood—aka TARTE Big Ego Mascara

5. Exaggerated Cut-Crease

Devyn Severson in her room rocking an orange cut-crease eye makeup look

This exaggerated rendition of the classic Twiggy-esque crease ventures boldly into the ‘70s aesthetic. The infusion of orange and chocolate tones encapsulates the era’s essence, capturing its vibe. Embracing this distinctive eye makeup style not only pays homage to the iconic trends of the time but also reinvents them for a contemporary, fashion-forward statement.

Get The Look:

Remember the ZOEVA Caramel Melange Eyeshadow Palette from earlier? It’s back for an encore. With the same Aftertaste shade, blend with a fluffy eyeshadow brush over your lids and slightly above the crease. Keeping eyes open (this is especially helpful for those with hooded eyes), draw a thin line with a liner brush and the shade Edible Gem. Start from just above the inner corner, working slightly above the crease, then down to the outer corner and out past the tip of the brow. Soften the lines by blending out with the shade Finish Sensual. For liner, create a subtle wing and define the lower lash line with a bronze eyeliner—we love to opt for the PIXI Endless Silky Eye Pen in Bronze Beam. Add your fave mascara to top and bottom lashes (another 70s go-to) and sport a middle part for the finishing touch.

6. Flower Power

Devyn Severson in her room rocking a flower shape eye makeup look

Bring your inner flower child out to play. This whimsical, hippie-chic style serves as ideal inspo for those seeking a creative challenge and as a prelude to perfecting your festival makeup game. The mix of earthy tones, playful pastels, and a touch of ethereal shimmer creates an aura that echoes the carefree vibes of the ‘70s.

Get The Look:

The best part of this floral eye is that it’s totally up to interpretation. Use whatever shades and shapes you’re into and have fun. Start by visually mapping out each petal size, then begin to create the fill of the shape with a small, dense brush and your eyeshadow of choice. Once the basic shape of each petal is defined, follow with a liquid eyeliner to trace around each petal like a frame. For a little added flair like Severson, continue the liner from the last petal under the lower lash line—creating a tiny curl as you approach your inner corner. Finish with a swipe of lip gloss and trust that Penny Lane would be proud.

7. Graphic Glitter

Lucy Boynton rocking a graphic glittery eyeliner look
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

Who doesn’t love glitter? With different shapes of shimmery flecks, this Lucy Boynton eye (created by the amazing Jo Baker) gets a three-dimensional effect that still looks totally stylish. 

8. Pastel Shadow

Dua Lipa rocking a pastel blue eyeshadow look
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

Despite its naysayers, blue eyeshadow has somehow survived every decade. Case in point: This all-over sky blue lid on Dua Lipa that is both completely on-trend today as it would be in the ‘70s. 

9. Sheer Lips

Kerry Washington rocking a smoky eye and sheer lip makeup look
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / Stringer/Getty Images

For the most part, bold lips took a backseat in the ‘70s in favor of natural pinks and frosted finishes. Kerry Washington’s barely there lips (with just a hint of sheen) give a soft-focus effect that’s insanely romantic. 

10. Faux Sun-Kissed Skin

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley rocking a dewy bronzed, sun-kissed look
Photo by Dia Dipasupil / Staff/Getty Images

Back in the ‘70s, bronzed skin and hours spent in the sun were all the rage—we shudder at the sun damage! Thankfully, SPF is now a must-have and we’ve perfected the faux glow. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s dewy bronze is proof. 

11. Dramatic Liner

Lana Del Rey rocking a bold cat eyeliner look
Photo by Amy Sussman / Staff/Getty Images

TBH, we’re not sure if Lana Del Rey is actually human or the entire ‘70s decade shaped into a human-like being. Either way, her staple winged eyeliner simultaneously gives us life and transports us to a bygone era. 10/10.

12. Face Gems

Lupita Nyong'o rocking an orange eyeliner look studded with blue and green gemstones
Photo by Jamie McCarthy / Staff/Getty Images

Lupita Nyong’o’s orange rounded crease (if you’ve made it this far, you know this is key) and expertly-placed rhinestones give all the ‘70s vibes with an artful twist. With a look this good, you could rock sweatpants and still look like a million bucks.

13. Bold Lower Lashes

Lucy Boynton rocking a bold lower lashes look
Photo by John Lamparski / Stringer/Getty Images

Last, but certainly not least, the iconic lower lashes—as seen on the equally iconic Lucy Boynton (whose bold looks deserve two spots on our list) are about as ‘70s as it gets. Recreate the look with extra coats of mascara, faux lashes, or liquid liner strokes. 

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About the author
Hannah Cassidy
Hannah is a beauty editor at IPSY and has been creating content for fashion, beauty, and wellness in Los Angeles for over five years. Outside of the beauty world, she’s an avid vintage collector and dog mom to Pumpkin and Turtle.
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Article Last Updated November 24, 2023 12:00 AM