Whether or not a person is well-educated in beauty standards and the fashion-world, they know one thing; these two things have a habit of dissipating with the times and then re-emerge many years later. This is exactly what this article is about: going on a time-journey and exploring how and what was popular in the different decades. But don’t worry, we won’t be going too far back in the past, we’ll be travelling from 1980 to 2020. So let’s dive right in!
1980 to 1990 was quite a revolutionary time period, beauty and fashion-wise. Because of certain changes in society and environment, the hairstyle was out of control and bright colours and patterns were prominent everywhere as people wanted to express their opinions and emotions as vividly and loudly as possible.
Nothing can beat the amount of hairspray that had been bought at this decade because people used nothing else more than their hair to express themselves as extravagantly as they wanted. Women couldn’t but put as much volume as possible in their hair as the wavy yet thick hairstyle was very much in fashion. Men sported a rather unkempt hairstyle and grew out their arm and chest hair to go with the whole look.
Accessories were very much in and large, jewelled earrings and headpieces were worn by many women and men also wore earrings and chains of all sizes around their neck. Also, if your makeup and clothes didn’t scream “bright colours”, you couldn’t be more behind the times. It didn’t matter what a man wore, be it a suit or just a simple shirt, it had to catch someone’s eyes and possibly blind them temporarily. Women rocked various colourful eye-shadows and lipsticks to go with their equally flamboyant dresses as the “expensive look” was rather popular in that decade.
Throughout 1990 to 2000, Bollywood produced nothing but over-the-top, cheesy romantic movies and also introduced the world to Shahrukh Khan’s charm. Inspired by the looks of the actors and actresses in these films, beauty and fashion saw these changes: women wore their hair short and men grew their hair long, women explored their fashion in wearing a lot of mini-clothes and men wore flannel shirts with anything and everything.
Madhuri Dixit, Karishma Kapoor and Juhi Chawla were known as some of the prettiest and best actresses of the decade. One couldn’t get enough of Madhuri’s dance skills, Karishma’s style and Juhi’s brilliant expressions. Each of these actresses were seen to wear their hair short and puffy and thus, everyone else was inspired by their look. Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan were dominating the Bollywood industry with their films at this time period.
The audience was enamoured by Shahrukh’s charm, Akshay’s stunts and Aamir’s performance. These actors were seen to always have their hair so long that it would come above their eyes and down across their neck; which inspired many young men to do the same. Rani Mukherjee in “Kuch Kuch Hota Hain” was a very big inspiration for all the modern girls of that decade because of her fashion sense. Wearing mini skirts and crop tops was a huge thing back in the 90s. Almost every Bollywood actor in every movie would be seen wearing a flannel shirt over a t-shirt or an undergarment. It was a very masculine look that was quite popular amongst the youth of that time.
The decade of 2000 and onwards was an era where some of the greatest music of a lifetime had been produced. Along with the music videos came some new beauty and fashion standards: emo makeup and hair, a lot of denim clothes and shiny lip gloss that used to make your hair get stuck to your lips every time the wind blew by.
Avril Lavigne was considered to be a queen on pop rock and Green Day was at the peak of their musical career. The number of times that “Sk8er Boy” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” had been playing through our mp3 player is unaccounted for. Avril’s classic heavily mascara coated eye makeup and Billie Joe’s iconic spiked up emo hair was massively replicated throughout the young generation. Girls and boys couldn’t get enough of the emo and grunge look.
The 2000s also introduced some amazing pop songs from NSYNC, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and they all had one thing in common: a ton of denim outfits. Whether it be oversized jackets or low-rise jeans, denim was seen and worn everywhere. Looks like once we got the “Genie In A Bottle”, we couldn’t say “Bye Bye Bye” to the denim as it spread like a “Toxic” fume across our young minds. This decade also introduced some catchy hip-hop singles where the female lead or extras in the music videos were seen wearing sparkly lip gloss. It was almost as if the production of lipsticks had been stopped, because everyone’s lips were shining with lip gloss as they were inspired by the looks in those music videos.
From 2010 to 2020, beauty and fashion became both diverse and whole. Having a natural look with using as minimal makeup as possible or going big with dramatic shades of colour to express someone’s preferences; anything and everything was accepted in this decade.The makeup industry had never been as big of a deal in any other time than this decade because of two new trends: contour and highlight. Using a specific product to accentuate certain areas of someone’s face and using another to highlight other areas totally changed the makeup game for everyone.
Apart from that, the “natural” look was also very much popular in the beauty community, because more and more people embraced the fact that beauty is just a perception held differently by others. Tons of people went without wearing makeup outside as they don’t feel the need to look a certain way for anything. Also since the LGBTQ community have been widely accepted and in many countries gay and lesbian marriages have been legalized, a lot more people are now exploring and expressing their sexuality through makeup and fashion. If you’re a guy and you want to paint your nails or wear makeup, you can go for it. If you’re a girl and you want to wear masculine clothes, you can do so. If someone doesn’t fit to a certain gender or doesn’t conform to normal gender norms, they take on agender or androgynous looks; which is very in and popular in the fashion world.
On a side note, if one looks into the beauty regimes throughout the decades, it can be seen that some classic routines have been carried out through generations. Got a pimple problem? Pressing an ice cube down on it for a few minutes will reduce the redness and swelling. Dark circles and eye bags? Nothing beats the cucumber slice solution to that issue. Want to make your hair feel silky soft to the touch? Applying some mayonnaise and washing it off after a while will do the trick. Natural and home-made ingredients like turmeric, milk, rose water and yoghurt were holy-grails when it came to beauty regimes; from the times of our great-great-grandmothers till now. These are some of the classic beauty routines that women have been following for decades and there’s so much more to where these came from.
The voluminous hair and bright makeup from the 80s and chokers and active wear from the 90s have come back in recent times. There are so many elements that have changed and so many more have returned. It just goes to show that beauty and fashion is truly nothing more than a cycle that keeps on going in the same direction.