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It’s All In The Eyes

From Ancient Egypt to Euphoria, human eyes have always had the power to hypnotise and tantalise…

…often with the help of a cheeky beauty product or two. Yes, there have been beauty hacks seemingly since the dawn of time and the allbeauty team are determined to leave no stone uncovered in the pursuit of finding out all the secrets you need to know.

If you’ve ever wanted to uncover the history of eye make-up, you’re in luck. Join allbeauty on a quest deep into the Beauty Secrets Vault – through forgotten tombs & silent movies to the swinging sixties and crystal dripping Euphoric era – to uncover all the ways eyes have hypnotised throughout the ages.

CLEOPATRA, COMING AT YA

 

According to archaeological records, the earliest instances of eye make up usage actually date back to Ancient Egypt. 

Malachite (Green) and Galena (Black) would be used to exaggerate beauty, darken eyebrows, lashes and lids. Sometimes, even obscure ingredients such as crocodile or donkey liver would be used in these concoctions.

These cosmetics would be created through grinding ingredients with animal fat with a pestle and mortar. Kept in shell containers, Kohl would be applied with a stick and was used not only to protect the eyes from sunlight and desert dust but also in religious rituals to ward off the Evil Eye – which was believed to enter through the eyes and nose. 

The use of substances such as soot and charcoal can also be seen used in Ancient Rome – look at frescoes and coins of the Era and it’s clear that the characters depicted are fond of a thickly lined eye makeup look. 

JEEPERS, CREEPERS, WHERE’D YOU GET THOSE PEEPERS

 

“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.” 
Lauren “The Look” Bacall

Although Kohl was adored by the Ancients, eye makeup took a bit of a back seat for a few centuries whilst pale complexions, beauty marks and rouge were favoured.

However, the importance of the eyes emerged once more with the advent of Hollywood.

Makeup was strictly reserved for theatre stars until the Silver Screen beckoned and working in technicolour brought in new challenges for making features pop. Mascara, eyeliner and false eyelashes became de rigueur, with the smokey eye becoming popular. Legend has it that 1930s star Marlene Dietrich actually used to mix the ash from burnt candles with vaseline to create her sultry look. Lauren Bacall became so famous for her smoulder, with her chin down and eyes up, that she was referred to as Lauren “The Look” Bacall. 

During World War II, makeup shortages became the norm but standards in glam remained. As part of the “Make Do & Mend” Era, petroleum jelly would be used to darken eyelashes – whilst powder from burnt corks would also often be used in the eye area to add a touch of definition.

GETTIN’ TWIGGY WITH IT 

 

“I used to do my own make-up. I used to have this doll that had those big eyelashes on the top and bottom, and I think I copied her when I was doing my eyes, putting false eyelashes on the bottom as well as the top. So I came up with that look myself.”  Twiggy

Can you name a bride with bigger Bambi lashes than Priscilla Presley? Her 1967 wedding to Elvis at The Pink Flamingo in Las Vegas was the epitome of Swinging 60s glam.

Move over blushing bridal no make-up make-up… This look was all about drama and showcased a dramatic winged cat eye, big false lashes as well as a cut crease. And apparently Elvis was also partial to defining his eyes with a bit of eyeliner too, thanks to some advice from Hollywood Great Tony Curtis.

Thick cut crease eye makeup, a heavy winged eye and spidery elongated lashes were the defined look of the 60s. Indeed, it was at the turn of the late 50’s & early 60s that liquid mascaras, false lashes and different eyeshadow colours came into play. 

British model Twiggy was especially famous for her doe eyes, which were heavily exaggerated by application of black and white kohl, as well as false eyelashes on the top and bottom of her eyelids.

Blue eyeshadow, made popular by Elizabeth Taylor’s depiction of Cleopatra also hit the big time – as can be seen in adverts of the era, with Revlon in particular advertising The Sphinx Look

Nowadays these looks are easy to recreate with a TikTok filter, but you can also play with a graphic liner look – try out benefit They’re Real Xtreme Precision Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Xtra Black or check out allbeauty’s Sophia Loren Get The Lash Look here.

ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

 

“For me, performance is about forgetting what I’m wearing. Just putting it on and knowing it’s right.” – Debbie Harry

The ‘80s were all about being OVERDONE. From the broad shoulder pads to the neon leg warmers, the bold and the brash were in, in. in. Icons such as Cyndi Lauper, Iman and Blondie (Debbie Harry) smouldered with eye lined looks that were so OTT, you perhaps didn’t even notice the hair crimping, perms or feathering. Which were also a thing (although, we’ve tried our best to forget). 

EYES IN THE NINETIES AND NOUGHTIES

 

“My tears dry on their own” – Amy Winehouse

Pastel blue & lavender eye-shadow (and even mascara) saw a resurgence in the 90s, with many a frosted lid being worn – when girls were not reaching for the grunge eyeliner that is.

From Cameron Diaz to Britney Spears, a look which favoured shimmer from head-to-toe (right up to the brow bone) was the definitive look of the 90s and Y2K millennium era. 

Remember the noughties? Amy Winehouse was always in the tabloids accompanied by her ballet pumps, beehive and signature cat eye liner. When MySpace reigned supreme in the 00’s, bands such as My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy made it normal for everyone from the Indie, Emo and Alternative scenes to adopt heavy eyeliner and bright coloured eye-shadow. 

2010 marked the rise of Kim Kardashian and the social influencer. According to Statista, the annual beauty-related content views jumped from 3 billion in 2009 to 169 billion views in 2018. Suddenly, makeup tutorials were never more accessible. Youtube Guru “Get Ready With Me” style videos, reviewing the latest products, started to trend. Glitter was in, whilst winged liner and mega lashes were also back.

EUPHORIA, FOREVER, ‘TIL THE END OF TIME

 

“Euphoria has harnessed the ability to convey characters’ emotions with the stroke of a brush” – Shift London

Forget frescoes, portraits or even YouTube tutorials – the medium of choice for 2022 are short-form videos in the form of Instagram Reels and TikToks. Dominating? The Crystal Dripping Euphoria aesthetic created by makeup artist Doniella Davy has taken over Catwalks and social channels everywhere.

With over 7.9 million followers on Instagram alone, it’s fair to say that the #euphoriaaesthetic is not going anywhere, with the third season rumoured to be in production for 2024. Colourful liner, graphic looks, studded crystals & pearls – the only limit to what can go on your eyes nowadays is your own imagination. 

Timely – as Elle Magazine puts it, whilst the Pandemic era hasn’t been able to offer up much in the ways of hedonistic parties, the OTT “above-mask aesthetic” is the perfect way to counter that.

Which eye trend is your favourite? Do you want blue eyeshadow to come back – or do you ever wonder what eye make-up will look like in the Metaverse? Whatever your preference, you’re sure to find a product that will make you smile all the way up to the eyes at allbeauty – shop all eye makeup here

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