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Lip Trends Through the Eras

lip trends through the eras

When it comes to lip trends, we’ve seen it all, with overlined lips dominating the 90s (and making a comeback in recent years) to pillar box reds establishing iconic status thanks to the likes of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Gwen Stefani. We’ve had the brief and rather questionable blue lip trend owing to Kylie Jenner, and this season, OTT lips returned to the catwalks for Dsquared2 and Vivienne Westwood.

Though lip fillers were the most searched cosmetics treatment of 2021, we see this look fizzling out in favour of a more natural beauty look and we hope that classic lipstick and liner tricks take over as a safer and more affordable alternative if not – remember plumping glosses?

Some trends stick around as beauty bible, while others are short lived attempts at changing the future of beauty. With this in mind, we wanted to delve into lip trends through the eras to see how  makeup has evolved, and the staple looks we will continue to see time and time again.

Overlined Lips:

Starlets like Clara Bow made this look a trend in the 20’s and it’s one that we see time and time again in the modern day. Whether you know of Clara or not, you’re probably familiar with the heart shaped lip trend she made famous in silent movies. These days, it’s a method used to make lips appear bigger and fuller, or to perfect the shape of your pout.

Photoshop Look:

There was a time when the over-airbrushed look was popular – women on TV and in music videos (think Blu Catrell) photoshopped so intensely they almost looked cartoon. Not only did this create an unrealistic ideal that young girls couldn’t live up to, but these very matte, very pigmented lips paired with full makeup on the rest of the face gave off a very false effect.

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Concealer Lips:

There is a trend we wish we could forget, and that is priming lips with foundation or concealer to ensure the colour applied on top lasted all day – or worse, not applying colour on top and leaving the lips to blend into the rest of the face. Perhaps a phase every young British girl went through in the 90s and 00s, but one we’re glad has been left behind.

Glossy Lips:

TV personalities such as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were major fans of the glossy lip. Dominating our screens in the 90s, glossy lips were seen across the Victoria’s Secret shows and on every scandalous magazine’s front page. While gloss is back in a big way, fruity, glittery formulas have been replaced with more sophisticated finished.

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Red Lipstick:

Red lipstick has always been iconic, from Elizabeth Arden’s mission to empower suffragettes during World War II by handing out pillar box red shades to pop culture figures you can’t imagine without this vital shade – Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Monroe and Taylor Swift are just a few. To this day, red lipstick is still associated with confidence, and we know we’re not the only ones who keep this classic shade in our handbags to take our look from day to night.

Frosted Lips:

Popular in the 60s thanks to Twiggy, this trend reared its head once more in the 00s – who didn’t have that pearlescent Nivea lip balm? Luckily, it’s yet to come back around; this look is extremely dated, and doesn’t help emphasise the fullness of lips or give the “your lips but better” look which has become the preferred result over the last decade or so.

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Lip Stains:

They may have started as nipple tints for exotic dancers, but stains quickly became favourite for the lips. Giving a subtle tint of colour that dries down so that it lasts on the skin and doesn’t smudge, they’re great for on-the-go as you don’t have to reapply often and they fade evenly. We’re so glad this natural makeup look has remained; we like to dab our lipsticks onto our lips and rub in with our fingers to create a diffused look.