Vintage Versus Modern Makeup: Differences and Similarities

Vintage vs Modern Makeup

Women are currently trying to figure out vintage versus modern makeup to recount and reestablish some cult makeup specialties. Makeup is in practice for more than 6000 years, and you’ll be amazed to discover some of the old and good makeup stuff.

Vintage makeup’s origin traces back to the 1900s and leads up to the 1970s. This 6-7 decades timeline is the foundation of the modern makeup era. Hence, the differences and similarities between vintage and modern makeup are related to cultural and professional necessities, media influence, product availability, personal choice, technological and medical advancements, etc.

Let’s get to know more about what the vintage era of makeup had for our moms and grannies and how they’ve handed down their makeup recipes to this generation.

Differences between Vintage and Modern Makeup 

Differences between Vintage and Modern Makeup

Vintage and modern makeup consist of the following differences:

ItemsVintage Makeup Modern Makeup  
SkincareWomen used to apply lemon juice on their faces or drink it to keep their skin clear and bright.Modern women now have a full range of homemade as well as commercial products to maintain their skin. Today, women can also opt for skincare treatment at clinics and hospitals.
Foundation Women used to apply the oil-based product on their faces, followed by the application of setting powder. The practice changed after the launch of ‘pan-cake makeup,’ which was light and gave the wearer a natural look.

The foundation covered most of the makeup of women in the vintage makeup era.

Today, the foundation is available in liquid, powder, stick, tinted, etc., forms. Women at present can choose the foundation from various options, such as full or partial-coverage, matte or glossy finish, moist or dry, etc.

And the foundation today is only the base canvas for the other makeup regimen to be applied.

Mascara The ancient way of mascara involved applying kohl and ointment on the eyelashes to turn them darker. The vintage era brought in the non-toxic mascara made of coal dust and petroleum jelly.

Also, the introduction of ‘cake mascara’ in the ‘20s had the game up for millions of makeup-loving women globally.

The modern era of mascara magic involves an inseparable element: Wand! If you love mascara at the present age, you’ve got to know your wand size, shape, and design to apply and achieve the perfect mascara look on your eyes.

Various mascara wands help women get the desired volume and length of mascara on their upper and lower lashes.

LipstickThe vintage lipstick used to be made of deer tallow, beeswax, and castor oil.

Most women applied lip rouge, and some products came in sticks and paper packages.

Advanced technology has fashioned modern lipstick in thermoplastic, laminated tubes, and palettes.

Now, women can conveniently choose from a range of liquid, semi-liquid, wax, etc., lipstick forms. And yes, there’s no limit to shades and colors to choose from endless palettes. The most popular lipstick currently in the makeup universe is the matte finish.

Eyeshadow The vintage eyeshadow consisted of natural ingredients, such as henna, seed oil, etc. These organic eyeshadows worked nicely to give their wearer the perfect tone.

Pale pink, golden, green, etc. shades prevailed in eyeshadow makeup during the vintage era.

Dark brown, green, purple, eggplant, and glittery shades have been the ideal eyeshadows for women in the ’90s through to the present time.

Like lipstick, eyeshadow now comes in palettes and offers a multitude of shades and colors for you to apply.

EyelinerWomen used to style their eyeliner job in heavy black shades. Back then, eyeliner was made of kohl, soot, and petroleum jelly.

Later on, eyeliners of diverse colors, such as blue, grey, purple, and brown, came into the market. Women initially applied eyeliner on the upper lashes but slowly learned to do the brush-stroke on both lashes perfectly.

The modern eyeliner makeup in the ‘90s involved thin lining on the lower lashes. But the grunge lovers did a thick round-the-eyes job.

At present, the liquid or gel eyeliner enables makeup lovers to create a cat-eye look.

Below is a 1950 versus modern pin-up makeup tutorial video by Xamia Arc:

Common Areas among the Vintage and Modern Makeup 

Women’s makeup has come a long way from the vintage to modern times, and each makeup job has evolved significantly. Still, we tried to figure out a few areas that remain common between the vintage and modern eras.

Check out the below chart:

Vintage and Modern Makeup
Similarities between the Vintage and Modern Makeup

Which One Should You Prefer: Vintage or Modern Makeup?

If you’re a professional makeup artist, the above question shouldn’t bother you, as you mustn’t limit your forte to any one of the two options. The same goes for a newbie makeup enthusiast as she requires to adhere to diverse makeup to grow her experience.

As for the non-professional and regular girls, you better have a clear idea of whether makeup is a compulsory act in your daily life. You may occasionally try out this and that, but make sure to consult any professional before opting for a typical vintage or modern makeup.

If you’re an ‘organic product’ person, remember that the good old days of natural makeup products are far gone. You will do better if you select from the modern organic makeup products, reading the product labels carefully to sort out the hazardous ingredients.

But if you’re a carefree spirit and you’re crazy about painting your face every day, then the everyday makeup should work for you. Don’t avoid modern skincare as the latest products can prove harsh on your skin due to repetitive applications.

Final Thoughts

So, that’s the snapshot of the vintage and modern makeup based on authentic sources. The takeaway for you may be the evolution of makeup over the decades.

Also, it teaches us how the contemporary world and media instigated the makeup enthusiasm in women and, conversely, how women’s emotions and enthusiasm shaped the makeup styles gradually.

Obviously, Hollywood celebrities are always up the ante with styles and makeup, but that’s their profession only. You must care about you better not go ahead of yourself while trying out the trendy makeup.

Make sure you maintain your diet, skincare, and spirit properly. Vintage or modern, you’ll be unable to portray any makeup on your face if you’re unhealthy internally.


  1. Glamour Daze – Vintage Fashion Blog.
  2. Vintagemadchen – Vintage Blog 
  3. The Evolution of Makeup – The 1990s
  4. Harpers Bazaar – 16 Beauty Trends that Sum up the 2010
  5. Cosmopolitan – 2020 Makeup Trends: 17 Looks You’re About to See Everywhere
  6. GH – 31 Vintage Makeup Trends That Are Back

Mohammad Anique

Mohammad Anique is the editor at WomenMinds who writes informative and helpful blogs on various topics, including beauty, skincare, parenting, etc. He's a bookworm, an animal lover, and an aspiring writer.

Recent Posts