The History of Eyeliner
Used from ancient times the eyeliner is still very popular nowadays. Cleopatra used this beauty enhancer to create a dark black line and also protect herself from the evil eye. Back then makeup was ritualized and played an important role in ones existence, and even in the afterlife. It was believed that it can bring the body closer to gods after death. The eyeliner was a must-have both for men and women not only for beauty but also to deflect light and for antibacterial purposes. They used to line the upper and the lower rims with a small stick dipped into a paste made of mineral blends and water. In Ancient Egypt kohl was also made of “galena”, or dark gray ore of lead, kept in special jars or boxes. Over the centuries the ingredients and myths have changed but the purpose remained constant.
It has become a fashion statement ever since 1920 when women became more independent and started to apply makeup more liberally.
In the 30’s the eyeliner was applied very close to the lashline. The effect was subtle and a little graphic but never thick, smudged or smoky. Louise Brooks, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Ingrid Bergman, Una Merkel, Pauline Evelyn Knapp and Eleanor Torrey Powell are some iconic women of that era. During the WWII, silk stockings were rare, so women used eyeliner to draw a black line up to the back of their legs to simulate a seam.
The 50’s brought the liquid eyeliner and invented the famous cat eye. An undeniable influence in beauty, Brigitte Bardot, made the dark eyes and light lips her signature look. Liner was used all around the eye and onto the waterline. We can't tell if this look made her famous or if she was the one that made this look popular but everybody agrees that it made her eyes look bigger, sexier and her lashes thicker.
The 60’s introduced the graphic makeup. The lines became very thick and dramatic.The winged liner and coats of mascara was made popular by the model Twiggy. Then the beauty industry decided to stay natural and use warm, nude tones for ten years. We could say that in the 70’s the eyeliner was practically inexistent. But it made its huge comeback in the 80’s. This decade brought heavily lined eyes in black and neon brights. Madonna used to wear eyeliner in abundance and suddenly everyone took this makeup trend to the max.
Claudia Schiffer, Kathy Ireland, Elle McPherson, Shania Twain, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington popularized the natural, matte skin, brown toned eyes, pretty lips and no eyeliner in the mid 90’s. But it was only for a short period of time because the soft cat eye left its mark on the 00’s and is still in vogue today.
One of the oldest forms of makeup continues its journey throughout the decades and who knows how makeup will look like in 100 years from now?