'70s Makeup Is Having a Moment, But This Time It's Zero Fuss

You don't need us to tell you that makeup trends come and go. In recent years, we've seen the fall of bold Instagram brows make way for wild, fluffy strands, waved adios to the sharp contouring trend that saw us waste hours on YouTube trying to perfect the chisel, and laughed a photos from yesteryear that show us sporting foundation-toned lips. Just like in fashion, beauty also has its time-defining trends.

And while makeup artists, as a rule, typically recommend sticking to timeless techniques (much like how some of the best fashion stylists around do), there is one particular time in makeup they find themselves looking back to over and over again. "I suppose we can say that '70s makeup is making a comeback, but I'm not sure it ever really went away," says makeup artist, Mira Parmar. In fact, she describes the '70s as being a truly defining time in makeup—one that championed not only the healthy-looking glow that sets the precedent for great makeup today, but also creativity and self-expression. "It was all about colour, glitter and graphic lines (things we still see today), but also skin-focussed glow and healthy radiance," she adds.


(Image credit: @HUNGVANNGO)

This year, however, '70s-inspired beauty looks are bigger than ever––just look to e.l.f's newly launched 'Good Vibes Only' collection, which pays homage to the era. No longer are we simply adopting '70s-esque techniques, but we're embodying the ethos as a whole. We're looking towards makeup that works with how we're feeling, rather than how we want to look—think fun glitters, statement liners, freckled skin, and big, bright eyes. It's officially time to take a leaf out of the '70s-girl makeup book and enjoy a sense of creative freedom.

Not sure where to start? Keep scrolling for the six most wearable (and easy) ways to wear '70s-inspired makeup.

1. Deep Blusher

Blush has fallen off the radar in recent years, with many people finding it tricky to use and even harder to pull off. But blush is back and it's easier to use than ever before. "Blush was big news in the '70s and made a statement. It's the perfect way to highlight the high points of the face and open up the complexion. The perfect blush makes your face look healthier and more glowing," says Parmar. The secret to nailing it every time? Look for a shade slightly deeper than your skin tone to mimic a sun-kissed effect and sweep it over the high points of the cheeks and over the nose.


(Image credit: @JULIESFI)

This is the perfect example of how blush can be used to 'sun stripe' the skin. Opt for a powder that has a subtle hint of glow for the ultimate summer look.


(Image credit: @FRIDACASHFLOW)

The '70s was all about apricot tones, and this blusher is ticking every box.


(Image credit: @ANAASMOOD)

Draping your blusher upward, towards the outer corners of the eyes, helps to lift the face and highlight the apples of the cheeks.

Get the Look:

2. Peachy Glow

We've already touched on the fact that apricot tones were big news in the '70s (across both fashion and makeup FYI), but really this statement applies to anything orange or brown in tone. When it came to skin, a peachy, healthy-looking tan reigned supreme. "It was all about that peachy complexion that really focused on the skin," says Parmar. And while time has taught us that sizzling in the sun is the last thing our skin wants, it couldn't be easier to mimic that sun-drenched glow with makeup. "Think about adding freckles and amplifying a dewy, fresh glow."


(Image credit: @HIMICHELLELI)

While this glitter eye look also oozes '70s glam, we're head over heels for Michelle's juicy, dewy complexion.


(Image credit: @TYLYNNNGUYEN)

While nowadays we're all about glow, matte, desert-kissed skin was also a big trend throughout the '70s. Look towards powder bronzers and freckle pens to mimic that Californian hippie vibe.


(Image credit: @SASHA.MEI)

When it comes to '70s makeup, bronzer is your best friend. For a matte, beachy finish, look for brick-toned, shimmer-free powders. However, for something more glowing like this, keep an eye out for subtle shimmers and liquid formulas.

Get the Look:

3. Graphic Liner

We've been talking about the comeback of graphic liner for a little while now. In fact, we'd go as far as saying graphic liner has appeared in seasonal beauty trend report for the past few years. And while it hasn't yet taken off in a way that has everyone stepping out the house in artistic eye looks, 2023 is the year it's finally going to stick—and the '70s makeup revival has a huge part to play in that. "You could say graphic liner is making a comeback but, to be honest, people have always been using it in moderation. Ever since the '70s, people have been adapting graphic liner to suit their needs," reveals Parmar. This year, however, it's time to let your liner speak for you. Whether you want to add some sharp points to your corners or go for something swirly, there's really no right or wrong way to apply it.


(Image credit: @CHAMPAGNEMANI)

For a subtle look, reach for an aqua blue liner and embrace negative space, applying only to the corners of your eyes.


(Image credit: @ISABELLEIKPEME)

Nothing says '70s glam quite like a gold and black eye look.


(Image credit: @THEHANGEDIT)

Make a simple graphic liner look work harder by incorporating bright shadows and playing with contrasting shades.

Get the Look:

4. Colourful Eyes

Yep, you guessed it—coloured eye looks are back. "Coloured liner was played with far and wide in the '70s, and it's made a serious comeback," says Parmar. And while graphic liners can certainly incorporate colour, you don't have to go so bold. For something easier to achieve, opt for a smoked-out hue across your lash line or even dab a bright shadow over your lid to create a low-fuss wash. 


(Image credit: @HAILEYBIEBER)

Hailey Bieber knows a thing or two about retro makeup looks and this glittery blue eye, teamed with a brown lip oozes '70s chicness.


(Image credit: @SPICY.MAYO)

If you're short on time but want to experiment with colour, simply use your fingers to dab some neon shadow into the corners of your eyes for a super-quick but cool finish.



Wet a liner brush and dab into a colourful powder shadow of your choice to create a soft liner look like this one.

Get the Look:

5. Glitter

It's time to go Studio 54 with our glitter looks. While glitter is typically reserved for festive, wintery makeup looks, the truth is, there's no reason you shouldn't reach for shimmer all year round. "Glitter was huge in the '70s. We've been seeing glitter trickle into mainstay trends more and more (partly in thanks to Euphoria), but this year it's going to be everywhere—from spring/summer through to autumn/winter," says Parmar.


(Image credit: @HUNGVANNGO)

Grey toned shadows taken up to the brown bone paired with sky-high false lashes makes for the ultimate night-out '70s makeup look.


(Image credit: @SARAH_NOVIO)

Teaming a wet-look, shimmery eye with a glitter gloss and sparkling jewellery proves there's no such thing as too much.

Get the Look:

6. Nude Liner

While the '70s was no doubt all about glamour and excess, there are certain makeup subtleties that define the era, too. "I, along with other makeup artists, love using a peach nude inside the waterline to open up the eyes. They used this technique a lot in the '70s, and it's remained an insider secret. It's a great way to open up and brighten smaller eye shapes," explains Parmar.


(Image credit: @BABSKYMAKEUP)

If you look closely, you'll spot how the nude-toned liner on Jodie Comer's waterline perfectly compliments her apricot shadow.


(Image credit: @MARYPHILLIPS)

If you're applying a warm-toned brown underneath the eye, applying a nude liner to the waterline is a great way to prevent it from shrinking the appearance of your eyes.


(Image credit: @MARYPHILLIPS)

Want to embrace '70s glam with a super-fluttery lash? Reach for the nude liner to make sure they don't create too much unwanted weight to your eye look.

Get the Look:

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Next Up: 9 Pretty Summer Makeup Looks We Can't Wait To Try This Year

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous. Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics. While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best. When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.