The 8 Biggest Eyeliner Trends, From The 1950s To Today

As seen on Marilyn Monroe, Diana Ross, and more.

The 8 biggest eyeliner trends, from the 1950s to today.
Getty Images/ Jon Kopaloff / Stringer

Getty Images/ Steve Granitz / Contributor

Though it’s one of the most basic beauty products, eyeliner can be used in countless ways — you don’t just have to outline your eyes. For the full rundown of the product’s versatility, celebrity makeup artist Jenna Kristina is sharing an evolution of eyeliner trends, from the 1950s to today.

Getty Images/ Sunset Boulevard / Contributor

1950s: Old Hollywood

In the 50s, the trend was to line the full eyelid, says Kristina. “Think classic Hollywood — Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe,” she tells Bustle. This was often paired with a bold lip and lengthy lashes for a glamorous makeup look.

Getty Images/ PA Images / Contributor

1960s: Under-Eye Definition

Makeup went mod in the ‘60s. “This was the decade of Twiggy-style liner along the under eye to create lashes,” says Kristina. Mascara was heavily applied, eyeliner was thinner than in the ‘50s, and stars experimented with lines in their eye creases.

Getty Images/ Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer

1970s: Disco

Then came the era of disco, and full-throttle makeup to go along with it. Kristina says eyeliner was all about drama: “The more creative, the better, with added sparkles and rhinestones,” she tells Bustle. Think Donna Summer, Blondie, and Cher.

Getty Images/ Harry Langdon / Contributor

1980s: Frosted Liner

Eyeliner became complementary to pastel shadows in the ‘80s. “Eyeliner was purple and blue, frosted, and dramatic — think Diana Ross,” says Kristina. Definition went all around the eyes for a bold, sweeping effect.

Getty Images/ Mitchell Gerber / Contributor

1990s: Smudged

In the era of over-plucked brows, eyeliner became perfectly messy. “The ‘90s featured smudged liner under the eyes — no one did it better than Kate Moss,” says Kristina. It was basically the first iteration of the smoky eye makeup look that’s still trending today.

2000s: Cat Eye

In the early aughts, Kristina says the cat eye came back in a dramatic fashion. The trend called for lining the top and bottom lashes with the signature flick extending to the side for definition — a style that can be traced all the way back to Cleopatra.

2010s: Disconnected Lines

A more modern approach to eyeliner became a major makeup trend in the 2010s. Rather than following your waterline, people — like Ariana Grande, Lucy Boynton, and Yara Shahidi — played with abstract shapes and floating liner, says Kristina.

Today: Kitten Liner

As for what’s trending now? According to Kristina, it’s all about “kitten eyeliner,” a softer take on the cat eye. “It’s a wearable smaller version that’s kept closer to the eye and not dragged across the full eyelid,” she says. Très chic.

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!