This era went against all the beauty standards of the Victorian Era. Women begin to wear heavy make-up, mirroring actresses on screen. They would apply white powder on their faces and cream rouge circles on their cheeks, pluck their eyebrows very thin and then color them, and they would paint their lips very red, as well. The bob, a very short hair do, also became very popular.

1930s and 1940s

Film actresses continued to set the beauty standard for women. Long hair was popularized once again, with ringlets, waves or curls to draw attention to the length. Parted hair with soft curls falling over the shoulder became the hairstyle of the decade. Moreover, for the first time ever, tanned skin (for both women and men) became a symbolization of wealth.


Following an end to World War II, the ideal beautiful woman was a domestic housewife who looked as if chores had not taken a toll on her physical beauty. The eyes became more important in the 50s, with women wearing eye shadow, heavy eyeliner and mascara. The pale complexion was in style once again, as well as the sculpted hairdo. Women would spend countless hours in the salon to style their hair into perfectly formed curls, waves and bouffants.


Women became more entranced in receiving an education and working, which was different from the women in the 1950s who chose to work in the home sphere. The hairstyles of the 1960s brought back the 1920s bob, but there was also a desire for long, straight hair. Women contrasted dark eyes with pale lips, but in the late 1960s, most women chose not to wear makeup at all.


It was all about the hair in the 1970s. A role model who exemplified the ideal candidate for beauty was Farrah Fawcett of Charlie’s Angels. Her iconic look consisted of her long and golden locks, glowing tan skin and glossy lips. Many women soon followed suit with Fawcett’s look. However, towards the end of the so-called “hippie decade,” punk rock became the look. Crazy and spiked hair dos, vibrant-colored clothing with tie-dye patterns and facial piercings defined the physical appearance of the decade. It was all about looking free, feeling free and being free.


There were two defining looks of the 80s. Many women looked up to singers like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper for the unconventional and animated hairdo, which was very short, shaved, and even vibrantly-colored. Madonna brought back the bleached white hair that was once popular in the 18th century and Cyndi Lauper’s auburn hair was followed by many, as well. To counter these looks, the preppy style evolved, thus popularizing clean-cut hairstyles and short hair for both women and men.


As the century unfolded, so too did a new standard of beauty. This decade focused more on the body frame, as models became the inspirations for many women who wanted to be thin. Unfortunately, this standard has passed well into the new century, leading to the depression women experience when they are unhappy with their physical appearance.