The Evolution of Bridal Makeup and Hair

Posted on July 14 2018

Every bride is different with their own style and personality. There are the natural makeup lovers, the full-on glam brides and some brides that request an alternative bridal looks. There are no rules when it comes to your big day, but throughout history, trends have come and gone.

In the last ten years, the biggest bridal trend has been that radiant, dewy, natural finish. Brides want to look effortlessly glowing. They want it subtle without it appearing they’re wearing makeup.

In this article, we’ll talk you through the history of bridal makeup and look at how the different makeup trends have evolved over the past 100 years.

Illustration of a bride from the 1920s

The 1910s and 1920s 

The 1910’s saw the introduction of makeup essentials such as mascara, powder and lipstick. Fashion was moving from the more functional clothing worn during WWI to more opulent looks and many brides started to include a little of these new makeup products into their look. It wasn’t until the 1920’s, brides began to experiment and the ‘flapper’ girl look blossomed. Brides tended to have classy pin-up curls with a pale complexion, red lips and pencil thin eyebrows. The more daring brides finished the look with a smokey eye. 

 A 1930s Bride

The 1930s 

In the 1930’s, the thin eyebrow was still a go-to with some woman completely shaving their eyebrows off and drawing them in with a thin pencil. The smokey, kohl eyeshadow look went out and shimmers became more popular. Brides still loved to wear a dark red or a dark pink lip for that pop of colour. The complexion was still pale with pink and white being the main underlying tones. 

 Cover of The Brides Magazine from Spring 1941

The 1940s

With World War Two dominating the 1940’s, a woman had less time to focus on their appearance and those who were married tended to opt for a more practical hair and makeup look. The drawn-on thin eyebrows were on their way out with the more natural brow coming back into fashion. The red lip, however, was still a well-loved feature. 

 Recoloured photo of 1950s bride and groom

The 1950s 

The 1950’s saw the introduction of the quiff and the beauty spot. Many Brides opted for a more voluminous hair look rather than the previous flat pin curls. The complexion of the brides tended to have a more fuller coverage than it previously had. Red lips were still very popular although some brides started to experiment with more pastel colours like peaches and pinks.  

 image of 1960s bride and groom

The 1960s

In 1960 there was a dramatic change in the use of makeup and the looks people were creating. Brides started to experiment more with shapes and colours. The more bronzed look started to come into trend and eyes were kept minimal with a pop of colour featured elsewhere on the face. 

 Bride and Groom in the 1970s

The 1970s

By 1970, the bronzed dewy look was well established. There was less focus on the hair with most brides opting for more soft and natural hairstyles. The makeup was more focused on that glow radiance with many brides also starting to wear false lashes.

Bride in the 1980s 

The 1980s

In the 1980’s the glowy looked died down a little and colour came back into the mix. Brides were becoming more and more glamorous with many wearing fuchsia/raspberry lip colours. 

 Julia Roberts in the film Steel Magnolias

The 1990s

In the 1990’s the more muted makeup came in to play with many brides wanting a very natural makeup look. By this time brides were experimenting a lot with their hair: wearing their hair very loose or completely down. 

Mehgan Markle on her wedding day

The 2000s and 2010s

The beginning of the 21st century saw the use of a lot of fake tanners and unnatural makeup, however, when it comes to their wedding day many brides want to look naturally glowing. The recent Royal Wedding featuring Meghan Markle’s extremely natural makeup look sparks the likelihood that the next trend of bridal makeup will be more natural than ever before.  


What are your favourite bridal looks? What sort of look would you go for on your wedding day? Let us know in the comments.


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