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Makeup trends and icons from Cleopatra to the present day

Coco Chanel said: “If you are sad, If you are heartbroken, dress up, add more lipstick and attack”.  She was one of the women who revolutionized makeup, but definitely not the first who was, instead, the beautiful Cleopatra, with her iconic kajal and colored eye-shadows made by grinding natural materials. And while in the Middle Ages makeup was considered to be sinful, Queen Elizabeth I, covered her face with heavy white greasepaint which gave her a stern and domineering expression.  Blush became an important part of makeup between the 1600s and 1700s, with some of the most iconic women in fashion such as Marie Antoinette who, along with her famous brioches, never forgot to put a dab of rouge on her lips.

The 1920s were the years of the Flapper Girls, revolutionary in every way, even when it came to makeup, with face powder for the perfect, porcelain-white complexion, very thin eyebrows, the smokey-eye look and painted lips. Not to mention the dramatic makeup and look of Luisa Casati, who had a scandalous love affair with Gabriele D’Annunzio and was the muse who inspired artists such as Boldini, Balla and Man Ray.

In the 1930s, Max Factor, Hollywood’s most popular makeup artist, created the first foundation cream, blush was brushed upwards towards the temple for a lifted effect and lips became heart-shaped. In the 1940s, with the war spreading around the globe, makeup routine was more minimal, although no one gave up red lipstick, which became officially iconic in the 1950s with Marilyn Monroe. The famous swinging sixties were the years of Twiggy, the doe-eyed English model with thick eyelashes. In the seventies, bronzer and lip glosses were all the rage, replaced with bright lipsticks and eye shadows for a colorful and showy look in the eighties. In the 1990s, women went back to more subdued and warmer hues, with lip contouring and darker lipsticks. With the advent of the new millennium, blush is applied on cheekbones, eyebrows are thin and often tattooed, eye shadows and lipsticks are metallic.

And now? After the end of the nude look, we are enjoying a revival of colors, but pastel shades. The complexion is bright, light but three-dimensional and dotted with delicate freckles, lip contouring is back, but in a more subdued shade as compared with the 1990s.

And, above all, if you want to look fashionable, choose the makeup look that best represents your personality and be daring, because makeup is an art!