• Paula Pace

Makeup...now and then.

I have been meaning to write up a blog or two for weeks now. But, these days I am pretty busy Home educating my son in between weddings, so I'm pretty full up writing a blog for his journey at the moment.

Every now and then, I see some inspiration, and think 'that would be good to blog about' then a distraction comes along and the idea has dropped from my brain, never to be retrieved again.

But one that comes back to me a lot, is how in the last 20 years, the makeup industry as evolved into the biggest hobby/career choice ever. I love it. .

So with all these blogs, Youtube videos, Facebook groups, InstaMakeups and more budding makeup artists than ever sharing new products everyday, it got me thinking, has it changed that much?

Certainly the style of makeup has changed, what with contouring becoming the most requested add-on to an already perfect face. But every decade, has a 'look' that defines the era. And the 2010's upwards, will go down in history books of an incredibly heavy application of makeup requested by young girls, as a 'what they wore then'.

But I'm talking about, products and tools. Nothing has really changed there. Things may be restyled, or repackaged and reformulated, but the end result is always something that was there back in the 90's, unnoticed, just doing it's thing, no big YouTube video selling it to the masses, we just made our own, or created our own method to achieve things. Here are a few things that I used to do.

Setting spray with Water?

Why would I be talking about water?

Well, water was the anchor that locked our makeup looks in place, no setting spray, - just good old water.

I would use water in my eye shadows, by wetting a brush and dipping in the shadow to create a deeper longer lasting application. I remember thinking how I had come across something so simple yet so effective at giving the eye shadow a much better application. As well as eyeshadow, I would use a dipped fine liner brush and dip it into black eyeshadow to create a black, soft eye liner across the top lid. And, after the application, a little water in a mister (avoiding the mascara - formulations were not as good as they are today) you could mist the loose powdered makeup (ever so lightly) and that too would help 'lock' application. I know some did use actual hairspray, I just didn't dare, I didn't like the way it stung me, so I wouldn't have used this method.

Eye primer

Before the staple eye primer made it's appearance to lock and intensify the eye shadow, we used concealer. A nice thick concealer, with the tiniest dusting of translucent powder, would be all it took to get a good 'base' for eye shadow application.


Whilst contouring is 'huge' right now, I do hope it goes back to the way it was. We used contouring to anti-age our older makeup ladies. Dark foundations would help sculpt away imperfections and light foundations would help lighten up dark,circles and shadows on the face. So we took some of that for our younger clients, or ourselves. We didn't need to hide and disguise. But we certainly wanted to 'pop' our cheekbones. We would use a darker blusher in the hollows of the cheek and blush over with a lighter 'pearlier' blush to highlight it. I remember Rimmel had a lovely blush set that did this.


Back in the day, if I did a makeup trial and attempted to darken someones brows, they would go crazy, and want to cancel their wedding makeup. If only I had some footage to show them the future of brows, I'm sure they would have a fit.

I had to persuade them so much that a little colour to their brows would finish the look of beautifully.We had a basic brow brush, in our makeup sets, but it was a soft, useless brush with no precision to it. So I made my own. I had a slightly harder bristled brush in my kit (I acquired in some Christmas gift set) and took a pair of hair dressing scissors and 'cut' in an angle into it. I was delighted with it and it worked perfectly at building in brows. Unfortunately, I lost my brush when someone broke into my car and stole my case. And without specific brow powders as we have today, I chose matte eye shadow's to create the brow.

If I needed to lock the brow shape in place, a little gel spray or hairspray, sprayed onto a mascara spoolie did the trick. Then brow gel became a thing. And like any makeup junkie, I had to have it, despite having the means to use something else. I guess, that allergies might play a part today and a brow gel may be more suitable.

Lip liners.

So lip liners have been around for decades, either in fashion or out. But, my memory of lip liners was interesting. I remember girls in the early 90's wearing brown or black eyeliners, to line their lips. Black eyeliner blended could give a nice shade to the lip colour, but the brown eyeliner was worn to be seen. No blending. Just brown liners framing the lips with a nude pale lip colour within.


Without a specific highlighter (most were bronze hues) to add sheen to the cheeks, you would improvise with a pearly white or pale shimmer pink eye shadow to the top of the cheeks to catch the light. Not as good as the loose shimmer powders today, but they still worked well. But when loose powders came out towards the end of the 90's , I was delighted. But not so, when I didn't put the lid back on properly and lost half of it in my kit.

So not a lot has changed in the last 20 years. I am wondering what's next in Makeup. One thing for sure is, it will always be exciting.

#makeup #histroy #bridalmakeup #tipsandtricks #90s #makeupartistry

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