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What 5 Decades Of Male And Female Beauty Trends Look Like On One Model

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or, you know, the credit card holder.

Throughout the decades, Western culture has cycled through a mind-blowing amount of ideas about what constitutes a “beautiful” person.

side view of woman with 60s eye makeup and bouffant

YouTube

You may have seen those time travel, “100 Years Of Fashion” videos before, but never one in which the same model poses as both man and woman — as Rain Dove does here. It's so 2016.

But, the point is doubly interesting when you consider almost every trend has been popular for both men and women at some time.

In the past, women usually focused on a look that played up one aspect of the face. Think dramatic false lashes or Lucille Ball-red lipstick. For men, we liked a look that said, “Why yes, I do produce testosterone and could probably make babies with you.” That came in the form of facial hair, scruffiness and a general “brawny man” vibe.

As time went on, however, all the trends that started as “ladies only” slowly merged into male styles. Women might've had an exclusivity claim on bouffants and buns at the turn of the century, but men caught up nearly a century later.

This particular video journey kicks off in the 1960s, when the Beatles ruled the pop culture world with their shaggy haircuts. It wasn't just dude hair getting bigger, either.

Stars like actress Brigitte Bardot taught the world the more hair, the better. Thus, the bouffant made an appearance.

side view of woman wearing 70s hair and moustache

YouTube

By the 1970s, trendsetters were too deep into the Vietnam War to worry about regular visits to the hair salon. For both men and women, long locks (think Cher performing “I Got You, Babe”) came into style.

When the 1980s rolled around, both men and women had probably gotten tired of buying hair brushes and shampoo.

side shot of woman with dramatic 80s hair and makeup

YouTube

I like to think of this period as the time when the entire US was just completely drunk. Huge hair prevailed, the kind you'd wear out to a dive bar so you'd be seen better in the dark. You'd never guess that only one decade later, we'd be a nation of mom bobs and close-cropped man hair.

So, it's only fitting that by the time the millennium rolled around, we were ready for a bit of futuristic glamour. Stars like Britney Spears popularized the whole “space-age sexy with dyed extensions” look, and the male equivalent (hair gel, and more hair gel) was just as dramatic.

side view of woman wearing gelled hair

YouTube

And today? How do Instagram culture, Snapchat filters and the whole social media deal affect our hair and beauty? Well, mostly we've seen a renewed interest in glamour for both men and women.

Ladies are all about locks that are sleek and chic, while men are getting the chance to embrace long hair once more. We've come full circle.

In the next step, I highly suggest we all just go totally bald. It would make for a change of pace, anyway.

Credit: Makeup by Brian Dean, hair extensions by RPZL and hair styling by StyleSeat.

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Emily Arata

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Emily Arata is a Women's Editor raised in the Twin Cities. She graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx and previously wrote for First We Feast. She writes about the unlikely ways in which millennials connect with one another.
Emily Arata is a Women's Editor raised in the Twin Cities. She graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx and previously wrote for First We Feast. She writes about the unlikely ways in which millennials connect with one another.

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