assorted color round makeup kit

Evolution of makeup trends in India

Have you ever wondered how applying makeup started? In many ways, India has been a trendsetter and has given the world loads of exciting things. There was a drastic evolution of makeup trends in India over the last century and you can use some of the things mentioned here as homemade ideas as well.
Now with all the growth and different mindset, men also do wear makeup and embrace beauty. But did you know in the ancient days itself, even men used to wear makeup along with women? This gradually changed but now it is coming back for good. Majorly for plays and movies, men apply makeup.

The most commonly used makeup products are kajal and lipstick. With so much growth in the industry, we now have access to all sorts of innovative makeup products with a wide range of shades. Recently, the biggest makeup brands started churning out shades that suit well Indian skin as well. Read more about evolution of makeup trends in India below.

You can also read about skincare blunders to avoid at all cost here.

1. Kajal/ Eyeliner

Kajal is the most widely used makeup product in India. Kajal is applied on the waterline like eyeliner and it enhances the beauty of eyes. The preparation method, decades ago used muslin rags. Prepared by dipping in a paste of sandalwood, dried and then burned in a lamp of castor oil. Kajal was also prepared using ghee.

With time people started to change and they used it on upper lash line to create more defined eyes. For easier application, liquid eyeliners came in picture. People started to experiment with looks and then came the era of winged application. If we look back now, we will know that winged liners were in trend ever since they came into existence and the hype is still high.

Following the popularity of wings, came the need for soft eye looks which demanded for brown liners. It lead to more natural looks. Makeup is all about experiments and change. It made the bold looks to make a comeback with dramatic graphic eyeliners. Coloured eyeliners are now the new trend in market.

person s eye in close up photography
Photo by JACK REDGATE on

2. Cosmetic oils

Cosmetology originated from Egypt and India. Their records dated back to 1550 B.C, to the Indus valley civilization. Season to season, the ingredients used to make the cosmetic oils differed based on their purpose to serve. Cosmetic tailams (oils) and clarified butter or ghee were used for facial beautification.

person holding clear glass bottle with red liquid
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

3. Eyebrows

We all know the brows do play a major part and they can change or affect the look to a great extent hence people started to shape them. People trim and shape their brows for attractive thin brows. They even darkened their thin brows by using eyebrow pencils.
Then high arched thin brows became the trend. The pencil created the arch shape. The trends kept on changing and slowly people started to move towards more natural shaped brows. People preferred bushier yet natural brows. Shorter strokes used to fill in the brows for a natural look. Brow brushes and brow gels are now used for defining the brows.

Then tweezers came in which was handy for people to shape their own brows. Now we have lot of options to shape the brows like threading, shaving, tweezing, waxing, etc. Back then, eyebrow waxing wasn’t even a thing.

woman s face
Photo by Gabb Tapic on

4. Blush

The ancient Egyptians were the first to incorporate blush in their beauty rituals. It took time for Indians to adapt to it. People first used crushed beetroots as a blush for those pink attractive cheeks. If you take any type of old dolls, you can notice large pink circles over the cheeks and that’s exactly the way blush was used at that time For this, reddish-pink rouges were used. Rouge is a red cream or powder. Then people started moving towards triangular shapes and it brought natural contour to the face. People later realized it is more about defining the cheeks which lead to sparing use of blush. They blended it and took it to the high points for more definition.

With time, they moved from red tints to soft shades like pinks and coral. They applied it all over the cheek bones. Trends kept on changing which included change in blush shades along with change in the way of application. Blending the blush to the hair line came into trend. Blushes were applied over chin for glow.
In 20th century, we have seen the trends of blush contouring which provided a well-structured face. People went back and preferred natural tinted cheeks. Then with the introduction of contour and bronzer, blushes were majorly used only on cheeks.
In the recent decade, shimmery blushes became a thing which was used along with bronzers. Now we have access to more varieties of blushes in various shades and forms like cream, powder, mousse, gels, etc.

crop woman looking in mirror and applying blush on face
Photo by Sergey Zhumaev on

5. Base makeup

Indians obsessed over fair skin tone and they consider it a hallmark of beauty. Some people still stick to this sick mindset but definitely needs to change. Natural skin bleaching agents lightened the skin color. Agents like costus root, sesame seeds, lebbeck leaves, etc were widely used. Fair skin one was attained with powdered lentils with honey and it was done before the application of base makeup.

People preferred heavy makeup looks. It became a trend to wear makeup in old movies as bold heavy makeup were could be seen through the black and white effects.

Natural finished looks attracted people with time. It took time for people to realize good looking skin is required rather than fair skin. Then came the decades of experimentation when makeup trends took a turn.

Matte base makeup trended and people loved it. With experimentation, prosthetic makeup got introduced which was widely welcomed in the film industry. People preferred well-contoured, highlighted base and these trends keep changing in no time. Now we have different sets of people preferring different bases like matte, dewy according to their skin types, needs, wants, etc.

6. Eye shadow

People used to apply kohl and smudge it all over the lids during the early stages of makeup. It defined and made the eyes pop. People slowly started to believe the need of more bright lids which made them to apply rouge on their lids too like in lips and cheeks. Then came the trend of golden eyes followed by introduction of bright eye shadows like blue, pink and purple.

In the recent decades, warm matte eyes trended along with thick eyeliners. We have already seen how eyeliners have evolved from the good old days.

After mattes, slowly shimmers took over the industry. Shimmers were used as eyeshadows and also as highlighters.   

Now eye makeup contribute to the major part and we get to see new trends every now and then from smokey halo, shimmers, cut crease, and a lot more.

close up photo of woman with pink eyeshadow
Photo by Amir SeilSepour on

7. Lipstick

Crushed beets were widely used as natural lip tint. Lips looked enhanced after its application. Deep berry or crimson shades emphasized the cupid’s bow which in turn defined the lips more. Then for cinema, people used golden or even gloss to enhance the lips in black and white screen. Then, pinks were preferred. After that, peaches were given importance and the eyes did all the talking.

Back then, it was all about defined lips rather than fuller lips. With introduction of silicone fillers, fuller lips became a thing and widely attracted people. It was the same time when bright glossy lips were in trend. Then reds came back to trend again along with the trend of metallic lips. Then in 80’s, neon shades popularized but they went off trend soon. In the 90’s brown were preferred.

With frequent changes in the trend, we have seen it all from ombre lips, dual toned lips which actually helped to make the lips look fuller. Nude lips became a huge thing when smokey eyes came in trend. When I say the trends change quickly, I mean it. Straight after nudes, glossy glittery lips became trend. A very recent trend includes purple lips. Now we see people pulling off all kind of shades be it nude, bright shades or even black lipstick. Makeup is all about embracing the true beauty and being confident, wild and much more.

What make up trend do you think we should have added to this website? Do let us know!

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