Beauty’s golden oldies: the beauty trends having a strong resurgence

Nostalgia has us by the horns

Beauty Editor / July 18 2023

“That takes me straight back to when I was your age.” It was once a line from our parents that would make us wince, but nowadays, there’s no greater compliment than successfully adopting something from your mum’s glory days.

We’ve seen it repeatedly with fashion, but now more than ever we’re becoming nostalgic for past beauty trends. Instead of looking ahead for the next biggest thing, we’re seeing celebrities and experts looking back into the archives for inspiration.

Whether it’s hyper-feminine makeup inspired by the ladies of the Victorian era, a painfully ‘90s thin brow or nail polish shades we’d once written off as being dated, beauty’s golden oldies are experiencing a triumphant resurgence. Heck, even mullets are having a moment.

Here are the trends of yesteryear we think are well-deserving of their second (or third) run…

French Manicure

In case your school curriculum didn’t cover the history of the great French manicure, allow us to fill in the gaps. This natural style (best known for featuring a sheer pink base coat and thin white tips) first hit global popularity over 40 years ago. Just like the French fry, this manicure’s name is slightly deceptive, actually originating in America thanks to the founder of nail polish brand Orly, Jeff Pink.

Interestingly enough, the French Manicure (depending on which era you caught it in) has been viewed as both elegant and tacky. Throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s, the once-natural style transformed into a chunky acrylic take on the trend. Fast forward to the present and we’re all about the micro French. Instead of thick white tips being stuck on, nail artists are using thin-tipped nail art pens to draw on a delicate thin line - white, coloured or even in glitter. Très chic.


Flushed Blush

It’s hard to think of a time where flushed cheeks were on the outs. Flappers in the 1920s wore blush, as did David Bowie in the ‘70s. However, for a brief (and sad) moment in time, the pop of pink took a back seat, allowing bronzer to do its thing. And now? It’s back, baby!


Thin Brows

We thought if we didn’t acknowledge it, it would disappear. However, just as every trend has its expiry date, it seems, every trend has its resurgence; even thin brows.

If you want to dabble in the trend without doing permanent damage, bleaching the outsides to create the appearance of a thinner arch has been suggested, executed and worn (though it's hard to admit) pretty well.


Colour-Matched Foundation

Sounds like a no brainer, right? Thankfully, yeah. But let us not forget the moments in time when wearing one shade too tan or too pale were very much in fashion.

Throwing back to the 1950s where a fresh and seamless base was the rage, we’ve circled back towards the second-skin finish.

From seamlessly-matched shades of foundation to sheer skin tints, we’re honouring our natural skin.


Bob Chops

After taking a hiatus in popularity after the 1930s, celebrity hair stylist Videl Sassoon put this short style momentarily back on the map during the ‘60s. 

As for today? Well as every major beauty trend seems to begin in 2023, Hailey Bieber did it. The most influential girl in beauty committed to the chop earlier this year, and though her inspiration didn’t date back to the ‘30s, she did take creative license from Gwyneth Paltrow’s iconic character, Margot Tenanbaum.



Powder Puffs

The concept of powdering your nose is one that we closely relate to our grandparents. And while we mightn’t be stepping into a powder room as such, visit any TikTokker’s Amazon storefront and you’ll come across one very specific triangular-shaped powder puff. Designed to blur, seal, set and mattify, a quick powder touch-up will go a long way when it comes to keeping your makeup looking fresh.

Try them here: Powder Puff, $5.99 at Amazon

Not only that, but we all witnessed firsthand the power of the powder during Rihanna’s superbowl halftime performance. So yeah, we’re inclined to say powder is a beauty trend that’s having its moment, again.

Try it here: Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Instant Setting & Blotting Powder, $49 at Sephora

Side Parts

Just when you’d mastered blow drying your hair smack bang in the middle, the celebs are flicking it back over to the side: the deep, deep side.

This Y2K-inspired trend has reached Zendaya, Laura Harrier and more recently, Sofia Richie-Grainge and we don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.




Red Nails

We’re not saying neutral nails are out; we are, however, saying that crimson, burgundy, scarlet and cherry red nails are very much back. Though this ever-classic style was never cancelled as such, it did lose its top spot in favour of something a little more sheer, pink, nude or even glazed. But let’s face it, nothing brings back a manicure trend quite like a flurry of celebs jumping on the bandwagon. And with names like Zendaya, Selena and Olivia Rodrigo all painting the town red, it’s become impossible not to join them.


Ultra Femininity

Another Sophia Richie Grainge-led trend, this resurgence takes inspiration from the 19th century where women in society dressed with the intent to look as feminine as possible. We’re talking soft, romantic makeup, groomed brows and a natural lip. Think: elegant bridal makeup meets Daphne Bridgerton.



Main image credit: @patrickta, @zendaya, @nicolaannepeltzbeckham, @haileybieber, @taylor_hill

Want more great features like this? Read the rest of our digital issue.

Ruby is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor. She is the CEO of nine global corporations. Just kidding. She does however, report on the latest beauty trends, celeb skin care lines (the wonderful, the so-so and the downright unnecessary). If you're ever at a lull in conversation with her, be sure to mention anything hormonal acne or Real Housewives and you'll be set for hours.

Related tags