The Top 10 Retro Beauty Icons

step by step: recreate Retro Hair styles
Katrina Lawrence

Beauty Writer

Jan 24, 2021

Countless beauties have influenced hair and makeup trends over the years – from Cleopatra, that original beauty queen with her milk-bath-softened skin and smouldering kohl-laden lids, to the modern-day golden-haired goddess that is Gisele.

But a handful of women deserve Hall of Fame status, for their talent in hitting upon signature looks so gorgeous that they’ve become ultimate beauty classics.

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly - The Glam Slicked Back Look
Grace Kelly – The Glam Slicked Back Look

With her refined bone structure and icy-cool hair hue, the ultimate Hitchcock blonde looked every bit the Hollywood princess – she also played real-life royalty beautifully when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco.

Louise Brooks

The actress was the ultimate bob-haired flapper back in the 1920s – her sleek jet hair style was ultra-modern then, and is still striking today.

Elizabeth Taylor

We may not be able to copy her violet shade of irises (without the help of tinted contacts) but we’re obsessed about her arches, the ultimate in groomed brow perfection.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

The Breakfast at Tiffany’s star is a beloved fashion icon, but she has also had big beauty influence over the years, with many striving for her gamine features, pixie-ish hair and sharp brows.

Brigitte Bardot

Bridget Bardot - Big Sexy Hair
Bridget Bardot – Big Sexy Hair

Her sexy bedhead signature style of hair has been copied for countless catwalk shows and magazine covers, but BB also gave great smoky eyes and pouty lips.

Veronica Lake

Check out the ‘dos at any red carpet extravaganza – you’ll always see a slew of stars channelling Veronica Lake, who made side-parted waves her glamorous trademark back in the 1930s.

Farrah Fawcett

The Charlie’s Angels star indeed wore a halo, at least when it came to hair – a frenzy of feathery flicks that set the scene for the big styles of the 1980s.


The model changed the face of beauty in the 1960s, with her geometric hair styles, experimental eyeliner looks, and loads of false lashes.

Marilyn Monroe

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Ms Monroe epitomised the full-bodied feminine glamour of 1950s beauty – think a creamy complexion, fluttery lashes and ruby-red lips.

Sophia Loren

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The voluptuous Italian actress’s va-voomy style of beauty is still emulated by many today, particularly her feline-esque flicked eyeliner.

Who is your favourite retro beauty icon? Tell us in the comments below!


By Katrina Lawrence

Beauty Writer

Katrina Lawrence has specialized in beauty journalism for more than 20 years. After starting her career as the beauty and lifestyle editor of Cleo magazine, she then went on to help launch SHOP Til You Drop magazine, where she held he reins as deputy editor/beauty director for several years. Next came a freelance role, based in both New York and Sydney and writing for titles including madison, Harper’s BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan and Sunday Life and TheCarousel.com. Katrina is one of Australia’s most awarded beauty writers, having won over ten industry awards. She now lives in Paris, where she wrote the book Paris Dreaming.


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