And the most iconic beauty trend of all time is... red lipstick

Red lipstick topped the list of most iconic beauty trends in a survey of British adults. ― Shutterstock pic via ETX Studio
Red lipstick topped the list of most iconic beauty trends in a survey of British adults. ― Shutterstock pic via ETX Studio

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LONDON, May 6 ― Some beauty trends come and go, but others go the distance, spanning years and even generations. It's timeless red lipstick that tops the list of the all-time most iconic beauty trends in a recent British poll ― an opinion that would no doubt be shared by women around the world.

A survey* of 2,000 British adults, commissioned by the UK shopping destination Centre:mk, looked at the most timeless beauty trends to have spanned the decades. Red lipstick ― loved by the likes of Marilyn Monroe ― takes the number one spot in this top 30 ranking of the most iconic beauty trends of all time.

Creating a balanced makeup look is often said to start with choosing between eyes and lips ― something the survey respondents struggled to do, with smokey eyes taking second place in the ranking, just ahead of false eyelashes in third place on the podium.

More surprisingly ― although the inevitable clichés about the British weather may go some way to explain it ― fake tan came in fourth place, showing enthusiasm among Brits for this beauty trend, which may not be quite such a must in other countries. Next comes winged eyeliner ― à la Amy Winehouse ― then shiny lip gloss, heavy eyeliner, full eyebrows, and Gothic black eyeshadow. Interestingly, these trends are often synonymous with heavier makeup looks, contrasting with the more natural beauty trends currently in fashion.

Beauty through the ages

Beyond this top-30 ranking, the research also reveals the changing face of beauty over the decades, as perceived by people in the UK. Respondents described beauty in the 1920s to 1950s as “classic,” while beauty in the 1960s to 1980s was classed as “colourful.” Beauty in the current decade was seen as “natural.”

Another finding is that respondents who usually wear makeup have tried an average eight beauty trends in their lifetime, including red lipstick (48 per cent), winged eyeliner (36 per cent) and smokey eyes (33 per cent) ― three of the classics. Looking specifically at products, the poll reveals that some Brits couldn't imagine living without their mascara (45 per cent), foundation (29 per cent) or lip balm (28 per cent).

Finally, pop culture has always influenced trends, especially when it comes to beauty. According to the survey, top influences from TV and film include Grease (21 per cent), Breakfast at Tiffany's (20 per cent) and Dirty Dancing (14 per cent), while the music world has influenced makeup through Amy Winehouse (25 per cent), David Bowie (22 per cent), Lady Gaga (21 per cent) and the Spice Girls (20 per cent). ― ETX Studio

* The survey was carried out by OnePoll for Centre:mk in March 2021 among 2,000 UK adults age 18 plus.

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