As long as there have been pageants, women have been competing on stage for various prizes using their talents, their wits, and yes — their looks. That being said, pageant styles and makeup have evolved greatly over the last 100 years, and those who want to win the most have to keep up with the current styles. Let’s take a look back through the past, shall we?

In the 1920’s, judges actually sought out hopefuls with a more natural look, and women either went for that no-makeup makeup look or forewent using products altogether. The idea was that the winners of pageants should be wholesome and beautiful all on their own. Things took quite a turn in the 1930’s as lipstick sales soared, and hopefuls started wearing much more makeup. The look to aim for was “refined and bold,” with heavily shaded lids, thin brows, and a bold, dark lip. Things changed again, when, in the ’40s the brow look became thicker and the look in favor for lips became red.

Everything softened up in the ’50s and the whole look became a monochromatic pink-and-creamy dream before the ’60s rolled around and became a graphic, eye-focused look with a nude lip. In the ’70s, pageant queens became bronzed and earthy and we started seeing the feathered hair that the decade is so well-known for. The ’80s were a bold explosion of color, and every single facial feature got played up on stage. The ’90s ushered in an era of soft and bright looks that eschewed the grunge of the mainstream, and the 2000’s were all about shimmer and gloss. The 2010’s? Well, nothing’s off the table now, and the look is super modern, with contouring, smoky eye makeup, and defined brows.

We’ll just have to see what comes around in the next decade.


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