How to create the pretty retro pastel eye makeup look they loved back in the 60s & 70s

How to do makeup from the ’70s: Soft pastel eyes (1972)

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.


What was the retro pastel eye makeup look all about? Making the eyes look big and soft by creating a natural(-ish) look with pale eyeshadow shades and no dark, thick eyeliner to defeat the purpose.

Often, the pastel look was enhanced with noticeably long lashes, thanks to either a couple coats of mascara or false eyelashes.

Retro pastel eye makeup from 1971


Retro pastel eye makeup from Mary Quandt 1975

Pastel eyeshadow how-to from 1972 (1)

Retro pastel eye makeup how-to: The soft pastel eye (1972)

This season’s eye makeup is a shimmer of flower-and-sky colors as soft as summer twilight. With Yardley of London’s new pastel palette, makeup artist Stan Place creates three looks for different colorings without the usual black liner, brown shading or white highlighter.

One look, shown on our blue-eyed model above [and in inset below], begins with the true-to-nature shadow shades of Yardley’s Flower Brights Glimmerick watercolor compact — yellow under the brow and fading out toward the temples, pink on the center of the lid, aqua in the crease and close to the lashes.

Next, just to darken the base of the lashes, Mr Place applies Easy Liner Automatic Luminous Gel Eyeliner in soft Brook Blue. “Let your own eye shape take over,” he advises. “Don’t draw on a new one.”

His final touch: Lash-a-Lot Shiny Lash-Building Mascara in Brook Blue.

MORE: Blue eyeshadow: The good, the bad & the ugly vintage makeup

Pastel eyeshadow how-to from 1972 (2)

For green or hazel eyes, the color scheme is an interplay of greens — Yellow-Green Glimmerick on the lid, Light Green to highlight the center, and Mountain Moss liner and mascara.

For brown eyes, Mr Place blends two shades of Yardley’s Shadow Sheen Gel (from the China Brights Collection): Cinnabar Brown on the lids, Lee Chi Amber above; Birch Brown liner/mascara are accents.

Fashion and pastel makeu pfrom 1973

Pretty eyes aren’t just prettily made-up eyes. They have their sparkle insured by good health habits, and their surroundings gently cared for so that the skin stays smooth and supple.

The skin on your eyelids, unlike that on the rest of your body, is thin and delicate, containing no oil glands at all. This fragile area is dependent on you for lubrication.

During the day, under makeup or without it, be sure to wear some sort of protection against dryness. Dab a moisturizer on lids, at outer corners and along the high point of the bony dirge beneath your eyes, where lines like to collect. Blot the excess with a tissue.

MORE: The history of Q-Tips – and their original name (which would never ever work today)

Pretty pastel retro eye makeup from 1970

When it’s time to remove eye makeup, do it with anything but soap and water, which are very drying to the eyelids.

Recommended: a creamy cleanser or a special eye makeup remover. The key word is “gentle.” Apply remover with cotton or a tissue, close your eyes and gently wipe eyelids and lashes.

The traditional eye makeup removers, though a bit gloppy, are gentler and more lubricating then the newer detergent types, which are non-oily and can be rinsed off with water.

Maybelline Great Lash 1975

Retro pastel eye makeup looks from 1970

Women's fashion from 1970

Retro pastel eye makeup tips: “My eyes are dark and deep-set. What do I do with them?”

We helped Jean Day bring them out with Yardley Sigh Shadow. Here’s how we did it.

Jean’s eyes needed to be “opened up,” “drawn out.” So we chose light colors from Sigh Shadow and a two-color eye.

On her eyelids: Sigh Shadow Frosted Rainbow Yellow. A velvety brush-on that doesn’t skip. You get even, uninterrupted color. Not like others.

The rest of her eye: we blended Sigh Shadow Lavender Breeze, lid to brow.

Used Panda Black Lash-A-Lot for longer, more defined lashes. Panda Black Easy Liner for touching up of roots of lashes where mascara often misses.

Make the most of your eyes with Sigh Shadow. There are a lot of colors to choose from. Besides, there’s never ever been a better brush-on to help you.

ALSO SEE: The top vintage nail polish brands and colors from the 20th century

1972 Purple eye shadow - Yardley

Pastel retro eye makeup from 1970

Maybelline’s Great-Shadows creme formula eyeshadows (1973)

1973 Great Shadows makeup

Retro pastel eye makeup: Aziza new Silken Creme shadows

Slip on like silk, color softly: Make your eyes look big and soft with these easy-to-apply, long-lasting silky little shadows

Retro pastel eye makeup with Aziza cream eyeshadows from 1972

Four different retro ’70s makeup looks for women

Shy but not timid / Chic but not phony / Soft but self-reliant / Downright adventurous (Kim Basinger)

Vintage pastel eye makeup looks from 1975

Actual little buckets of color: Retro trendy Glimmerick Sunshine Pales eyeshadow from the ’60s

New Glimmerick sunshine pales: You get a sunshine pale. He’ll build a sandcastle.

Little pails heaped with Glimmerick Water-Color Eyeshadows. Each shade so pale, so shimmerful, so fluttery with little lights, it’s like washing your lids with liquid sunshine.

Sunshine ‘n Sand, a pinky beige. Sunshine ‘n Blue, a sky-blue blue. Sunshine ‘n Green, a frothy summer seascape.

Swoosh these gleaming Glimmerick Shadows all over your lids. Under your brows. To shine-up, light-up, open-up your eyes. Wide.

MORE: How to use makeup crayons to get a vintage ’70s look (1974)

Retro pastel eye makeup: Glimmerick Sunshine Pales eyeshadow

Glimmerick blue eyeshadow 1969

Actual little buckets of color The trendy Glimmerick Sunshine Pales eyeshadow from 1969

Retro pastel eye makeup: Eyeshadow, mascara & cake liner from 1970

Retro pastel eye makeup types - Eyeshadow mascara and more from 1970

Water-color eye shadow from Yardley

In 12 whiter shades of pale to enrich, to intensify the color of your eyes

Yardley Glimmerick eye shadow 1968

How-to guide for ’70s pale eyeshadow

1970s eyeshadow makeup how-to

Blooming colors: Maybelline pastel pink eyeshadow

Petal-pretty shadows for your eyes

Maybelline eye shadow pink

NOW SEE THIS: How to get awesome & authentic on-trend ’80s eye makeup, like multicolored eyeshadow

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest. Thanks for visiting and for supporting a small business! 🤩 


You might also like...

The fun never ends:

Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. Hi there,
    Back in the day, when I was a young woman in the ’70’s, there was one common trick the girls used to make eyes look larger. Use a light or medium blue eyeliner pencil (hypoallergenic, of course) to line the inside of the lower rim of the eyelid.

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.