How To Blend Mod And Grunge Makeup Trends For A Cool Modern Aesthetic

It's no exaggeration to say that the '60s was "La Belle Époque" of the 20th century — a cultural and artistic climate that bewitches fashion fans and beyond. The '60s recalls innovative fashion designers blazing a trail in youth-focused fashion with playful and seductive styles like never before. Think polka dot shifts, skirt suits, and absurdly tight full-skirted dresses. Every season, the timeless influence of the '60s still flares on and off the runway like a recurring dream. But fashion is not where the foray into the space-age fantasy ends. The '60s makeup trend is still the in thing today.


The mod makeup look was characteristic of the mid-60s. Typified by original IT girls like Edie Sedgwick, Brigitte Bardot, and Twiggy, the trend was characterized by Bambi-huge doe eyes with bold lines, voluminous lashes, and pronounced cut-creases, makeup artist Ash K. Holm explained to TZR

If you think the mod makeup look is too exaggerated, look at the grunge aesthetics — the defining look of the '90s. Sinisterly dazzling eyes are in the foreground in both mod and grunge makeup trends. But if mod makeup is associated with magnified femininity, grunge aesthetic is known as "a bold, gritty, and imperfect makeup look that eschews popular culture with defiance," makeup artist Dani Kimiko Vincent to InStyle. If you want to look like a blast from the past but can't decide between the '60s and the '90s, why not combine them? Here's how to blend mod and grunge makeup trends for a cool modern aesthetic.


Create sharp-as-knives wings

During the 1960s, unapologetically sensual beauty became increasingly embraced. This was reflected in sexy, sharp-as-knives cat eyes. In a 2020 interview with Vogue, Selena Gomez's trusted makeup artist Hung Vanngo shares how he helped the singer pull off the viral retro '60s look on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" by creating a classic cat eye and smudging it out towards the ends. Gel and powder liners are excellent tools for creating crisp, solid lines. Then, use a brush, a cotton swab, or your finger to gently smoke out the edges of your feline flicks. Liquid eyeliners don't really work on a smudged look. They are designed to create crisp lines; smudging them will make them peel instead of looking moody.


You can also create a modern mod-slash-grunge look with a kohl pencil. With a pencil, Maybelline recommends making thick wing lines along both the upper and lower water lines. At the outer corners of your upper lids, flick the liner up to make the lines look more pointed. Next, join the eyeliner strokes at the outer corner of the eye. Since half of grunge aesthetics are about smudged lines, deftly smear the lower lines with a smudge applicator or a Q-tip until they achieve the effortlessly moody look. Keep the smudging close to your eyes, lest your lower lines turn into dark eye circles. If you don't have a heavy hand, swap your eyeliner for a smoky shadow.

Go bold with graphic eyeliner

There's no questioning the allure of cat eyes, but it's 2023, and graphic liners — which use striking geometric shapes and vibrant colors — are an avant-garde way to flaunt your artistry while evoking mod and grunge nostalgia. To double the fun, you can opt for colors other than black or brown — like red, neon green, or blue. "The inspiration and roots behind graphic liner are from the 1960s, when supermodel Twiggy created a very eye-catching and bold look to express herself with the art of makeup," makeup artist Sasha Ghodstinat tells Glamour.


Clean and sharp lines, vivid colors, symmetry, and balance are the hallmarks of graphic liners. Makeup artist Nick Lujan suggests using liquid, gel, or cream liners in addition to a good brush and marker liner to nail the finest edges. As you're working on the liner shape you want, keep your mirror always at eye level, and build up the color slowly. The possibilities are endless, but if you want to stick to wings, open-ended graphic eyeliner accompanied by a bold underliner is the perfect twist on the classic cat-eye look.

Create a cut-crease eyeshadow look

The iconic cut-crease eyeshadow look was huge in both the '60s and the '90s. After applying a primer or a concealer to your eyelids, cover them with a nude shadow that resembles your skin tone for a base, per Maybelline. Then, apply a dark brown eyeshadow just above the crease of the eye to locate the crease. After that, dab a thin layer of concealer that's a few shades lighter than your skin tone all over the lids to smooth out the brown shadow and highlight the cut crease. Next, use an angled brush to sweep the concealer toward the brow's tails and wing it out. Finally, layer a white shade over your concealer to amplify the contrast, and voilà — there's a cut in your crease.


For those with hooded eyelids, Eyeko suggests ignoring your natural crease completely. Instead, go upward to the location of your eye socket — right below the brow bone and just above the upper side of the eye's socket — to create a fake crease. Once you have located the eye socket bone, mark the beginning, the center, and the end of the arch with three dots using an eyeshadow stick. Join the lines to form an arch that resembles the natural curve of your eyelid.

Go big on your eyelashes

Going big on the lashes is the key to nailing the theatrical doe-eyed look. Makeup artist Lennie Billy tells Allure: "Apply tons of mascara first, and if you need, apply a little bit of gel liner with a small fan brush." To achieve chunky lashes, you need to apply mascara to both the top and bottom lashes. If two coats of mascara can't make your lashes look as dark and full as you desire, add separate falsies to both your upper lashes and lower lashes.


Since falsies can make the eyes look smaller, celebrity makeup artist Ash K. Holm (via TZR) recommends lining the low waterline or between the lower lashes with a white or nude liner to help open the eyes back up. To incorporate the moody essence of grunge aesthetics into your look, grab a liquid eyeliner and draw eyelashes along your bottom lash lines, Twiggy style. The rule of thumb is to paint them longer at the outer corner and slowly shorten them as you move toward the inner corner of your eyes.

Reach for pastel eyeshadow

What dramatic mod and grunge makeup looks have in common is pastel eyeshadow, probably because these playful cool-toned shades are a statement all on their own. From mint green to lavender rose to soft lilacs, ethereal pastel shadows were the go-to in the 60s, the 90s, and in 2022 — thanks to the hit show "Euphoria." Mod and grunge makeup looks are all about the no-shimmer matte finish, but you can give them a fresh spin by adding textures to pastel shadows. For instance, this glossy lilac eyeshadow on Hailey Bieber (via @maryphillips) has us wanting to reach for all the pastel variations of purple.


For starters, prime your eye area with a concealer or primer to make the eyeshadow pop afterward, celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek tells Bustle. "Once that has set, take your pastel eyeshadow and start packing it in at the upper lash line until you've reached your desired intensity," says Sesnek. To give your eyeshadow a gradient effect, you'll need three pastel shadows, ranging from light, medium, and a dark shade of the same color. For instance, lilac, lavender, and plum are the perfect trio. Start with the lightest shade all over your lid, then the medium shade, and finish with the darkest shade on the outer corner of your eyes. To create a cat-eye shape, swoop the shadow upward. Once you're done blending the colors together, apply silver glitter, gold oil, or some lip gloss on top for added sparkle.


Slather up with sparkles

Mod or grunge, loading your lashes up with sparkles is a great way to bedazzle your theatrical eye makeup. One way to do that is to get yourself a tube of glitter mascara. To lend an extra festive flair to your makeup look, apply a coat of shimmery mascara along both the upper and lower lash line and your eyebrows. Another way to reroute your eye makeup into the cool, modern aesthetic direction is to watch "Euphoria" and take a page out of Maddy Perez's book.


In the series, Maddy is always seen slaying the most modern space-age-inspired makeup looks imaginable — cue rhinestone-studded lids. She wears them on top of frosted lids and in a striking cat-eye shape around her eyes. To recreate one of Maddy's most painstakingly elaborate makeup looks, check out the tutorial video by cutcreaser. All you need is cosmetic glue (or lash glue works), tweezers, and rhinestones or gems. You can use a tweezer to glue rhinestones to your crease for a subtle pop, your temples for a glowy base, or your lash lines for maximum sparkle, per L'Oréal Paris.

Use lip liner and lip gloss

Lips in the mod makeup style were usually worn in light shades to balance out the spidery, bold eyes. Back in the '60s, pastel, sherbet shades were popular lipstick shades, while pale pink, peach, or nude lipsticks were the in thing, makeup artist Ashley Rudder tells Byrdie. Although matte lipsticks were hip in the '60s, fashion icons like Brigitte Bardot were often spotted wearing nude lipstick hues with a pearlescent gloss to accentuate their statement eyes. Meanwhile, women in the '90s were always rocking defined, lacquered lips in deep shades like deep mauves and browns with a touch of shimmer. Depending on your skin tone, you can choose a shade that best flatters your features. 


To strike a happy balance between feistiness and femininity, Chic Studios recommends a deep berry, plum, or melon-colored lipstick with a matte or creamy sheen. Before putting on lipstick, remember to shape your lips with a lip liner that's slightly darker than your lipstick shade. Lip lining was a huge trend in the '90s. Outlining your lips a little outside your natural lips will help create a fuller, more defined look while preventing your lipstick from feathering outside the lip line. Then, apply a thin layer of lip gloss or a tinted lip balm on top to keep your lips from getting dry and flaky.