I'm Bringing Back the 1960s Pastel Lip Even Though It's Way Out of My Comfort Zone

I don’t usually wear light-coloured lipsticks, but I could get used to these cool-toned pale pinks.
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Publish date:
August 26, 2015
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nars, mac, maybelline, retro, 1960s, lipstick, pale lips

I am an ordinary human being with a decidedly non-modelesque face. My hooded eyelids put paid to any dreams of easy cut creases, and I would rather sleep than tease and curl my hair into a beehive in the morning.

Doe-eyed waif I am not, but neither were most women in the '60s. So how did the everyday woman interpret the decade's iconic beauty trends?


These ladies are showing scaled-down eyes and 'dos, so I suspect they're doing a similar thing with their lip colours.

A prominent trend from the 1960s is the pastel lip. Cool-toned pale pinks superseded the bright reds of the previous decade and added to the whole (kinda seedy) sexy-innocent thing the sixties had going on. And although Alyssa can more than pull pastel off, it's not really my thing.

My natural lip colour isn’t that pale, so I don’t usually wear light-coloured lipsticks. I feel like they just end up the same tone as my face and kind of disappear, and I prefer to delineate my lips more clearly. That way I can make them look bigger, too.

Most of the shades in the Maybelline Rebel Bloom lipstick collection look like they’ve come right out of 1964, but Barely Bloomed is the most chill, so I started there. The brown undertone puts it right in my comfort zone, but probably a little underwhelming from sixties throwback standards.

From one end of my comfort zone to its antipode! MAC’s Viva Glam Nicki 2 is a little too chalky to wear on its own, but mixed with a bit of MAC Silly it becomes the ultimate retro colour.

I was actually surprised by how (dare I say it) wearable this turned out. The pink brings out the blush I’m wearing (Benefit’s Dandelion) and balances the heavy eyelash action that’s happening on my eyes. All it’s lacking is a frosted finish.

This combo gets closer to the "frosty twink of baby rose" that a Clairol Flicker Stick promised, with Petal Pink (another Rebel Bloom colour) layered under NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Tender Night.

Confusingly, this "velvet matte" product is actually stacked with frost, and not much colour. It’s discontinued now, unsurprisingly, but something like the Bite Beauty Opal Creme lipstick will do a similar thing. (And we know how much I love Bite Beauty.)

It strikes me as a good idea to have a pearlescent product in your collection that you can layer with other colours, rather than buying heaps of shimmery finish lipsticks. Unless frost is your thing. Is it time for frost to swing back around and be trendy again?

These are three looks that wouldn't be out of place 50 years ago on lips probably holding a cigarette or pursed over a typewriter—not too unlike me, if you swap the typewriter for a Macbook, even down to the pay inequality.

  • Which of the three is your favourite look?
  • Should I adopt it for every day?
  • And let me know if you want to see a tutorial for my hairstyle in these photos!