A quick wash in the bath with Pears Soap, a generous dusting of talcum powder and lashings of hairspray – the swinging sixties beauty routines were miles apart from today’s complicated regimes.

Back in the 60s, we took our time to perfect our beauty whereas nowadays, we want quick fixes, hi-tech gadgets and as much anti-ageing serum as we can get our hands on.


Want to know exactly how things have changed? Take a look at at beauty, then and now.

Cleansing skin

Then – Pears soap was the best-selling soap in the 1960s as women scrubbed off their heavy make-up with soap, flannel and elbow grease. (You can still buy it here)

Now – Speed is key for today’s women and cleansing wipes are selling more every year. Special cleansing gadgets such as electric brushes selling for over £100 add a space age touch to a modern beauty routine.

Forgotten beauty - While many shops still sells flannels, they are no longer a beauty routine must-have for most women.


Then - Moisturiser was part of a woman’s daily routine, but it was just that… a cream designed to moisturise the skin.  No nano-spheres, no snake venom, no magic ingredients promising to turn back time.  Women were happy with a pot of Nivea or Astral.

Now - Today’s women doesn’t just use a moisturiser, they have an eye cream, a night cream, anti-ageing creams and serums as part of a multi-step skincare routine.


Then - The foundation to the classic 1960s face was panstick; a stick of heavy matt foundation which was used to cover the face, and then set with powder to give a complete matt look.  Touch-ups throughout the day of powder in a mirrored compact ensured the base stayed put.

Now - BB, CC and DD creams offer today’s women coverage with added anti-ageing, skin boosting benefits.

Forgotten beauty - The compact touch up has been lost to the quick selfie make-up check.


Then - While the 60s saw the invention of the wand mascara we know today the majority of women still used cake or block mascara, this comprised a block of solid mascara which was applied to the lashes with a wet brush.

A vintage mascara from the 60s

Now - Today’s biggest launches are for new mascaras as customers clamour to snap up the latest formulations which promise to lengthen and curl lashes.  Special formulations are now proven to help lashes grow.

Forgotten beauty - Mascara which requires a little spit to create lashes has long been forgotten among the wonder of wands.

[Related story: 10 surprising uses for talcum powder]


Then - The 60s saw the invention of liquid eyeliner allowing users to create dramatic eyes, classic feline flicked eyes, the liquids were thick, dense and took a while to dry completely leaving women open to smudges.

Now -Today we are spoilt for choice with felt tipped liner pens and gel eyeliners designed to give the 1960s liner look without the peril of smudged lines.

Forgotten beauty - Pots of ink like liner have been displaced by gel liners and liner pens.


Then - Thick double dramatic strip lashes were applied with glue to the top lashes, while those looking for the latest look snipped smaller tufts of lashes and applied to the undereye.

Lashes from 1964

Now - Today’s woman is looking for a more natural look, and chooses the more time efficient option of semi-permanent lash extensions.

Forgotten beauty - Heavy fringe like lashes have been usurped for more flattering natural versions.


Then - While a wave of young women aped Twiggy and headed for a pixie cut for the majority of women setting lotion and curlers still ruled.  Women used ‘wet sets’ of rollers, secured with pins and saturated with setting lotion, and left to dry while they got on with their housework, before brushing out.

Now - This decade will surely be remembered as the era of the blow dry bar as women want to emulate the picture perfect Kim Kardashian or Kate Middleton hair do.

Forgotten beauty - Setting lotion, curlers and pins feel like ancient artifacts when compared with today’s technologically advanced curling tongs and straighteners.


Then - Lashings and lashings of hair spray were used to set the hair, especially for those adding hair with a beehive.  Elnett and Sunsilk were the popular brands.


Now - Hairspray is used with a lighter hand but Elnett remains a best-seller today.


Then - No bath-time routine was complete without a generous dusting of talcum powder.

Now - Anti-cellulite creams and anti-ageing body lotions are massaged into the skin post bathing. While the time poor choose in shower moisturisers.

​Photo credits: Superdrug

What beauty products did you swear by in the 60s - and do you still use them? Share your favourites in the Comments box below.