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Disco face: the return of '70s beauty

Studio 54 is your latest face inspo, according to TikTok and Beyoncé


Thumbnail and banner: Jackson Bowley

Text: Mikai McDermott

“I want something big, something that says I’m here… Beyoncé!”

This trending TikTok sound captures the essence of iconic '70s beauty – which you may have noticed on your feed as of late – with many celebs and creators paying homage to the decade through their disco-ready looks. '70s beauty is sometimes overshadowed by that of the ‘80s – a few of our TikTok commenters were keen to point out the similarities between the looks of the two decades – but while the ‘80s excess aesthetic shares some of the glitz and glamour of disco culture, '70s icons like Diana Ross, Donna Summer, and Cher all donned distinctive looks: from larger-than-life hairstyles and metallic and shimmery shadows, to ultra-long lashes and bold, bright blushes that doubled as contour.

Studio 54 takes TikTok

'70s beauty themes have come to the forefront through many different cultural avenues, like Beyoncé’s dance album Renaissance and its disco-driven imagery (Bey’s bday party was even roller-disco-themed), Drake’s album inspired by house (a genre that came out of disco), and the reignition of Studio 54 beauty trends like blush draping and stardust covered lids on TikTok. Blush draping, in particular, was pioneered by Cher’s makeup artist Way Brandy in the '70s and came to dominate the decade, shaping the faces of everyone from Grace Jones to Debby Harry. Today, blush draping is having its own renaissance – going viral on TikTok, as well as showing up on the red carpet (see: Tessa Thompson’s super-blushy Met Gala look). 

Beauty through revolution and recession 

The 1970s followed a globally historic decade of movements for marginalised groups in the 1960s. This made the decade, in every sense, a move towards modernity and freedom, captured in drag and ball cultures, the bold aesthetics of disco, and trends like plunging necklines, glitter and sequins, and chunky heels and furs. The hedonistic glam of '70s fashion and beauty was a form of self-expression and escapism – a way to turn away from the dark reality of the economic downturns which plagued the decade. 

Disco face modernised 

Creators like Aoife Cullen and Paulina Florencia have modernised the '70s beauty trends we know and love. In one tutorial, Aoife recreates Diana Ross’ metallic black liner and blush contour look, but pairs it with a sleek, Y2K-esque middle part bun, adding a fresh new dimension to an iconic ‘70s style. Makeup artists like Ana Takahashi and Raoul Alejandre have created looks using disco-favourite shades across the lids, unexpected blush contours and smatterings of shimmer and sheen. Celebs have also taken inspiration from the disco era – Lizzo’s sparkly purple Yitty bikini (with hair and makeup to match) looks like it could’ve been worn by Cher herself in the '70s. 

Post-'70s party girl beauty  

The popularity of ‘70s disco face on social media is connected to other hedonistic trends, like post-wellness party girl beauty and indie sleaze – all aesthetics that lean into the pursuit of pleasure and sensuality. As a natural progression, we predict a revival in ‘80s beauty culture – blush draping will become even more dramatic and the colourful lids of the ‘70s will morph into ’80s neon shadows and liners. But for now, let your beauty have a little boogie.

For more content like this, explore the rest of the Digiverse, or connect with us on TikTok or Instagram. If you’re a brand or business and want to inspire your audience in innovative ways, reach out to our strategic & creative lab