How Eyeliner Trends in Bollywood have evolved over the years

The Indian way of doing Eyeliners is way different than anywhere else in the world. And we have Bollywood stars to thank for that. But seriously, the current fashion statements made through eyeliners came through changes in trends over 50+ years of the Film Industry.

Here are some of the best eyeliner trends made famous by Bollywood actresses over the years:

Eyeliner Trends in the 1940s

Soft Smokey Eyeliner

Suraiya Jamaal Sheikh

The Soft Smokey Eyeliner was made famous by actress Suraiya Jamaal Sheikh, who elegantly styled it with a prominent flick.

Classic Bar Eyeliner


The Classic Bar Eyeliner look was made famous by actress Madhubala in the 1940s. It is a fine eyeline coating drawn across the lash, that is slightly thickened towards the edge.

Eyeliner Trends in the 1950s

Arabic Eyeliner Style

Waheeda Rehman

The swanky Arabic Eyeliner style was made popular by actress Waheeda Rehman in the 1950s. Her bold looks in the movies of the 1950s were a symbol of the rising power of women in the country.

Eyeliner Trends in the 1960s

Long-Winged Eyeliner

Hema Malini long-winged eyeliner
Hema Malini

The 1960s were the beginning of peak success for actress Hema Malini. Her long-winged eyeliner in the movie Seeta Aur Geeta won hearts and remained popular for a long time. The long-winged eyeliner look was further popularized by other top actresses- Mumtaz, Sadhna and Sharmila Tagore.

Double-Winged Eyeliner

Sharmila Tagore double winged eyeliner
Sharmila Tagore

The 1960s saw actresses experimenting with different types of winged eyeliners. Hema Malini influenced a million young girls with a long-winged eyeliner look. But actresses Saira Banu and Sharmila Tagore sported double-winged eyeliners which upped the ante and took the winged eyeliner trends into the 1970s.

Medium-Winged Eyeliner

Waheeda Rehman in the movie "Guide"
Waheeda Rehman in the movie “Guide”

The medium-winged eyeliner is the more subtle styled version of the popular long-winged eyeliner. This look was made popular by Waheeda Rehman in the movie “Guide“, released in 1965. Hema Malini also carried a similar look in her movie “Johny Mera Naam“, released in 1970.

Eyeliner Trends in the 1980s

Smudge Eyeliner

Parveen Babi smudge eyeliner
Parveen Babi

Actress Parveen Babi made the smudged eyeliner look widely popular among Indian ladies in the decade since 1980. The style had a soft feminine vibe to it in contrast to the bold eyeliner trends people were used to before.

Under Eyeline style

sridevi kohl eyeliner

The years 1940-1970s made eyeliner makeup incredibly famous in the country. However, ladies only used to style above their eyes. Sridevi’s under eyeline look changed what we through about eye makeup and the trend of under eyeline styling lasted through till the 2000s.

Eyeliner Trends in the 1990s

Cat-eyes Eyeliner Style

Urmila Matondkar Cat eyes eyeliner
Urmila Matondkar

Actress Urmila Matondkar has often been regarded as one of the most beautiful faces to have ever graced the Indian Film Industry. Her cat-eyes eyeliner style added to her graceful looks and remained as go-to look for many Indian girls in the 1990s.

Black lined Eyes

Madhuri Dixit sporting the black lined eyeliner look
Madhuri Dixit sporting the black lined eyeliner look

Madhuri Dixit reached the peak of her acting career in the decade starting from 1990. During this period, she was the trendsetter of some viral fashion trends, among which was the fully black lined eyeliner look.

Full Lined Eyes

Kajol in DDLJ
Kajol in DDLJ

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) is arguably the most popular Bollywood film of all time. The looks of Kajol in this infamous movie also sparked the trend of fully lined eyeliner. This style was a minor step up over the black lined eyeliner look made famous earlier by Madhuri Dixit.

Eyeliner Trends in the 2000s

Thick Eyeliner

Aishwarya Rai Thick Eyeliner
Aishwarya Rai

It was the 2000s when stars like Aishwarya Rai and Kareena Kapoor reached the peak of their careers and became household names. These two actresses rocked the silver screens with their thick eyeliner style. This style eventually became popular, and today you’ll find almost every other girl doing their eyes the same way!

Dramatic Smudged Eye Style

Kangana Ranaut in Fashion
Kangana Ranaut

The movie fashion, released in 2008 is perhaps one of the most underrated movies of the 2000s decade. This movie also set new fashion trends that were followed on for a long time. However, Kangana Ranaut’s dramatic smudged eye makeup stands out as a look that women most aspired for since she first flaunted it in Fashion.

Eyeliner Trends after the 2010s – Present

Thin Eyeliner look

The 2015 film Piku was one of the defining movies of Deepika Padukone’s acting career. With its simple and realistic story, Deepika’s character in Piku was as relatable as it could have been. But more than anything else, her girl-next-door looks caught on to the young Indian girls, who still sport the Piku look when going out for their daily routines.

One of the subtle things about her look one may not even notice is her super-thin eyeliner style. Yet the subtle nuance was noticed, copied and became an instant eye makeup trend!

Edgy Long-Winged Eyeliner

Sonam Kapoor edgy eyeliner
Sonam Kapoor

The modern stars know how to make a statement in the boldest ways, and that is why the modern eyeliner trends since the 2000s are flashier than they had even been.

One of the flashiest eyeliner trends is the edgy extension of the traditional long-winged eyeliner. As much as I have seen, this look is executed the most perfectly by the one and only Sonam K Ahuja (Sonam Kapoor). She may not be doing as many movies as she used to do, but her high-profile fashion appeal is still undisputed.

Graphic Eyeliner

Sonakshi Sinha Graphic Eyeliner
Sonakshi Sinha

We have seen movies and TV shows where they show a technology-filled future with gadgets and tech stuff everyone. Nothing gives off that cyber appeal more than the Graphic eyeliner looks we’ve been seeing since the last year.

And you know what? I went a step ahead and tried a graphic eyeliner look on myself! Here, have a look:

Arushi Meena Anime girl eye makeup
I’m not a celebrity, but just one of a million women inspired by the Bollywood divas who set the trends for us

I know, this isn’t the kind of Graphic Eyeliner that celebrities get done for themselves, but I don’t care! 🙂

I was going an anime-girl look, and this I guess is the closest I could have got to it. I like this look. What’s your opinion? Let me know by commenting down below!

Arushi Meena

Arushi is a Digital Marketer by profession, but a writer at heart. Aside from being a hopeless romantic and a quirky personality, she's all about having fun and letting others have a share of the same!

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