One Dazzling Video Reminds Us Just How Little Beauty Standards Really Matter


Trying to fit in with the haircut or makeup everyone has? Take heart — fitting today's beauty standards is overrated because the trends definitely don't last.

If we needed any more proof of beauty's fleeting norms, the dizzyingly cool clip by Cut Video makes it clear. Entitled "100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute," the video cycles a single model though a century of looks:

Contrasting the different looks on a single model shows the stark differences over the decades. The same effect could be seen in this viral shopping video from 2011 and in a powerful photo series from earlier this year.

The nature of trends, of course, is that they shoot up seemingly out of nowhere, overtake culture, then fade away only to be immediately replaced by something new. Today's fashion magazines and beauty blogs are all about the lob haircut and candy-colored lipstick; a few years ago, it was all about bronzed eyes and purple lips (or red or nude lips, depending on the site). 

Trends change faster than we realize in the moment — but they also tend to come back around in new forms. Dark lipstick? All the rage in 1920 and 1930 and again in 1990. Big, bouncy hair was where it was at in 1940, then came raging back with crimps in 1980. Bold eye markup was a hallmark of the 1950s and 1960s (there was nothing more mod than a black cat-eye), only to return with a vengeance in the 2000s with smoky eye makeup.

Women, we've long known ourselves, are eager to obtain these looks at all costs. That's why cosmetics is close to a $205 billion industry, and why women are encouraged to chase down the new look, whatever it may be.

But if "100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute" is any indication, we needn't contort our appearances to fit the norm — because it's only the norm for now. Every trend, good and bad, swings back around, even the ones you miss from 10 years ago that have faded away like a red lipstick at midnight.