Behind the 70s Disco look…

Written by Julia Jeckell
Photography by Ellie Grace Photography
Hair, Make-up and Styling by Julia Jeckell
Model – Samara


The Seventies was the decade of women’s liberation with prominent figures such as Germaine Greer setting the sociological agenda. One of the key looks of the era was Disco, a movement far removed from the economic crisis and jobless figures of the time.

The glitter and feather trimmed wardrobe of the 70s disco diva was pure escapism. Legendary clubs such as New York’s Studio 54 became the definition of glamour with a VIP crowd of shimmering stars such as Bianca Jagger, Liza Minelli and Debbie Harry all setting the scene with the undisputed ‘Queen of Disco’ Donna Summer leading the way!

Make-up companies wanted to appeal to the new liberated female and ‘the look’ reflected the disco music of the time.

A tanned glow was a must, with shimmery highlights and bronzing powder used to sculpt the face. Eyes were colourful with eyeshadows in blue and green iridescent textures, the brows thin and the lips glossy. 1970s hair was big! Popular styles of the time were the Afro, big bouncy curls and the much-copied Farrah Fawcett ‘flick’.

How to get the 70s Disco look…

  1. Firstly, prepare the skin. (I applied Dermalogica’s ‘Active Moist’ to control oil on the T-zone and hydrate dry cheeks). Apply a light coverage foundation (I used Mac’s Face and Body Foundation), taking care to conceal any areas such as blemishes and dark circles under the eyes. Prepare the eyelids with a primer (I used Mac’s pro long wear paint pot in ‘Soft Ochre’).
  1. Groom the eyebrows upwards with a clear brow gel. The 1970s eyebrow reflected the 1920s revival at the time and thin eyebrows were fashionable.
  1. With a medium sized eyeshadow brush, softly apply a cream eyeshadow in light blue all over the eyelid and blend upwards towards the brow (I used Kiko’s Cream Crush in No.15). Use a smaller brush to apply cream shadow under the bottom lash line and outer corner of the eye for definition.
  1. Although ladies of the 1970s would have only used one eyeshadow shade, to give the look a more modern twist, blend a darker blue in the eyelid crease with a soft blending brush (I used the 227 Luxe Soft definer brush by Zoeva).
  1. Define eyelashes using lash curlers and black mascara. False eyelashes are recommended to give the full ‘disco’ look!
  1. Sweep a bright pink powder blusher high on the temples and cheeks (I used Mac’s ‘Full Fuscia’). Then, blend a shimmery highlighter powder on top of the cheekbones using a touch under the brow bone, centre of the nose and Cupid’s bow. Use a large powder brush and softly sweep areas such as the forehead, chin and tip of the nose (where you catch the sun naturally) with a medium bronzer for a suntanned glow.
  1. To complete the look, apply plenty of lip-gloss in a light pink or peach (I used Magnificent Metals lip gloss in Rose quartz by Stila).
  1. To get the 70s ‘big hair’ look, a centre parting is a must. To achieve tight Afro style curls I used the CHoPstick Styler wand by Lee Stafford.

Begin with knot free dry hair and use a protector mist all over. Separate the hair into manageable sections with clips, working from the nape of the neck upwards. Take one of the sections, wrap the hair around the tong and leave for 8 to 10 seconds and release. Repeat this throughout, leaving at least 1 inch from the roots. Allow to cool and style using serum and a light hair spray to hold.


About the photoshoot

Julia Jeckell is a professionally trained freelance hair and make-up artist with over 11 years’ experience in the industry. Passionate about vintage eras, styling and interiors, Julia loves to recreate vintage hair and make-up looks for weddings, photo shoots and events, and believes everyone has an era that suits them.

Julia worked alongside photographer Ellie to recreate the 1970s look for this photoshoot with model Samara.

Ellie’s photography work covers everything from weddings, editorial, commercial and lifestyle. Her aim is to inject a contemporary documentary style of photography within a wedding in a completely unobtrusive and natural way. She is an explorer of new faces, places and a hopeless romantic. When not photographing weddings she loves collaborating with other creative minds on editorial and commercial shoots. If she’s not behind the camera she’ll probably be hanging out with her friends or her dogs.

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Lisa Harrison
Written by Lisa Harrison
Lisa is the Deputy Editor of Vintage Life Magazine and Publisher at Dragoon Publishing. She is avid bookworm, collector of vintage homeware, loves travel, lazy weekends away and eats way too much cake!