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  • Writer's pictureHeather Pepe


🖤CHOLA MAKEUP 🖤 When I think of one of the most iconic subculture beauty references, my mind immediately goes to CHOLA MAKEUP.

Being the inspiration for countless fashion editorials, music videos and wild red carpet moments, but as all cultural references, it’s important to understand where this iconic look is rooted from.

In the late 30’s in the SouthWestern States #PachucoCulture was created by Mexican American teenagers who were wearing #ZootSuits & rejected assimilation into the overtly patriotic white culture of WWII. #Pachucas were young Mexican American Women, who embraced heavy makeup & a nonconformist style of dress of tight sweaters,oversized blazers & slacks or knee-length skirts all very risqué at the time. perfectly arched darkened brows, dark berry or black lips & dramatic eyeliner was often paired with teased bangs & pomp’s, or smooth curls & waves, it was a bold look that will pave the way for the generations to come.

By the mid 60’s old Pachuca Style was considered out dated and unnecessary, so a new subculture is started. The word Cholo was actually a derogatory term until the 60’s when Mexican Americans flipped it and started using it for describing a New Street Style & subculture of its own.

The Cholas Beauty Routine can be noted for much more than just beautification, it was about the ritual of getting ready, almost like a war paint...Life was not easy for a Chola, there was a daily struggle for these young women to survive...severe racism, sexism & hardships were a constant and they showed their strength through tough street style and affordable adornments, resulting in a Beauty Routine meant to entice and intimidate. Late 60’s & early 70’s we see the introduction of the most notable beauty look; super thin, penciled-in perfectly arched or curved brows, light and frosted shadows and lots of eye liner paired with light beige or red LiPS that were PERFECTLY & NOTiCEABLY LiNED with a dark brown or black eyeliner pencil, for even more edge, thin Black Jelly Bracelets we’re wrapped and weaved in cool designs over the hands and up the arms reminiscent of armor like spiderwebs, this look will become the calling card of Cholas for decades to come. Hair was sometimes worn straight, sometimes pomped & teased or feathered and sprayed, which ever the style a ton of aqua net was most likely used.

Coming into #The80’s and #The90’s the makeup looks became much more dramatic and striking, sometimes shaving the brows entirely off, only to pencil them back creating arched or lifted shapes. The#HaloEyewas a trend Cholas started, consisting of dark and dramatically lined eyes, paired with a strong white highlight going to the top of the bare brow bone, a dark graphic shadow or liner in the crease and pencil thin brows, paired with fiercely lined lips. Think of an ultra bad ass 60’s eye with a modern edge. By #the90’s it’s all about wet looking crispy perms, super sleek high ponytails, big bangs & bandannas...

#FUNFACT Baby Oil with mouse was often used in the hair to achieve the desired #WetLook...

Makeup styles are still embracing the signature overtly liner heavy looks & to give the appearance of fuller lips, lining above the Cupid’s bow in a M shape becomes a favorite style.

By the late 90’s early 00’s the Chola Makeup Look heavily influences and inspires mainstream beauty, and Pop Culture as we see their signature look of winged and kohl rimmed eyes, thin brows and sharply lined lips, inspiring big fashion & beauty moments...

The Chola BEAUTY has evolved over the decades but they have always stayed consistently extreme & modern but always with a node to nostalgia, probably why unlike most subculture beauty trends, it has never really left Pop Culture.

Despite the stigma of being heavily tied with SouthWest Gang Culture, the Chola is an important figure in the Latina community, representing a strong independent women, using the power of beauty to showcase their feminine power, and resilience in the face of adversity.

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