How to Create a “Modern Mod” Look

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Today we’re going put together a “modern mod” look. The mods were on the cutting edge of fashion in the 60s. They were known for their chic, geometric haircuts, bold yet easy-to-dance-in fashion, and dramatic makeup and accessories.

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Nancy Kwan

Step 1. Mod-ify your hair

The mods wore their hair in bold, geometric shapes – think bobs and blunt bangs. I opted for a wig, since my natural hair is more California boho than Vidal Sassoon. This wig is originally below-chin-length with bangs past my eyes.

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If you have bangs, give them a clean, neat edge or pull them aside. I trimmed the bangs to just above my eyebrows, arching slightly down below my temples.

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Treat the rest of your hair similarly – just get it all organized and geometric, however that works for your hair. I reshaped my wig so that it was slightly shorter in the back and longer in the front, like Nancy Kwan’s iconic mod cut by Vidal Sassoon.

2. Prep your skin

When mods wore makeup, they often wore matte, opaque, full-coverage foundation and powder. Stick to whatever coverage level you normally like to wear, but do aim to get your skin looking smooth and even-toned so that the attention stays on the dramatic eye makeup.

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I used Boscia BB Cream for all-over, sheer coverage, covered up redness around the corners of my nose and a couple spots with this Makeup Forever Concealer Palette, and set it all with a light dusting of Neutrogena Skin-Clearing powder.

3. Create Your Dramatic Cat-Eye

Prep eyelids with a primer, which will keep your makeup in place and help prevent it from melting or smudging off. I used a Laura Mercier primer sample across the top lid.

Then draw your cat-eye. I used a black Almay Liquid Liner to draw a thick line across my top lashes, which I then extended to a point beyond the edge of my natural brow.

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Tips: Start small, and add on. You can always add more – it’s harder to remove excess and try again. Step away from the mirror and check yourself out frequently to make sure the cat-eye is flattering from all angles. Use a pointed cotton swab (I got mine for $2 at Muji) to clean up the cat-eye as you go along.

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Donyale Luna

Then draw in a crease to enhance the look. Donyale Luna, above, filled in her natural crease with a dark powder shadow. Chin Fei, below, opted for a solid black line.

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Chin Fei

My eyelids are more like Chin Fei’s than Donyale Luna’s, so I drew a crease where there was none, about halfway between my natural crease and my brow. You can use the same liquid liner, but I opted to paint in a softer line using a pointed cotton swab dipped in an apparently-discontinued rich gold eyeshadow by Tarte.

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Notice how the gold crease line kind of follows the arc of the eyeball. I later went back in with a pointed cotton swab dipped in primer to “erase” the outer edges of the gold and redraw them as wings.

Now at this point, if you’re going to wear a wig, put it on so that you can be sure to choose colors for the rest of your face that will complement your hair color.

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Carefully use another pointed cotton swab to add any contrasting color to the lid and brow bone around your lines. I decided to keep the look simple and focused on the gold and black lines by using the lightest shade in my Makeup Forever concealer palette to define the eye.

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4. Add Subtle Color to Cheeks & Lips

Next, apply a subtle blush and lip color.

Many mods wore a matte nude lipstick, but I prefer to keep the rest of the look low-maintenance since the eye is so complex. I used a coral-pink blush by Tarte and a sheer pink Baby Lips lipgloss.

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5. Add Dramatic Fake Eyelashes

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I got my eyelashes and eyelash glue at the same shop where I got the wig. I always seek out non-toxic products but I haven’t been able to source any non-toxic eyelashes (these contain formaldehyde) or eyelash glue anywhere. Any recommendations? Please tweet me or leave a comment if you’d like – I’d love to hear from you.

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To apply the eyelashes, add a thin layer of glue to the seam and let it dry for about 30 seconds, or until tacky to touch. Lower them onto your lash line. Use a cotton swab to gently push the tacky edge as close to your natural lash line as possible.

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6. More Is More: Add More Cat-Eye

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The key to keeping this look fresh and attractive (as opposed to overdone and sad, lol) is to keep everything as seamless, blended, symmetrical, and crisp as possible.

So add another layer of eyeliner over the dried glue, which will otherwise very likely reflect light differently than the eyeliner, ruining the seamless effect. Clean up the edges as needed by dipping a pointed cotton swab into whatever background color you selected for your eyelids (in this case, a very pale, matte cream concealer) and “erasing” any stray makeup with short, gentle strokes.

7. Put the Final Touch On Your Lashes

Carefully curl the natural and fake eyelashes together. Start at the very base, as close to the lash line as you can, being careful not to pinch – and gently “pump” your mascara wand along the lashes at regular intervals until you reach the tip. This will give your lashes an elegant, gradual curve.  Repeat until you’ve achieved the curve that you want.

My lashes are naturally short and sparse, and my eyes are wide, shallow-set and taper downward slightly – elongated rather than rounded. I used to curl my eyelashes a lot more to make my eyes look rounder and bigger. But I’ve grown to love my eye shape and have learned that my lashes look best when they complement the shape of my eyes. So I usually only curl my lashes gently, one time.

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And that’s it! Congrats, you’re a modern mod. Read on if you want some mod fashion inspiration to complete the look.

8. Wear with vivid colors, clean shapes, and bold geometric patterns - stripes, polka dots, black and white, all black, whatever, if you want to stick to the 60s mod look. A modern mod can wear whatever they want, obviously. I personally think this would look awesome with any look, from tshirt and jeans to floral-prints to leather leggings to a dress suit. Here are some of my favorite looks from past and present that embody the mod aesthetic:

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Nancy Kwan in her iconic Vidal Sassoon cut

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Beyonce

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Peggy Moffitt

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae

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Donyale Luna

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Karen O

Thanks for reading, hope you had fun! Feel free to tag your mod look with #ModernMod on Instagram and Pinterest, and/or say hi on Twitter anytime!

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