1920s makeup and fashion was well defined by a look that became known as “Comme Le Garcon” (French for “like the boy”). This was an era of change as women became more liberated and makeup became more dramatic and colorful. If you love the fashion and adore the style, then turn back time with a few 1920s makeup tips.
A Few Interesting Facts About 1920s Makeup
Due to mass production, makeup, in the 1920s became more affordable to the average woman. Elizabeth Arden and Helen Rubenstein became pioneers in the beauty industry in England while the 1920s saw Max Factor becoming successful in the U.S. due to Hollywood and the film industry.
Before the 1920s, lipstick only came in jars in a semi-liquid form and was carefully applied to the lips using a finger. The 1920s saw all of this change with lipstick being produced in more user-friendly tubes and the more vibrant red shades began to hit the market.
1920s Makeup Tip – Lipstick
For women of the roaring twenties, lips played a key part in the overall look they were trying to achieve with their makeup. Liquid rouge was often used to line and conceal the lips allowing them to be reshaped with lipstick, and in doing so increasing the impact of the effect.
Your choice of lipstick colors was limited in the 20s as it was only available in red and a few shades of red. When shaping the lips, in the early part of the 20s, lipstick was not extended completely to the corners of the mouth but stopped well before. It wasn’t until the later part of the decade that lipstick extended completely to the corners of the mouth.
When applying the lipstick, on the top lip the color was taken over the lip line on either side of the cupids bow . The cupids bow was then extended on the lower lip.
Get The Look
If you are going for an early 20s look then deep reds, brownish reds, orange or plum lipsticks are colors you will need. For a late 20s look, rose, raspberry or medium reds are the colors to look for.
Using your preferred color, line your lips, extending the color over your natural lip line. Make sure to over emphasis or exaggerate the tips of your cupids bow.
The lipstick is applied as a “cupids bow” to the upper lip and extended at the lower lip. A 1920s silent film actress called Clara Bow was well renowned for this look.
1920s Makeup – Clara Bow Makeup Tutorial
1920s Makeup Tip – The Eyes
Eye makeup of the 20’s was dramatic. The eyelids were heavily covered with a dark eyeshadow such as dark green or a grey. Kohl, a fashionable blend of lead, soot and goose fat was then carefully applied around the eyes and smudged away from the eyes creating a blending effect. Today this would be called the “Smokey eye” look. Luckily for us, makeup is a lot safer now then it was then.
Mascara was also popular, but unlike today, mascara in 1920 came in blocks. To apply it the mascara had to first be heated and then a stick or wand was carefully used to paint it on. Mascara as we know it today wasn’t invented until the 1950s so we can all be thankful for little miracles (loll).
False eyelashes were also becoming very popular in the twenties. Once they were applied to the eye, they were heavily styled with mascara.
Get The Look
To begin with, start by applying foundation to the eyelids, giving a nice even base for the application of your eyeshadow.
Gently apply a grey or dark green shadow to your eyelid and begin to blend smudge it gently upwards into the crease.
Use a pencil eyeliner to roughly draw a thick line around both upper and lower lashes. Now smudge this line outwards away from the eye to create a “smokey” effect. Now apply generous amounts of mascara to your upper and lower lashes. If you wish to use false eyelashes, only apply the top lashes.
1920s Makeup Tip – Eyebrows
Women’s eyebrows of the twenties were usually arched high and drawn thin.
To create this look for yourself, conceal your natural eyebrows with concealer, nose putty or camouflage and blend the color to match your natural skin tone. Once your eyebrow has been totally concealed, draw a high, thin, arching brow line using a dark eyebrow pencil.
Remember, practice makes perfect so experiment until you get the look you want.
1920s Makeup Tip – Face Powder
Before the twenties, it was most desirable for women to have a pale or ivory skin tone. If you had tanned skin then you must work out doors in the sun and so must be a lower classed worker of some sort. With this in mind it is understandable why pre-1920s face powders were pale and pasty. It is alleged that Coco Chanel once admitted to sleeping in the sun to get a tan and so started the tanning craze in the 20′s. Whether it was Coco Chanel or the changing attitudes of the times, outdoor living became socially acceptable and the available 1920s makeup and face powder colors started to reflect this as more natural tones began to be released.
Blusher or rouge
Blusher, or as we know it today, rouge, came in many forms during the roaring twenties. To add a little color to the cheeks powders, liquids, creams and even sometimes rough paper was used. Over time powder prevailed and became the most preferred form of blusher used by women of the decade. A brush was used to apply the powder to the apple of the cheeks in a circular pattern. The blusher was not smudged or blended with the face power but left to form a clearly visible circle on the cheeks.
By the mid 20s orange was by far the most popular colour of blusher / rouge. Orange blush maybe hard to find but it is still readily available in some smaller stores. It’s just a case of knowing where to look. If you have a pale skin then a pale pastel orange would suit you perfectly. For those with a deeper complexion, orange with a hint of brown and a touch of shimmer will do the trick.
Alternatively, you can use bronzers as many still have a touch of orange color to them. Or, if you totally hate the idea of orange rouge you can still use darker colors like rose of example.
Other 1920s Makeup Sites of Interest
- 1920s Makeup – Wikipedias 1920s cosmetics page.
- 1920s Makeup – Covers makeup from the 20s, 30s and 40s
- 1920s Makeup – A good site about the roaring 20s fads and styles.
Flapper Make Up – 1920s Makeup Style – 1920s Makeup Pictures