How to Apply 1930s Makeup

Written by lea whitefeather Google
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The Great Depression of the 1930s left many Americans destitute. This, however, did not stop citizens from patronising the silver screen. Hollywood beauties from the era include Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck, Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo. Here you can capture their cinematic style and sizzle like a sultry screen star.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Base with thick coverage
  • Brow pencil or powder darker than your own natural brows
  • Baby oil
  • Eye make-up primer
  • Smoky dark eyeshadow with a metallic texture
  • Darker version of first eyeshadow to define crease
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Fluffy eyeshadow brush
  • Eyelash curler
  • Waterproof black mascara
  • False strip eyelashes
  • Waterproof black eyeliner
  • Pastel pink blush
  • Makeup sponge
  • Highly pigmented deep red lip liner
  • Matching matt lipstick

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  1. 1

    Apply a foundation in your skin tone using considerable coverage. You may get away with a lighter formulation for a 1930s look if you have good skin with barely any unevenness in skin tone and nary a blemish.

  2. 2

    Tweeze eyebrows very thinly, with the arches pronounced. Do this only if you are a diehard 1930s make-up fan and are certain you don't mind that your brows may never grow all the way back. If not, and you are simply attending a costume party, you can either wear a 1930s-style hat that covers your brows or look into using eyebrow sealer and other cosmetics to prosthetically cover existing hairs. If you take the latter step, you can draw on your desired brow shape. If your brows are already on the thin side, you can still use them as part of your 1930s look. Simply define them, exaggerating the arches, with a brow pencil or powder slightly but noticeably darker than your brow colour. Set brows very lightly with a minute amount of baby oil to make them shine.

  3. 3

    Put some eye make-up primer on lids for longer eyeshadow wear. If you prefer no colour, you can fore go primer and rub some petroleum jelly on your upper eyelids instead of eyeshadow. Otherwise, pick a highly pigmented eyeshadow that is on the smoky side, with a metallic gleam to it. Texture-wise, shiny eyelids were very popular in the 1930s. Apply shadow from lash line to crease. On the crease, smudge on a considerably darker version of the same colour to create depth. Blend upwards and outwards to help with the illusion that your eye sockets are deeper in your head than they really are. Fade away any hard edges in your eye make-up with a fluffy eyeshadow brush.

  4. 4

    Curl eyelashes and darken both upper and bottom ones with waterproof blackest black mascara. On the top lids, glue on false strip eyelashes that blend nicely with yours but obviously enhance the appearance of length and thickness. Run a highly pigmented waterproof black eyeliner over the top and bottom lash lines.

  5. 5

    Go over the apples of your cheeks with a pastel pink blush. Use a make-up sponge to blend cleanly so that the blush appears to be your own rosy colouring.

  6. 6

    Define the contours of your made up lip with a highly pigmented deep red lip liner. Alter your lip shape slightly by enhancing the Cupid's bow on your top lip and by drawing your lips a little smaller than they are to give them a slightly puckered, rounded appearance. Fill in lips with the liner. Apply matt red lipstick over outlined lips.

Tips and warnings

  • If using a waterproof mascara and eyeliner is not enough to prevent smudges later in the day, use cotton swabs lightly moistened with clean water to remove messes. Powder underneath eyes with translucent powder afterwards to absorb oils which lead to smudging.
  • Matte lipstick and dry lips do not mix. Smooth on lip balm over exfoliated lips before your lipstick application if you are plagued by chapped lips. A very tiny, barely noticeable dab of clear lip gloss over your made up lips should help ward off dryness.
  • Fully look the part by wearing the hair and clothing of the period to go with the face.
  • Study the history of the period if you better want to understand the beauty trends of the day.

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