1950s makeup tips

Written by jennifer denese
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1950s makeup tips
Bold, red lips were trendy during the '50s. (Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Make-up for women during the 1950s was sophisticated with a touch of glamour. Women wanted to emulate the looks worn by film stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. The iconic '50s make-up look, which featured strong eyebrows, a bold red lipstick and neutral eyeshadow, continues to be fashionable today. Modern day celebrities such as Gwen Stefani and Scarlett Johansson draw inspiration from the '50s for a beautiful retro look.

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Women in the 1950s wanted to imitate the flawless complexions of movie stars, which meant they needed to minimise any blemishes in the facial area. Exfoliating with a scrub designed specifically for the face will help remove dead skin cells and smooth the canvas. Use a facial moisturiser to further prep the skin for make-up. Choose a foundation that provides you with your desired level of coverage and apply with a brush or cosmetic sponge. Apply concealer to the under-eye area if you have dark circles with a brush or your fingertip. The same concealer can be used to mask any blemishes.


Eyebrows in the 1950s were strong and thicker than in previous decades with a sharp arch. To achieve 1950s eyebrows you may need to look at a photo for reference, such as the one on the Aura of Beauty site, as you shape your brows with tweezers. Thicker eyebrows may need to be groomed and stray or very long hairs plucked. Once you have the arch, pluck the eyebrows so that they lightly taper as they move away from the centre of the eye. If you have light coloured hair, you should fill in the brows with an eyebrow pencil a shade darker than your brows.


Colour on the eyelids during this decade was neutral to balance out the strong lip colour that women wore. Choose an eyeshadow that is a shimmery champagne colour and apply to the entire lid from the inside corner to the eyebrow with a large eyeshadow brush. Apply a light brown eyeshadow to the outer corner of the eyelid and in the crease with a contour eyeshadow brush to add depth to the eyelid. When applying black eyeliner pencil, only wear it on the upper lid. Sweep several coats of black mascara only on the top lashes.


Which shade of red you choose will depend on your skin tone. Blue-based shades flatter women with pink undertones while orange-based lipsticks look better on women with golden or peach undertones. To keep lipstick from feathering begin with a lip primer on the lips. Apply a lip pencil that matches your lipstick or a clear lip pencil to define the outer edges of the lip. The lip pencil can also be used to fill in the lips to help keep the lipstick in place. Then apply your lipstick to your lips.

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