1920s Makeup was usually associated with paint. Before the roaring twenties, make-up was not typically called ‘make-up.’ Similarly, only girls that were more wealthy and who lived in upper classes were able to utilize make-up in their daily routines. Initially, beauty products were not necessarily about changing one’s look, but instead, accentuating one’s natural beauty.
The roaring twenties were all about enhancing one’s natural beauty rather than subverting the looks of an individual. Instead of incorporating make-up, the roaring twenties presented beauty in a more naturalistic form. This included face creams, lotions, powders that helped balance one’s skin tone and to accentuate one’s natural beauty and features.
History of 1920s Makeup
The roaring twenties presented an era where beauty lines and products surfaced. As opposed to the extravagant and extensive collection of makeup today, the roaring twenties presented make-up in a limited form. It was only exclusive to a few, limited shades and designs. It suited women with conventional skin types and color during that era.
The initial look of women in make-up were not extremely pleasing. Not only was it new, but they also were not presented with techniques and ways of using make-up. No previous generations were able to teach them the techniques and strategies of applying make-up. However, they chose to incorporate their own strategies and they played with make-up the best they could. But 1920s makeup products and styles were surely a bit developed and available than the previous Victorian and Edwardian makeup styles.
While women cherished and were passionate about beauty products, men were indifferent. They did not appreciate ‘face masks’ and products that accentuated the natural beauty of women. Men believed that the most natural form included their own beauty without the use of any other products. They chose to feed into their masculine thoughts and mindset of the roaring twenties.
As the decades progressed…
The quality and variety of make-up slowly improved. The number of makeup rose quickly from just a few to a wide, there were an extensive variety of make-up products. By the end of the twenties, a variety of shades and styles also became available. It was no longer exclusive to certain social groups, but instead, most people incorporated it into their daily routines.
What type of make-up was common?
Rogue, which is what we would call blush today, was common during the roaring twenties. Women were fond of the ‘blushy’ and ‘pink-tinted’ look on their faces. This gave them added touch to their cheeks. They typically applied it using their fingers and unless you were a flapper, you might dab some on your knees too!
Face power was one of the common make-up during the roaring twenties. It was easy to apply and it made women look paler than their natural look. This was a common style and trend that women appreciated during the roaring twenties. The face powder was commonly compact. The 20s women usually brought them to social events and festivals to touch-up.
Interestingly, the invention of the metal lipstick tube in 1915 was an edition to women’s beauty routine. Now, they could simply carry around lipsticks in a tube to festivities and events – and no longer had to worry about their lipsticks! Matte red was one of the popular colors that the 20s women liked.
While women with lighter skin tones typically wore lipsticks of bright, red, and almost pink-tinted colors, women with darker skin tones preferred to wear dark red lipsticks.
Women liked to used eyeliners to draw eyebrows during the roaring twenties. It was mostly just black or shades of brown. However, other colors such as dark purple or green became quite common in the following eras. The shape in which women tend to shape their eyebrows was commonly thin and followed the shape of their own brows.
Mascara was still a new development during the roaring twenties but only some certain individuals could wear it. Women in the roaring twenties can purchase mascara in various forms. There were certain techniques that 20s women used while applying mascara. Those would be quite interesting to look back to in this era itself.
What about nail polish?
While nail polish wasn’t commonly worn by women in the roaring twenties, Cutex had developed liquid and powder polish in the early twenties.
During the early twenties, there were only some certain colors that were common such as pink or red were popular. Hence, Cutex only advertised and sold nail polishes that had the shade and tone.
By the end of the decade, the women’s beauty industry has completely transformed for the better. There were many new brands and stores, and women wearing make-up was becoming more widely accepted in social norms. Although it was still a taboo for men to be wearing make-up, we can see that it is becoming more socially acceptable, and men were incorporating more beauty products to enhance its natural beauty into their everyday looks.
How to wear 1920s makeup?
This was one of the common questions that are frequently asked. There are many tutorials online, but most featuring women from movies or popular films. Most are inaccurate to illustrate the true, authentic form of make-up from the 1920s.
It is worth noting that make-up during the roaring twenties was more natural and simple. It was a time where make-up was only becoming more common, but still relatively new. Most women did not have other platforms to style their own make-up, and make-up techniques were still in the process of being tested and worn.
A simple make-up look from the roaring twenties included face powder, pink/ red lipstick, rouge, black or brown mascara and a dark, matte eye shadow.
To summarize, the roaring twenties were all about enhancing one’s natural beauty rather than subverting the looks of an individual. Instead of incorporating make-up, the roaring twenties presented beauty in a more naturalistic form. This included face creams, lotions, powders that helped balance one’s skin tone and to accentuate one’s natural beauty and features. By the end of the decade, the women’s beauty industry has completely transformed for the better. There were many new brands and stores, and women wearing make-up was becoming more widely accepted in social norms.