The Roaring Twenties…in Make-Up!

During the first 20s ivory or hell colour cream was used from most women. Later, during the mid-decade, a special dust whose colour was looking like the skin’s one – brighter and more luminous – began to become popular. As regards make-up colours it has to be told that red, pink, orange and raspberry had become the very “musts” of make-up.

By mid twenties women began to wear strong and iridescent red lips, deep brown, orange and plum. Nuances had changed during the last years of the twenties’ decade. New trends were represented by raspberry red, pale pink and heller red.

Lipstick was applied confering to the lips a little heart shape, by highlighting the more coloured middle zone of lips rather than the sides. Generally for eyes was used a strong dark make-up. In order to obtain this effect it was applied a special eye-liner on the whole eyelid’s lenght, making the dark grey eyeshadow vanished on the eyelids. Besides grey, other colour tones, like for example green and turqoise were in vogue.

With some kajal-pencils (at that time there were obviously other more self-made pencils which were the exact equilavent of our kajal) the eyebrows were highlighted to enhance them a little bit more.

Lipstick became widely popular after Maurice Levy’s 1915 invention of the metal lipstick container. It was available in salve, liquid, and stick forms, and long-lasting, indelible stains were the most popular. “Natural” lipgloss was also invented, which used bromo acid to create a red effect as it reacted with the wearer’s skin. Finally, flavored lipstick was also popular, with the most popular variety being cherry.

In the 1920s, different products were also developed that showed the decade’s preoccupation with shaping the mouth. Metal lip tracers, made in various sizes to satisfy the wishes of the wearer, were developed to ensure flawless lipstick application. Helena Rubinstein created a product called “Cupid’s Bow,” that billed itself as a “self-shaping lipstick that forms a perfect cupid’s bow as you apply it.  The development of the mirrored lipstick container in the 1920s also points to the importance of shaping the lips through the application of lipstick.

During the 1920s, the messy elixir blushes of past years were replaced by creams, powders, liquids, and rouge papers. Powder blushes became more popular after the invention of spill-proof containers and the compact. Indelible blushes, like indelible lipsticks, were popular.

As regards the nails it was common to spread the nail polish only in the middle zone of the nail, keeping the lower side to be just transparent.  

The Twenties were the Charleston era as well. While it developed in African-American communities in the United States, the Charleston became a popular dance craze in the wider international community in the 1920s. Despite its origins, the Charleston is most frequently associated with white flappers and the speakeasy. Here, these young women would dance alone or together as a way of mocking the “drys,” or citizens who supported the Prohibition amendment, as the Charleston was then considered quite immoral and provocative.

Charleston was commonly danced by the so-called flappers. The term flappers in the 1920s referred to a “new breed” of young women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms. Flappers had their origins in the period of liberalism, social and political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of the First World War, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

The flapper look required ‘heavy makeup’ in comparison to what had been acceptable. Flappers tended to wear ‘kiss proof’ lipstick. With the invention of the metal lipstick container as well as compact mirrors bee stung lips came into vogue. Dark eyes, especially Kohl-rimmed, were the style. Blush came into vogue now that it was no longer a messy application process.

Originally, pale skin was considered most attractive. However, tanned skin became increasingly popular after Coco Chanel donned a tan after spending too much time in the sun on holiday – it suggested a life of leisure, without the onerous need to work. Women wanted to look fit, sporty, and, above all, healthy.

Recently the Charleston era had a new revival, both under the make-up perspective and the fashion. Here below are some attempts in order to take those roaring years towards a new life, even if a little bit revisited. Actresses, fashion-designers, advertisers and make-up artists are all fascinated by smokey eyes and dark make-up!


~ by makeupyourlife on June 29, 2010.

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