Makeup trends from the 1920s to today — 100 years of makeup. The 1930s

In this week’s installment we’ll talk about the 1930s era of makeup and some of the trends that came with. Grab a cup of tea or coffee, get cozy and enjoy the article.

The 1920s began the mainstream popularity of using makeup for more than just social status, but the 1930s began perfecting it. With Golden Age Hollywood came Max factor which although established in 1909 they became popular outside of the film industry in the 1930s. They really seemed to define the importance of facial structure and the way makeup is applied to the different parts of the face. In the 20s blushes were worn on the apples of the cheeks to give a healthy look to their otherwise white faces. In the 30s contouring was used more often. Accentuating different features of women’s faces, most often used on cheek to define high cheek bones and hallows too. Elizabeth Arden also came in to play making new shades of lipstick that were previously not popular.

The 1930s makeup trends had women growing out their bobbed haircuts and wearing softer looks that were more feminine. Hollywood starlets were becoming more influential and began The Golden Age of Hollywood. This brought us beauties like Jean Harlow and Vivien Leigh to larger than life on the big screens. Needless to say along with these beauties came styles and trends that were followed by many.

Lipstick was applied with lip brushes so they could define the exact lip line. It also helped to thin out the lipstick since they were very thick and couldn’t just be applied right from the tube. They used reds and corals, though they mostly used red. In the 20s they used darker reds such as burgundy and wines. The reds of the 30s were more classic red and orange reds. They also drew the lip line longer than they used to so they had less pout and pucker. They also eased up the harshness of the looks from the 1920s. Although I said they looked like delicate dolls and they did, their makeup was actually harsh and very dark. In the 30s the look was much softer with eyeshadow they used lighter shades rather than darker blacks they used soft colors such as blue and greens and less eyeliner. Brows were slightly thicker, only slightly and had more of an arch. They also shortened them just a little. They no longer stretched past the natural brow line. They also grew and curled their hair rather than short finger wave and bob styles. Big round soft curls. A simpler yet glamorous look.

The products of the 30s alot of them came in cake form. One type of mascara was a cake mascara though I did actually get to try that once. I didn’t care for it. Maybelline made it and they made it in the 30s too. Pancake makeup also became popular. A form of foundation that came in either a tin or large compact and a sponge. I know it sounds like the compacts we use today but they were larger and the product was heavier. It was a full coverage product. Max Factor still makes this to this day. Cake products usually needed a bit of water added to use.

Maybelline Cake mascara as marketed in the 1930s

Another trend that began showing up is the nail polish. The nail polish of the 1930s was done so the moon at the cuticle would show and they would manicure to match their clothing or lipstick. There was also the double moon look in which they’d leave the top and bottom moons showing so basically it was a few strokes of polish through the middle of the nail. There were a nice variety of colors popular but mostly reds and corals like the lipstick. Nails were kept fairly short. Very different from the long elaborate decorated nails of today.

1930s Double Moon Manicure

Being the timeless look that it has become over the years you can still find many looks of today heavily influenced by the 1930s. From lipstick shades to eyeshadow colors. Even some soft shoulder length big curls. Next week I’ll be talking about the 1940s and the trends to hit that decade. And as always remember with the many numerous trends each decade has I can’t hit them all. These are the more popular ones.