Makeup trends from the 1920s to today — 100 years of makeup. The 1940s

Hi everyone. Welcome to the third installment of my 100 years of make up . This week we’ll talk about the 1940s and the trends that came with. From the popular to the weird and there’s always just a bit of weird in one way or another. Lets take a look at the 1940s.

In the 1940’s makeup took a more conservative and soft turn. Eyebrows were heavier and round or arched either. The new trends left alot of room to work with the shape rather than a rigid straight line. Dark eyeshadows were replaced with light pastels. They also changed their all around the eye look for a more simple top eye lid only look.

Lipstick was always put on with a brush but in the 40s the roll up tube was introduced. The tubes were quite fancy too. Bright reds were most popular but all shades of red was used, not just dark wines or bright ruby. Every red you could think of was used. Brights being most popular.

1940s Vintage lipstick tubes

Foundation was a very popular make up item. Rather than use a shade or two lighter or going for the white face women used darker face makeup. Usually a shade darker. They used it to smooth the skin tone and warm up their shade. Blushes were applied to the apples of the cheeks and instead of just coloring the apples the color was pulled back along the the the hallow up to the hairline. The shades of blush used were bright pinks, reds and even orange.

In the 1940 mascara came in cream form rather than the cake form used in previous decades. It came in a small squeezable tube that came with a little brush applicator sometimes like the wands we use today but much smaller and sometimes like the ones that came with cake mascara. Waterproof mascara was also introduced. An invention I’m grateful for.

One very interesting fact to note is that WWII had quite an impact on things including cosmetics. Due to rationing for the war things got difficult to get and became either unavailable or more costly to obtain for everyone else. This included makeup products and their ingredients. With this being said women were still expected to and wanted to look perfect and glamorous. It was after all their patriotic duty. Some of these improvisations included using beet juice to color their lips and burnt cork for mascara. Due to these limitations there were very few shade to use. The red lipstick however was one main staple that didn’t go anywhere.

WWII Propaganda directed at making women wear makeup as a patriotic gesture

Hair was curled and pinned back and many women covered their heads with scarves and kerchiefs since they worked around machinery and they didn’t want their hair getting caught up in the machines.

When someone mentions stockings I don’t generally think of makeup. During the war this was a different story. Due to the nylon used in stockings being used for war efforts there were no stockings. Women improvised by using pancake makeup to cover their legs and even the tone just like on their faces and then painted the seam down the back using gravy brown. Something used to ad color to soups and gravy.

Makeup artist from Max Factor painting a woman’s legs to look like stockings.

Once the war was over the makeup industry did better once again. Over time more variety became available. Some of the brands that were big in the 1940s were Helena Rubinstein, Maybelline, Elizabeth Arden and Estée Lauder. I’m sure there were others as well but these were the biggest names back then and they’re still big today.