Makeup trends from the 1920s to today — 100 years of makeup. The 1950s

Welcome to the fourth installment of 100 years of make up. The 1950s. Today we’ll talk about the makeup trends and looks of the 1950s.

Makeup in the 1950s took an interesting turn. There were some amazing new introductions to the cosmetics industry and women were given more choices. With the war ending in 1945, improvising items needed for everyday beauty was no longer necessary. Big brands started using models to advertise their products rather than the beauties of the silver screen. Lets take a look at the 1950s and what was happening in the world of cosmetics at the time.

The look of the 1950’s had a warmer look than previous decades. With darker shades of foundation and pastels for eyes. a heavier eyebrow and lots of lashes.

Women used mascara and eyeliner to accentuate their eye shape. They would line around the eye going along the top and often making winged points to create a cat eye look. They’d put mascara and sometimes add extra lashes to give a more dramatic look, and while eyeshadow was used more sparingly. They applied it to the lids only and in small amounts. Blush was applied to the upper cheek bones and foundations and face powder was applied heavier.

The 1950s also brought us some interesting new inventions in the makeup world. Revlon introduced the tube mascara the way we know it today. Liquid eyeliner was also introduced in the 1950s.

Red lipsticks were still popular but pink became the main color women liked to wear and full lips were the preference. Lip pencils were used for outlining and shaping lips also allowing to create a fuller lip. Another way lip colors were chosen depended on hair color. Orange based reds went with lighter hair colors and blue and purple based reds went with dark hair. Blush was lighter as well. Rather than wearing intense red rouges women wore lighter pink blushes. Foundation was applied fairly thick. Pancake makeup also became popular. Due to it’s concentrated thickness it was very good at covering blemishes and evening out skin tone. The color would be the closest to skin’s natural color, but a shade darker rather than the shades lighter used in earlier decades. Finishing powder was used over the foundation for setting a giving the face a matte look.

Eyeshadow was worn only one color on their top lid and very minimal. Pastels were thepopular shades everyone liked. Eyebrows were heavier with a strong arch. One trend that became popular in 1954 was an eyebrow trend called the exotic eyebrow or the Mandarin eyebrow. A regular shaped brow would have an outward and up turned curve at the end. Another big trick used back in the 1950s and still used today is to add white eyeliner to the bottom waterline. This was done to give a wider, brighter and more awake look.

Mandarin Eyebrow trend of the 50s

Something else really amazing happened with makeup in the 1950s, makeup for women of color became a huge market. In previous decades smaller companies catered to darker women. In the 1950s however large mainstream companies started making dark shades of foundation and powder and shades of eyeshadows and lipsticks that complimented darker skin tones. Shades made special for darker skin tones were put on the market. Magazines printed for women of color featured the ads for these products.

Magazine ad for Maybelline

Some of the iconic movie stars that heavily influenced the looks of the time are Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood and Kim Novac. fashion models included Dorian Leigh and Suzy Parker. Next time we’ll be looking at the makeup trends of the 1960s.

Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn