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

Ever notice how faces seem to completely change from decade to decade? This will be a multi part article on make up trends in the last 100 years. Each week I’ll talk about a different decade. Makeup is a staple in the everyday lives of many women all over the world. Following ever changing trends that have been set by various celebrity and public figures as well as some crazy ideas that made it mainstream. Each week I’ll discuss a new decade. Lets take a look at how our looks have evolved over the past 100 years.

The 1920’s

I have always loved the faces of the 1920’s. These classic beauties have their dark red Cupid’s Bow lips and precise eyebrows along with their perfected hair styles such as bobs and finger waves all neat and tidied under fancy hats, scarves various other head dresses, and long strings of beads. They had faces like those porcelain dolls beautiful and delicate. They really knew how to accessorize. The makeup they wore in was no different. Fine brows and thick, lush lashes along with red lips lets talk about some of these trends.

The eyebrows in the 1920s was a very fine thin pencil drawn brow. Most often drawn straight with very little to no arch. Eyebrows frame the whole face and also give shape to the eyes. These women always seemed to have such big eyes. They drew their brows past the normal growth of the natural brow. This coupled with the lack of an arch gave the eyes a very oval shape often even with the outer corner pointing downward. There were variations of course and not all of them looked like this but many did.

The eyelids were shadowed and lined but not with today’s cat eye which extends out and up giving the eyes an nice feline like upward look. A line across the top of the lid just from one end to the other was the way liner of that time was used. Many of the looks had darker shadow and mascara was heavier. The shadow would go around the eye in that same oval shape. Women even used odd items to accentuate their lashes. I once read that they would mix coal with vaseline to make a dark gel to use on their lashes. Doesn’t sound smudge proof. Maybe that was the reason for the big, dark eyeshadows nah not really but it makes a good cover for smudges. This strange practice of using odds and ends for makeup is not new. back in Ancient Egypt Cleopatra used crushed bugs. Khol eyeliner was made of something called galena, a mineral crushed into eyeliner it was toxic if one were to breath in the powder. The powder was mixed with animal fat to make it into the make up. Another crazy makeup trend from way back was in Victorian times when they had many crazy ideas. One was using cinnabar rouge. Cinnabar actually is a form of mercury which is completely poisonous to us. Oh the reaches we’ll goto to be beautiful. The really ancient makeup trending is a talk for another time though. Back to the 1920s. Blushes were big bright and vibrant. They had the porcelain looking foundation and the reds on the cheeks contrasted this. The white face with red lips and cheeks was considered the look of healthy women unlike now where the contoured, bronzed and tanned look is the bill of health. As times change looks change. Back then it was the thing for people with riches to be indoors and working class people were out doors all day getting color from the sun. Now working class people are inside offices with fluorescent lighting and people who have money go on vacations to beaches and poolside collecting tans so this standard has completely reversed itself. They would put the rouge on not only the apples of their cheeks but Flappers would also put it on their knees. They did this because they thought it also made them look healthy and they wanted to bring attention to their exposed knees. Another thing they’d do was put the powder puff in the top of their stocking. This would also bring attention to their legs as they took it out for touch ups. This was also a very rebellious trend believe it or not. I‘ve been known to keep things like cell phones and lip gloss in my knee high boots as well but never though for a minute it was rebellious. It was actually very convenient. The lipstick was also dark as the Vampy look was so popular then with the Flappers they did their lips with the precise Cupid’s Bow shape we’ve come to love now. Many used stencils to get this shape. I honestly won’t be surprised if they start marketing lip stencils again but in the rounder more plump shapes we do now. I have seen eyebrow stencils on the market to get the now thicker squared off and angular brows of today. I have also seen eyeliner stencils. I have even been asked if I use a stencil. I don’t but I did try it once for both eyeliner and brows. To me it seemed more trouble than just using a steady hand and some patience. Sometimes old trends can seem odd or weird to us and sometimes they come back in newer variations. Bob haircuts were big in the 1920s and they were also made popular by the Egyptian looks. Bobs were considered an extreme style back then. Can you imagine? Now it’s a conservative style though I have seen artistic variations of this style it’s very often these days not very controversial but in the 20s women were known to be fired from jobs for showing up with bob hair cuts. How things have changed. Now there are more extreme haircuts that will get us fired but certainly not the bob cut.

There were many trends and I know I didn’t cover all of them but these are some of the more well known and one or two of the extreme trends of the 1920s. I kept it at makeup since this is a page about makeup but they had some interesting and crazy trends of all kinds. Next week I’ll talk about makeup trends in the 1930s.