The 1950s were, in my opinion, one of the best times for both fashion and cosmetics. If I were to some up women’s style in the 50s in two words they would be classic and elegant. Some of the beauty icons of the 1950s were Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Doris Day, Lucille Ball, and my personal favorite Audrey Hepburn.
The most common makeup look in the 50s was a simple, feminine with a focus on the lips and eyes.
Look Of The Day
A cream or liquid foundation would be used in a skin tone or a little lighter, followed by a skin toned powder to set. I couldn’t find anything about concealer of the day, but foundation was applied heavily for the “mask effect” so there may not have been as much or a need for concealer. Blush or rouge was used sparingly in pastel and rose shades on the apple of the cheeks and often on the temple and forehead to warm up the face.
Brows were one or even two shades darker and penciled in with an emphasized the arch.
Eyeshadow was usually understated and simple, both matte and shimmer shadows were popular. Only one shade would be used at a time and would typically be applied on the lid and in a slight triangle going out and up towards the brow. Gold shadows were used but pastel pinks and blues were also very popular.
Winged eyeliner can into popularity into popularity early in the decade, so we have the 50s to thank for this trend. Women of the day mostly wore black but I have read that brown and blue were also available. The wing was sharp and small from what I have seen, it was usually about the same length as the lashes. Lashes-
Mascara was subtle and only applied to the upper lashes, mascara applied to upper and lower didn’t come back till the 1960s.
Red lipstick was still going strong, but pink and coral were very much in among younger women of the day, Audry Hepburn is well known for saying” I believe in pink” typically matte with vaseline to add sheen.
Even though I couldn’t find anything about primer being used in the 1950’s I decided to use it anyway, I’m using the NYX Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer.
For foundation, I’m using the L’Oreal Unfallible Pro-Glow foundation in Classic Ivory. I applied it quite heavily to get maximin coverage. I also used a touch of the Physicians Formula Concealer to any spots that the foundation didn’t fully cover, as well as a little under the eyes.
I set my foundation and concealer with the Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder. Blush usage had gone down a lot since the 40s and was now use very lightly on the apples of the cheeks and on the forehead and temples to warm up the face, I used the BareMinerals Absolute Indulgence Loose Powder Blush.
For brows, I used my usual Elf Brow Duo in Medium. In the beginning of the decade, the brows were quite bold with a strong arch and a fine point but still looked natural. By the end of the decade, the brows had become softer and much more natural but still filled in for shape.
I started by priming my lids with the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original, and then use the shade Candle Light from the W7 Beat It! Palette. I applied the shadow all over my lid and followed out towards to create a soft v shape, this help makes the eyes appear larger and more open. Then for the wing! I used the Kat Von D Tatto Liner in Mad Max Brown. I would have preferred to use a black liner for this look, but I don’t actually own one. To form the wing I always start with the flick and create a triangle before finishing off with the lid. I curled my lashes, and then applied two light coats of the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara on the top lashes being careful not to touch the bottom lashes.
And lastly the lips! The lips are what make this look for me, nothing says 1950s makeup more than a bold lip. Although both pink and coral lipstick was popular in the day and would be colors I would be way more likely to wear on a daily basis, I wanted to go for red. Red is a color that I don’t wear very often and I also don’t have a nail polish that matched any of my other lipsticks.
To apply the lipstick I started by lining the lips with a brush and the lipstick, the lips were overlined to make the lips look fuller and the cupids bow was usually quite pronounced. After I lined my lips I filled them in with the Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss in 01.
And of course, we can forget the nails. A women’s nails always matched her lips. This is something I didn’t know and I found it to be really interesting, now I feel like I should work harder at pulling my looks together. For my nails, I used Sally Hansen’s polish in Red My Lips.
I absolutely love this look! It’s actually really close to my normal makeup, take away the red lipstick, add a little highlighter and light contour, and there you have my go to makeup.
I had so much fun researching and creating this look, I learned a lot about the decade both in fashion and makeup.
I would love to do more of this type of post, so if there is an era that you would like to see a makeup post about please let me know in the comments. Personally, I would love to try an Edwardian era look.