Period Makeup: 1950′s

The start of the timeless ‘Pinup Look’.

After the conservative years of WWII came to an end and the cosmetics industry caught back up with demand, makeup styles took the biggest turn seen to date.  Along with bright coloured kitchen appliances, came bright and shapely makeup, with well defines eyebrows.


The base for the 50′s style makeup was a foundation cream, creating pale but perfectly flawless porcelain skin, almost mask-like complexion which was topped off with natural skin colour powder to set it.


tumblr_mkymza1Bj01rvsnygo1_500The eyebrows were mostly thicker in the inner corner and then tapered out to a clean point, but did vary in style.  Much like we do today.  The inner corner could be rounded or squared.  The accent could be a straight line or pointed to a peak.  A gradual rounded eyebrow was very popular, as was straight.  It was customary to take what you had, tweeze it to a clean line and then use a pencil to darken in and possibly thicken.  The winged/cat eyeliner was a very important part of the decades makeup look, and that too had many variations, from very defined/striking to soft and subtle.  One of the main reasons for the tick was to mimic extra eye lashes at the outer corner of the eye.  The various products on the market included pencil, liquid and gel eyeliner.  By changing the length, thickness, flip/wing/tick and colour, the appearance of the eye and the rest of the makeup changes to accommodate different looks for different occasions.  They mostly used three basic eye shadow combinations:

  • A lighter neutral on lid up to the crease/socket, and white above the socket to the brow.
  • White on the lid, brown/terracotta in the crease, and white under the brow.
  • Turquoise, green or blue on the lid, brown/terracotta in the crease/socket, and white under the brow.

False lashes were sometimes placed on top, with lots of mascara.


Use a warm bronzer below the cheek and on the lower part of the apple of the cheek, to add contouring.  The apples were dusted with a pink blusher, and blended with the contouring to create a well contoured cheekbone with flush, healthy sun-kissed glow.

A soft beauty mark can be added using an eye pencil.  This was inspired by Marilyn Monroe.


UntitledLip shapes, for the average lady, followed the basic shape of the Untitlednatural mouth.  In Hollywood, they began to customise it. They began to taper the fall from the peak to the outer corner for a droop that almost mimicked a pleasant, innocent smile. Sultry movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Sylvia Lopez were over-drawing their top lip for a fuller look.  Lip colours varied from bright red to orange red.


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 The Pin Up done today:

I think the 2 celebrities coming to mind first when thinking of the pin up look would be Katy Perry, Taylor Swift & Christina Aguilera.  But it is not just them.  You see this at basically every red carpet event and fashion show…or at least a variation thereof.

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My interpretation of the pinup look:


 (All images: Google Images)