1940s makeup

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The classic 1940s look is all about practical feminity. With all the young men away at war, women benefited from more freedom to work and provide for themselves. The war made many luxuries impossible but it was said that red lipstick was as essential to women as tabaco was to men. What emerged was a look focused around a simple red lip for a strong independent woman.

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SKIN

The practical gal of the 1940s didn’t have time for layers of strange lotions. An outdoorsy, healthy glow was the aim. To replicate the look, use a sheer tinted moisturiser and concealer just where needed.

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BLUSH

For a super genuine effect, pat some of your lipsticks onto your cheeks before using a little powder to set your oily areas.

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EYES

Simplicity is key with this look so avoid frosty ivory colours that are much more 1950s va va voom. Keep your eyelids close to your natural skin colour, just a touch of foundation and powder should do the trick and maybe add a soft sweep of blush or bronzer to give some contour to your socket.

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BROWS

Most 1940s icons had softly arched brows that featured minimal plucking. The ideal brow would be bushy and have a natural texture (ie: gaps between the hairs) with just a touch of pencil to strengthen the angular arch at the highest point of the brow.

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LIPS

This is where it’s all at ladies. I don’t believe in “makeup rules” but in golden ages of advertising gobbledygook there was a perfect shade of red for every type of woman. For a genuine 1940s approach, let your hair colour dictate the shade of red you choose.

BLONDE – Pink or Coral Toned Red

BRUNNETTE – Raspberry or Pillar Box Red

BLACK – Plum or Scarlet

REDHEAD – Coral or Apple Red

Helena Rubinstein Color Chart