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20s Makeup

    Nineteen twenties cosmetic application marks the beginning of daily use of make-up by the average woman. While still not greatly accepted by polite society, discrete cosmetic application was beginning to be promoted in beauty culture books published during this decade. In order to reproduce accurately cosmetic application appropriate for daytime during the 1920s, one would need the following products:

crème rouge for cheeks
face powder
lip rouge (lipstick)
eyebrow brush or eyebrow pencil
brow and lash darkener (brow shadow/mascara)
eyelid darkener (eyeshadow)

    As the quality and texture of cosmetic products have changed in the last 80 years certain accommodations will have to be made. Foundation and concealer, widely used today as a method of evening out the coloring of the skin, was not in use during the 1920s. If you feel that you require these products in order to be comfortable in public, I would use them, however, sparingly. The look of the 20s, while cosmetics were used was decidedly natural.


    Proper application requires not only the correct method, but also procedure. A basic rule of thumb is all liquid based products are applied before any powder based products. If you use a crème or liquid based rouge you will apply this first. Powder-based rouges seem to be more widely available today. If you are using powder-based rouge, you will be applying it after you powder your face. Depending on the base of your rouge, you will either be applying powder or rouge first and the other product after.


    Powder is applied with a puff. Load your puff with powder that is a color closest to your natural skin tone. Press gently into the surface of your skin. Lightly brush off any access with a cotton ball. If you are using powder-based rouge, dab a cotton ball into the rouge and apply to the "apple" of the cheeks. The "apple" is the circular pad of flesh at the tip of your cheekbone that is created when you smile. Smile hard while you apply by pressing rouge to the "apple" of your cheeks in a circular motion blending to nothing at the perimeter of the "apple".


    If you are using a crème or liquid based rouge, apply rouge in a circular motion to the "apple" of your cheeks blending well. Remember the coloring created should look natural. Then apply powder in the method described above.

Eyes and Eyebrows

    In order to dress the eyes, first brush the powder out of your eyebrows with an eyebrow brush (small, stiff brush like a toothbrush) dipped in water. While the refined look of the 20s promotes the plucked brow look, one can create a streamlined brow look with proper grooming and shaping of the brows. You may use a cake brow shadow or eyebrow pencil to slightly darken and refine the brow line. With a damp eyebrow brush, load the bristles with color two shades darker than your natural hair color. Apply the color to the hairs of your eyebrows careful not to touch the skin. Touch the outer edges of your eyelashes with this same brush. Make sure the paste created with the shadow and damp brush dries a bit before application otherwise the hairs will stick together. You may alternatively use an eyebrow pencil and liquid mascara.


    Lips of a healthy color add youthfulness to the mouth, and lipstick should be used to some extent by all mature women for street and evening make-up. A bright color may be used at night, but for daytime a subdued tint is always in better taste. The lipstick should match the cheek rouge. To apply it, the lips should be parted so that both the inner and outer surfaces may be colored. Outline the cupid's bow, shading to the corners of the mouth.

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