Looking at some of the strange trends we have today, honestly, it’s difficult to remember a time when makeup was kept simple. Whilst I was scrolling through my Insta feed, I noticed that a lot of MUA accounts feature some quite creative pieces; whether it’s studded lips, multi-lined eyes or what… I’m hooked! I’m not quite at that skill level but I plan on practicing out of interest in what I could come up with.
I see makeup as not just as a way to cover blemishes and dark circles but also as an expression of art. With this in mind, I decided to ask my great-Gran about makeup back when she was younger and it proved to be an interesting conversation! Whilst she doesn’t really bother with makeup now, my gran was once a very glam lady. Her main goal was to look like a film star, namely Rita Hayworth and Betty Grayble, and her look was definitely noticeable! In the 50’s/60’s, Max Factor was the main brand and there was little else in the way of variety.
Many in the North East (I’m not sure about anywhere else!) used Vaseline and soot as mascara, though that did come with the issue of smudging. Other than that, girls used powder, lipstick and occasionally eyeliner and that was the standard look. My gran says that it’s a shame that they didn’t have any of the dewy foundations back then because she wasn’t keen on matte makeup. Green and blue were the only colours available for eyeshadow and so it was difficult to get creative as we do now. To achieve the film star look, voluminous hair and lengthy lashes were required – I’ve been told that this wasn’t easy and you would have had to go to a stage shop in Blackpool if you wanted the good stuff. If women didn’t have pre styled hair pieces or a wig, they were seen at work wearing their rollers with a scarf covering them over which was standard before going out at night.
This just all goes to show how far we’ve come and how creative we are when we get inspired! Whilst I don’t plan on trying out a soot Vaseline concoction as mascara anytime soon, I do quite like the idea of the blues and greens for eyeshadow… I’m interested to know if anyone knows anything else about vintage makeup and what they think of this post, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP!