Classic 1940s Marilyn Monroe Inspired Makeup Look

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


A little while ago, I was very kindly asked to hold a bit of a tutorial in order to demonstrate a classic 1940s/50s makeup look for an upcoming event at my university. Of course I obliged! I was very happy to talk about makeup for an hour! I employed my good friend to model the look for me and this is what went down:

First I started with a semi-matte foundation because highlighter and bronzer weren't a huge thing in this time period and I knew I was going to be powdering later. I chose Revlon ColorStay Stay Natural Foundation in 02 Buff which I just buffed into my model's skin [attempting to match our skin tones]. This foundation works well because it's a medium, yet buildable, coverage so it suits this type of occasion quite well.

Then, I concealed with my new favourite concealer, Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless Concealer in 210 Light. This was just to brighten up underneath the eyes but it works on blemishes and to cover redness, as well. It's light but has fantastic coverage and lasts for a really long time! I really can't rave about this product enough: you must try it!

To finish the face I powdered it all with Revlon ColorStay Pressed Powder in Light Medium. I feel that most drugstore powders are pretty much the same and you can't really go wrong in that department.

I didn't do much with the brows because in the 1940s brows weren't very defined. If you have very light brows, then perhaps filling them in would be worthwhile, but since my model had lovely dark ones, I didn't feel the need to. I did, however, set them in place with the trusty Essence Lash & Brow Gel Mascara.

Moving onto eyes I kept it very natural so the main focus fell to the liner and lips. Using a neutral quad, Covergirl Eye Enhancer Quad in Country Woods, I chose the two end shades to define my model's crease. I left the lid bare and didn't highlight but you're welcome to try your luck with either!

Then came the fun part! Eyeliner went a little bit crazy post-WWII. I used Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black. I prefer gel liner because it has a fantastic lasting power but any liquid liner would work, as well. Pencil and kohl seem to be a bit difficult to use when it comes to keeping the end of the wing quite thin.
Using an angled liner brush, I took the liner out quite far from the lash line but kept it thinner to avoid lid-transfer [the dreaded enemy].

To brighten the eyes even more, I used Rimmel ScandelEYES Kohl Kajal Eyeliner in 005 Nude on the waterline. Using a nude liner as opposed to white brightens and widens the eye without being too harsh or unnatural. The effect is quite subtle but I think it makes a difference.

A light coat of mascara to finish the eyes off. Lashes weren't huge in the 40s but you can be pretty creative with them if you like. I used Covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara in Black on both top and bottom lashes, keeping it light on the bottom.

Cheeks I wanted to be slightly flushed so I used L'Oreal True Match Blush in Sandalwood Pink to give the nicest hint of colour without competing with our final attraction: the lips.

Red lips were the thing for a long time during the 40s and 50s so it just didn't feel right to do anything differently! Here's where I pulled out my first non-drugstore product: MAC Lipstick in Russian Red. This is such a classic blue-toned red and I think it would suit almost anyone whereas Ruby Woo and Lady Danger can be a bit specific. A lipliner is a good idea to maintain wear time but I didn't use it in this particular demonstration.

And that's that! Now we're all ready for a fantastic, and historically accurate, party!

Let me know what you think of this look and, if you have any comments or questions, leave them down below!

xx Julia

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