Known as one of the Golden Ages of make-up, Polly Smith shows us how the 1950s look still remains as classy and sophisticated as ever
The boom of television sets into households meant that news from Hollywood became readily available, and with this the knowledge and eager anticipation of new fashion and trends! Actresses and models such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren were all heralded for their classic, timeless beauty and women across the world started clamouring for beauty products to emulate this look.
Audrey Hepburn once famously stated that she ‘Believed in pink!’ – This statement probably became the strapline for the decade and perfectly sums up the theme. Moving on from the reds and oranges from the 1920s onwards, pink became the base of which every palette was based.
This was also the era of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis burst onto the music scene with a bang (and his signature knee jerk) and with it came all the hype of glitz and glamour that people had kept hidden away since the war. Ladies were finally able to express themselves through more outrageous fashion, hairstyles and most importantly, make-up.
For the first time, foundation became available to women, replacing the powdered look and allowing a smooth, even mask to blend light rose blusher on. This was a revolutionary change, since this meant that almost every woman could conceal blemishes, both natural and the result of hard work in the fields. Consequently, this also started to decrease the power of the class system – since at a glance all women were on a par.
At the same point, beauty salons were suddenly everywhere, and anyone and everyone would be seen getting their make-up applied professionally. Suddenly, something that was only available to the richest of women became a commonplace – what was previously reserved to Liberty’s of London or Harrods was available in the smaller cities. With this and the increase of party invites due to the end of the war, ladies finally had a good reason to get dressed up and let their hair down. Experimentation with make-up was the universal link that made the world go around and in this decade there was no stopping it.
The deep red lips of the 1940s were replaced by a more subtle, feminine pink with orange or purple tones and cheek colour became less hard rouge and more softly dusted. Lashes were thickly lined with the invention of a girl’s best friend, mascara, and as eye shadow use lessened, it was replaced by a more definite eyeliner along the top lashes.
So, with ever more products on the shelves and online, recreating this look has never been easier – and the best part? It is formed from simple products that make up the blueprint of every woman’s make-up bag. Now, here’s how…
Face: The aim here is to create a matte ‘mask’ effect, however, with make-up far more advanced these days than it was in the 50s, you can get away with using a medium coverage, but don’t forget to blend! Find a colour that matches your true skin colour and then evenly cover. For the cheeks, a light rosy blush* should be applied to the apples and gently sweeping up the cheekbones. Remember, use a light hand here – it’s all about the softness – and finally, dust all over with a loose powder**, this will set your make-up and ensure it stays in place for the day (and night) ahead!
*We love Mac’s Powder Blush in LoveCloud (AED 80)
**Try Benefit’s Matterial Girl Setting powder (AED 85)
Lips: Lips were all about the pink – however a practise called ‘over-drawing’ your lips became huge. This did not count as the Kylie Jenner style pout of today, but more of drawing on a smile. Starting with a lip pencil* near to your lipstick shade, gently draw around your lips, extending slightly and working up at each corner to widen and lift your smile. Then, very carefully fill in with your selected shade of lipstick**, blot and reapply. This will achieve a gorgeous, mega-watt 1950s Hollywood smile every time!
*Mac Lip Pencil in Half Red (AED 60)
**Mac Huggable Lip Colour in ‘I’m in’ (AED 75)
Eyes: Eyes had drama in this decade – but this was not down to smokey eyes and bold eyeliner – this look had everything to do with the invention of a girl’s new best friend: mascara*. Apply it liberally, but stick to the top lashes, in particular the outer corners, to ensure you appear wide-awake and alluring. When it comes to eye shadow, a light shade that is slightly pearled is perfect** – think creams, beiges, taupes and everything in between. Lightly apply up to the arch of your brow and finish with a sweep of eyeliner, again only along the upper lash line and winging up and out ever so slightly at the corners.
*Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Rose Gold (AED 100)
**Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara (AED 66)
How can I make the liner in my eyebrows look natural?
Before you begin, make sure the eyebrows are combed in a nice natural direction. Now, using an angled brush, apply the brow colour in short, hair-like strokes. Follow your natural arch, filling in sparse areas, but don’t overextend your eyebrows outside of their original shape. Run the spoolie over the eyebrows to blur any harsh markings. Then set all your hard work in place with quick swipe of brow wax.
Any particular order that we should follow while applying eye makeup?
I always recommend using the eyeshadow primer first before applying eye make-up for longevity and to avoid creating any crease lines on the eyelids. Then use an eyeshadow that can pop up the colour of your eyes. Using eyeliner makes eye appear larger, then curl your lashes to open up the eyes and finish it off with black mascara!
How do I blend my blush to ensure it looks natural?
If you are using a cream blush, you may use the blender sponge to blend. When applying blush powder, do it in a circular motion with a light-hand stroke so that the base won’t move onto the face. Achieving a natural make-up is to really work your brushes – blend and blend and blend until you can blend no more!