Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, for which I make a commission if you click and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate and ShopStyle Collective Program member I earn from qualifying purchases.
This 1920s makeup tutorial will have you ready for a night at Gatsby’s, even if that’s just to watch The Great Gatsby movie from the comfort of your living room. Makeup in the 1920s emphasized long eyelashes, defined eyebrows, rosy cheeks and scarlet lips. Doll-like features and a youthful appearance were in fashion, much unlike the angled and contoured makeup of today. While a more natural makeup look was favored for day, this look is inspired by 1920s film star makeup.
What I’ve missed most during the pandemic is getting dolled up to go out dancing and carefree nights of cocktails and making new friends. Inspired by flappers and glamorous film stars, I created this dramatic 1920s makeup tutorial to bring a little of that vibrant spirit of the Jazz Age into my life.
1920s makeup tutorial
1920s eye makeup
Eye makeup in the 1920s was all about achieving the wide-eyed, doll-like effect. Here’s how to get the look:
While most women did not wear dark colors of eye shadow during the day, it was popular for parties and with film stars of the time. For this look, I went with a gray smoky eye. Black eye shadow tends to look harsh on my very fair skin so I prefer gray or deep browns, but you can choose a color that best works for you.
Select a medium to dark gray eye shadow (I used the shade “Charcoal” from the Lorac Pro Palette 2) and sweep the shade across the lid with an eye shadow brush. Blend the color in a rounded shape up toward your eyebrows, rather than bringing it out farther at the corners. This will help achieve a more doll-like look, much different than the elongated eye shadow shading that’s popular today. I find this technique is easier to do with an angled eye shadow brush.
Lastly, apply the same color along the lower lash line using a small eye shadow brush. Blend the shadow for a smoky, rather than precise, look.
Apply a black pencil liner along the top lash line (I use Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner in “Blackest Black”). Use the small eye shadow brush to slightly smudge the eyeliner before it sets.
For an added smoky effect, I use an angled eyeliner brush to apply a black eye shadow on top of the eyeliner. I wet the brush before dipping it into the eye shadow to prevent fallout.
I don’t apply eyeliner along the bottom lash line because we’re going for a doe-eyed look here. However, I do apply NYX Slide On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in “Pure White” to my waterline.
When you look at advertisements featuring women and photos of movie stars from the 1920s, one thing that stands out is how long their lashes are. This can be achieved with false lashes, of course, but I rarely feel like making the effort to deal with that! However, I have worn PUR PRO Eyelashes in “Diva” and liked the look; they’re also relatively comfortable to wear.
To get a similar look, apply a lengthening mascara, like Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara. Concentrate most on the lashes in the center of your eyelid, rather than on the outer lashes.
The trend for eyebrows in the 1920s was long and thin. Instead of plucking out all of your beautiful brow hairs, I suggest using a brow pencil to fill in any sparse areas and elongate the brow. Draw the brow sloping downward instead of emphasizing the brow arch.
I use CoverGirl Easy Breezy Brow Micro Fine Fill + Define Pencil to get the desired shape, then use the spoolie end to smooth and shape my brows. Of course, my turban hat covers most of my brows here, so I didn’t spend too much time on them.
Bright pinks and reds were popular blush colors in the 1920s. To get the flapper look, apply a bright blush to the apples of your cheeks. This will give the face a more rounded appearance. A light hand won’t do here; go heavy and high! It was thought that applying blush high on the cheeks gave the youthful appearance desired at the time.
I like theBalm Hot Mama! Shadow/Blush, which is described as a peachy pink, but looks more bright pink on my fair skin.
Another signature of 1920s makeup is accentuating the Cupid’s bow when applying lipstick. The easiest way to do this is to take a tube of lipstick and make a small “x” on your Cupid’s bow, starting at one point at the top of your lip and moving the lipstick downward in the opposite direction, then repeating on the other point of your Cupid’s bow. Then fill in the rest of your lips with the lipstick.
Concentrate the color in the center of your lips; you can even extend the color on your bottom lip a bit below where your natural lip ends. You don’t have to go all the way to the corners of your mouth. The goal is to get a doll-like pout instead of emphasizing the width of your lips.
As for colors, red, orange-red and rose were popular lipstick colors in the 1920s. Dark red lipstick was also popular for the evening. I’m wearing Kosas Weightless Lip Color in “Fringe”, a brick red, for a more dramatic look. I also really like Besame “Forever Red” Lipstick, inspired by lipstick colors specifically from 1925. See more suggestions in my post on the best red lipsticks for fair skin.
And now I’m ready for my close-up!
Shop the look:
Save this post to Pinterest:
Get vintage style and beauty tips by following The Dapper Dahlia on Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
For more flapper-inspired beauty, check out my half moon manicure tutorial.