During the 1930s, many looked to the silver screen and the introduction of speaking film roles for inspiration for makeup and hair styles. Gorgeous starlets such as Greta Garbo and Carole Lombard were an inspiration to working class women of the American Great Depression, showing that despite tough financial and economic times beauty could still be widely achieved. The main trends that makeup and beauty took during the 1930s will be illustrated here alongside colour palettes that can work for your eye and skin tones so that you too can achieve a beautiful made up visage such as the starlets of this bygone era!
The look of the 1930s began with a solid colour base, applied using a heavy powder in a base shade of ivory or light mauve. This was further highlighted by a pale pink blush applied to the apples of the cheeks to give the effect of a “tea rose” complexion. This look was continued long into the decade and in the late 30s (probably ‘38 onwards) rouge with undertones of raspberry was introduced to the cheekbones of ladies to create a “fresher” appearance. As far as eyebrows were concerned; shaved or barely there was the desired appearance. If eyebrows were drawn on, they were often extended far wider than the regular brow- often reaching to the temples. Eyebrows were also then dressed with petroleum jelly, olive oil or other shiny liquid substances in order to keep them well maintained and glossed. Moreover, eyelids were dressed in vivid shades, furthering from the blacks and grey eye shadows brought to light throughout the 1920s.
Shades used by women in the 1930s related directly to eye colour such as greens and browns on blue eyes and purples and cool shades on brown eyes. It was during the 1930s that shading was widely publicised through beauty advertisements, allowing for the crease of the eyelid to be darker than the rest of the surrounding eye area. False eyelashes were also widely used during this period; often curled upwards in a dramatic fashion. As far as lips were concerned, fuller was better! Many women pencilled in their lip line, often extending their cupids bow to appear longer and more curved – such was deemed a “rosebud” or “Crawford smear” mouth. Popular shades here were often bold and bright, such as raspberry pinks or the more famously known post box reds. Ultimately, the 1930s stand alone as a makeup turning point; the predominant decade of the introduction to colour. Despite the harsh realities of war torn countries and the Depression, women of all social classes battled on with a brave face and a brightly shaded pout! Hollywood provided a much needed release from the drudgery of every day life; and to the outside world women from the 1930s were glittering, glamorous and fabulous!
Until next time,
“Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.” ~ Mae West