I'm Obsessed with 1930s Movie Star Makeup, So Here's My Modern Take

And by "modern," I mean I'm not plucking the life out of my eyebrows to emulate a makeup look from 80 years ago.
Publish date:
June 23, 2016
red lips, Flower, eyeshadow, concealer, mascara, 1930s, Stowaway

I've been having a Thing lately: looking at, reading, and learning about makeup through history. And right now, I'm stuck full-stop in the glamour of 1930s film stars. There's just something about the confidence of being really done up when just a few decades before it was very taboo to wear any makeup at all.

This whole look is about contouring the eye to look as round as possible. The starlets of the 1930s were THE trendsetters, and bedroom eyes are basically everything I want plus even more glamour.

I'm doing a slightly more modern twist on this look because — I mean, really — I'm not plucking the life out of my eyebrows to emulate a makeup look from 80 years ago.

Start with an eyeshadow primer if you are a member of #teamoilylids and apply a light wash of a skin-tone or slightly lighter shade all over your lid from the lash line up to the brow bone. This will even out the color of the eyelid, and help with blending later.

Next, take a medium shade that will act as the transition color. This color makes the eyeshadow look much more professional and will make the next, darker, crease color easier to blend so you won't have a harsh, dark line butting up against the light color.

I applied this in my natural crease and blended down. This helps slightly lower the crease and add to the effect of an arched brow and a sleepy doe eye.

Take your darkest shade and apply to the crease. To get the extra-round look, you want to connect this darker shade to the lash line at the outer corner and follow it all the way to the tear duct.

My lids are ever so slightly hooded, so to achieve the roundest effect, I applied the shadow in the crease as best as I could, and then held my mirror so I could look straight out into it with my eyes open. This allowed me to see where the upper part of my lid started to cover the crease so I could add more of the dark crease color there and fake a totally round crease.

Blend out the crease with a fluffy brush, and if you've over-blended across your whole eye like I did, reapply some of the skin tone color to the mobile lid and to the brow bone, being careful not to cover up all that hard crease work.

I then went in with a high-coverage concealer (this one is from Stowaway) and concealed my under-eyes and any odd spots on the face. I do this after the eyeshadow in case there is any fall out.

The liner of the day was sometimes thick, sometimes thin, but it wasn't a cat-eye flick, which is a win for me because I'm baby-stepping my way through liner right now. I took a black pen liner and lined my eyes from the very inner corner to the outer corner and made the line slightly thicker as I went.

This is my favorite part of the whole look: LOTS of mascara. Top and bottom lashes, please, and do a couple of coats.

This Flower mascara has a super-cool brush — one side is bristled and the other is more like a comb, so it helps to do both upper and lower lashes, and you can comb out any clumps.

The finishing touches is a red lip (duh) and false lashes if you so please. The 1930s are when falsies were first starting to become available commercially and the lashy look was IN.

I love that this look can be so modern and easy to shake up. Don't want pencil-thin brows (me neither!), then don't do it! Make it darker, make it lighter, add some color!

  • What is your favorite era of makeup?
  • Any makeup history buffs about?