While we may think of outdated hairstyles as something to make fun of they are actually an important part of popular culture and can tell us a lot about history – just as much as fashion can. Most time periods can be easily identified by not only the fashions worn, but the way people wore their hair as well. We tend to think about this in terms of only recent history, when throughout history men and women have been obsessed with hair and with how to cut and style it.


The 1900s make-up revolution really took off with the style of the flapper. The new heavy make-up look was a reaction to the demure Edwardian era and women were increasingly driven by marketing through cinema and advertising.

The inventions of the 1910s of mascara, lipstick, eye-shadows, pan-sticks, powder compacts by leading innovators such as Max Factor, Maurice levy and TL Williams the founder of Maybelline were now to be found on dressing tables and women’s handbags all over the developed world.

Gone were the poisonous lead sculpture and mercury concoctions of earlier years. Now it was time for nice girls to be bad. The popular foundation look was still pale, with plenty of rouge lip color and kohl eye shadow.


Cosmetics in the 1920s were characterized by their use to create a specific look: lips painted in the shape of a Cupid’s bow, kohl-rimmed eyes, and bright cheeks brushed with bright red blush.

From the middle of the twenties on lips were colored in deep red, deep brownish reds, plum and orange. The shades changed later at the end of the twenties. Colors like rose, raspberry and medium red were new trend.

Lipstick was applied as a “Cupid’s-Bow” (Armor’s Bow) to the upper lip. Also the lower lip was exaggerated a bit and the width of the lips de-emphasized a little.

glamourdaze -1940s lipstick1

Usually eyes were held quite dark. To get this effect the whole eye was edged with a black eyeliner and then the margins blured easily. The eyelid shadow was often painted in dark gray. Besides gray, colors like turquoise and green were also in fashion. To further emphasis of eyes eyelashes were also painted black.

Very popular were thin, black and downward sloping eyebows which were inked with a black or brown eyeliner. The fingernails were painted only in the nail center. The half-moon and nail tip were left bare and white.