1920s makeup tutorial – how to do a Flapper Girl makeup look

1920s makeup

This easy 1920s makeup tutorial will help you get an authentic 1920s makeup look and embrace the flapper girl within. These makeup tips include eyes, lips and cheeks. Let’s party like it’s the Roaring Twenties!

Here’s my video tutorial for a 1920s ‘flapper’ make-up look. The theatrical part of me adores it and it’s a lot of fun to apply, but 1920s makeup is filled with drama and definitely not for everyone. The thing to remember with authentic 1920s makeup is that it is used to alter your face dramatically to the point of distorting it. It’s perfect for fancy dress parties though! Or if you’re just feeling a bit mookish. Enjoy!

Getting The Great Gatsby Look

The early 1920s right through to 1928 were all about theatrical drama when it came to applying makeup. The makeup colours of the Roaring Twenties were strong – think peacock green and plum purple – and the shapes were bold. The 1920s were not a period for daytime looks or a soft smoky eye. If you’re ready to try out The Great Gatsby look, go bold!

1920s makeup for dramatic showgirl eyes

Black, blue and green were typical eyeshadow shades in the 1920s. However, this guide is going to be using predominant shades of dark purple and black.

  • Apply dark gold creme eyeshadow on your eyelid using a brush or your fingertips.
  • Take care not to go over the browbone, but sweep it slightly down the side of the nose.
  • Using a soft and round brush apply gold powder eyeshadow in a darker shade to the crease of the eye.
  • Sweep down the side of the nose and blend with a clean brush.
  • Using a smaller brush apply purple (almost black) eyeshadow to the corner of the eyelid, and blend with a clean brush.
  • Using your fingertips apply golden pink eyeshadow to the middle of the eyelid close to the lashline.
  • Apply beige or metallic white eyeshadow underneath the eyebrow and blend in.
  • Using a firm and thin brush, apply dark gold eyeshadow under the eyes. Then blend in dark purple or black eyeshadow in the lashline with an eyeliner brush.
  • Apply liquid eyeliner to the top lashline.
  • Attach false lashes for a more dramatic look (optional). Individual false lashes were used in this makeup video.
  • Apply an ample amount of mascara, always starting from the base. Rub the mascara wand from side to side and brush outwards.
  • Apply black eyeliner pencil to the upper and lower inner eye area. Smudge pencil gently into the lashes.
  • Brush eyebrows with clear mascara and then fill in with a dark brown brow pencil.

1920s makeup tips for film star Cupid’s Bow lips

  • Apply concealer on your lips to cover up the natural lip line.
  • With a dark red lip pencil, draw the signature Clara Bow shaped lip (she was a 1920s icon, and that shape is what they call a cupid’s bow).
  • Fill in your Cupid’s Bow outline with lipstick – go for red or a dark brown-red, but not pink

1920s makeup tips for a pale, rouged face

  • Apply a loose face powder – either in your skin tone, or one shade lighter.
  • Smudge a very small amount of the same lipstick on your cheeks and blend in a circle on the top of your cheekbones.
  • Using your liquid eyeliner, make a small beauty mark on your cheek (optional).

Your 1920s flapper make-up is now in place (and unlikely to come off again in a hurry, because you’ve trowelled it on. Bravo! It’s time to brush up on your 1920s slang, don your 1920s attire and slip off into the night that awaits…

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In this last pic, one of our beautiful Mook readers took it upon themselves to follow this makeup tutorial through and see what happened. And don’t they look heavenly!

A history of authentic 1920s makeup and the Flapper Look

So how did the Flapper look of the Roaring Twenties come about? It’s said that the Jazz Age was an epoch where women began using makeup to create intentionally artificial-looking faces for the first time, and here’s the reason behind that marked change in the art of beautification.

To begin with, lipsticks and mascara sticks – so commonplace today – had only been popularised in the decade earlier by brands like Max Factor. In the early twenties, everyone finally had access to these makeup staples. However, it’s not enough to have makeup; you have to learn how to apply it, too. You may not be aware of this, but Gordon Selfridge (creator of Selfridges) invented the first cosmetics counter in 1909, and it was a chance for women to try on makeup products before they bought them, with experts showing them how to apply makeup products like cake mascara or swivel tube lipstick for potentially the first time. By the 1920s, makeup counters in stores were more commonplace and there was a thirst for experimentation when it came to beauty. Other makeup innovations included an interest in the use of mascara, greatly inspired by Egyptian mummies, Egyptian culture and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

besame cream rouge besame cake mascara

The authentic 1920s makeup look wasn’t solely due to commercial innovation when it cames to beauty products and marketing techniques. Another key source of inspiration was the cinema and the theatre. Films were a welcome source of escapism, and black-and-white film stars like Clara Bow and Gloria Swanson always wore strong makeup to make the most of that fabulous monochrome contrast, really bringing out their eyes and lips. The theatre was a haven of luxury and entertainment, and showgirls and actresses needed to do their makeup so it could be seen from the back row. No Jazz Age showgirl or actress would be seen dead without her thick brown or black mascara. In fact, they were probably wearing cake mascara from renowned 1920s makeup companies like Besame Cosmetics. If you’re keen for a truly authentic 1920s makeup look, Besame Cosmetics are still creating authentic vintage makeup today!

Main photo: 1920s icon Clara Bow, Argentinean Magazine