Make Up: A History – Flappers of the 1920s, A Great Gatsby Inspired Tutorial!

A stark contrast to the Edwardian era’s subtle make-up and long hair, the roaring ’20s were extremely racy and dramatic. With harsh make-up and short bobbed hair, the ladies of the 1920s were set to make an immense impression upon the world, and upon the history of beauty. Make-up was scarce during WWI, but the end of the war and the consequential economic boom for many western countries, resulted in a decadent decade of dressing up, dancing and partying. The 1920s are often referred to as The Jazz Age as jazz music and dancing were extremely prevalent.

Flappers were a revolutionary ‘new breed’ of young women from Western countries who wore short skirts, sported short bobbed hair, listened to jazz, wore make up, drank alcohol and partied, smoked, drove cars and worked outside of the home. These ladies audaciously went against the established social norms, and challenged women’s traditional societal roles and were considered an extreme to traditional Victorian gender roles. Not surprisingly, flappers advocated voting and women’s rights. These ladies were a result of the large social changes in the western world; women were able to vote and the religious morals that ruled Edwardian and Victorian eras, had been widely dismissed. This led to women enjoying new-found social and moral freedom.

Flapper girl beauties Louise Brooks, Clara Bow and Josephine Baker were huge icons of the decade. The luxury of the Jazz Age was encompassed in the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, especially The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night.

Get the look!

1. Start with a flawless base. Use primer/eyeshadow primer and foundation, even over your eyelids.

2. Hold a tissue under your eye to catch any eyeshadow, and apply a charcoal or black shadow to your entire lid and blend up to the brow bone. Blending is so important with this look – use a big fluffy blending brush to blend out the eyeshadow. Keep adding layers of eyeshadow until you have your desired look. Build up slowly, as it’s easier to add layers than to take away!

3. Add mascara, and add kohl eyeliner to your waterline.

4. Using an angled brush (I used MAC’s 266) and a dark brown eyeshadow (or black, as the eyebrows in the 1920s were very dark and dramatic) apply to your eyebrows. Exaggerate the top curve of your eyebrow and extend further than your normal eyebrow length.

5. Use a very light blusher (I used Hervana by Benefit Cosmetics) and lightly apply to the apples of the cheeks.

6. Line lips with a very dark lipliner (or black kohl eyeliner pencil) and slightly exaggerate the cupid’s bow. Then apply a dark purple or red lipstick. I used Chanel’s Rouge Hydrabase in shade 36, Lune Rousse. Blot with tissue and keep adding layers, for a dark dramatic look.

For the hairstyle:

1. Start with a side parting and separate off the two sections of hair either side of the parting. Pin the rest of the hair back into a low bun at the nape of your neck.

2. Using a conical hair wand, tightly curl the sections towards your face. Then brush the curls out into soft waves. Add hairspray.

3. Use a fine tooth comb or a backcombing brush to backcomb the waves up – from underneath the hair.

4. Add a sparkly headband or clip!

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Featured image via ShutterStock; Flapper girls image via ShutterStock

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