Friday, 18 February 2011

Make-up in the 1940's- powder and rouge

I love reading make-up tricks from past times and I don't think I'm the only one. The look in the 1940's were rather simple, subtle eyes and strong cheeks and lips, but of course there were a lot of do's and don't when it came to make-up technique. This post and the next will take material from a Swedish beauty book from 1946, Skönhet by Vivan Huber. It's written with the Swedish woman in mind, but trends and fashions are similar to the rest of Europe, as well as US, of the time. Today's post will be on powder and rouge, the next one will cover lips and eyes.

The chapter on make-up begins with stating that making sure she is as beautiful as possible is one of the most important things for a woman to strive for and make-up is an excellent aid. Not too any excess, but if it's applied tastefully and correctly, then make-up is always a good thing. When choosing colours it is important to consider several things. Time of day- one can wear more make-up in the evenings. Dark women can wear more make-up as well. One should also consider ones age, shape of face and colour on clothing.


Powder needs something to stick to, so some kind of base needs to be applied first. Cold creme that isn't too fat or even oil- take time and find something that suits your particular skin. Then choose the finest milled loose powder you can find and choose a colour that suit your skin tone. If your face is very red some green can be added (for evening make up) and a little brown to even out the colour. Also for evening- powder your nose with powder that is fairer than the rest, but take care so the contrast don't get noticeable. In summertime add some brownish-orange hue to allow for a tan. If you feel your skin tone is too dark, then it will appear lighter if you first powder your face with powder darker than your face, and then with a powder that is lighter in tone.

Powder is best applied with swansdown puff, dip it in the powder and shake of the excess. Then powder nose, brow, cheeks, chin and throat and neck, in that order. It is recommended to use a second, clean, puff, to remove any excess. There is also liquid powder, but don't use that in the face, but only on the arms and possible on the neck. Pressed powder isn't used much nowadays and is really only justified when it is red and used as rouge.

Rouge is the most important part of your make up, but colour and application must be right. Normal face-shape Pat your cheeks and then apply rouge were your cheeks got red. A general rule is that a broad face should have a more narrow shape on the rouge than a thin one. Long, narrow face-shape Place the rouge high on the cheekbones and blend towards the ears. Never apply close to the nose. The rouge should be applied heavier closer to the eyes and the edge of the cheekbone. shorten the face with applying a little rouge on the chin. Broaden the face with rouge on the earlobes. Broad face-shape Place the rouge close to the nostrils corner of the eye triangular shape, the point toward the mouth and not broader than three fingers width at the top.

If your eyes are too far apart, then put a little red in the inner corner of the eye (only for evenings). If you have a double chin, then powder it with pale pink powder, or with ordinary powder, if you do it before you powder your face. In the evenings the rouge can be more yellow in tone, to better suit candle light.

Powder can be found dry, loose or pressed, as a creme or liquid. What you use is a matter of taste though here (in Sweden) dry or creme is more common. Dry rouge is easiest to apply or remove, but creme rouge looks better in the evenings. Liquid rouge is tricky to apply and should only be used if you are very certain of your technique. Here (in Sweden) dry rouge can only be found in pressed form and is applied by rubbing a ball of cotton against the rouge and the applied to the face, after you have powdered it, Creme rouge on the other hand should be applied before the powder. Put a small amount in the palm of your hand, warm it a little with your fingertips and then apply it. Liquid rouge is applied even even before you apply the base to your face!

Hoep you found this interesting!


Cinquefoil said...

Thank you! I've been thinking about 40's make-up a lot lately as a hoping to make some dresses using repro patterns from that era as well. can't wait to hear more!

Isis said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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