50s Beauty Advancements

Woman applying hair spray

Particularly due to where the 50s decade came in chronologically–directly following WWII, as a respite from so many ways in which the war had disrupted life as we knew it–the decade was certainly more a time of “everything new” than possibly any other. The 50s was also a time of many leading advancements, with a substantial number of significant breakthroughs that have remained with us throughout the years that followed until now. Some are less known as being attributed to the 50s, while others are forever linked with the 50s, having been used widely to represent the era.

Olfactory Beautification Measures
Surely a form of beauty, though not experienced visually, a nice, odor-free presence is a powerful form of beauty, and it was considered so in the 50s, in much the same way it is regarded today, with a major exception being the prevalent use of a solution that contained aluminum chloride in the most widely used deodorants of the times. It tended to be less easy to use than what we enjoy today, as it took a long time to dry. It was messier too, as you had to apply it with cotton swabs. Probably worse, the formulation was known for literally burning through clothing it came in contact with. Doesn’t sound like anything you would want to use on your skin, huh? Ban Roll-On saved the day, with a gentler formulation and the ball roller application method making applying it a breeze.

New Consumer Motivation
The 50s was a time of the first real wave of masses of consumers buying up skin improving products, with a strong seller being those that claimed to preserve or restore youthfulness to the skin. 1950 was the year when the first non-smearing lipstick was developed and made for sale by the Hazel Bishop company, though Revlon was soon to follow with their 1953 version. While the predominant lipstick shades had been restricted to soft pastel shades more on the pink side, the 50s found a move of more women opting for bolder reds and bolder pinks.

Period Makeup
The prevalent mode of makeup included thick, liquid foundation that was followed by (or set by,) the application of powder. This created an obvious look distinction between those wearing makeup and those not. 50s women wore less eyeshadow, though, and Revlon’s introduction of eyeshadow assortments coming in palettes comprised of two or three different complementary shades gave women a new, innovative way of helping them to achieve a specific look. Many eye shadows contained shimmery effects. Eye liner was a bit softer, and eyebrows were definitely darker than they had been before, and more purposely tapered. Toward the latter part of the 50s, foundations and eye shadows became available in creams. Fresh, healthy cheek color was achieved by rouges in pink.

50s Hair
One of the greatest advancements to hair that the 50s gave women was the creation of hair lacquer, or hair spray as we know it. Once women had the benefit of hairspray, it was now possible for them to get a lot more complicated in their styling efforts, and this is when we saw a lot of height begin to appear in women’s hairstyles. This is when the bouffant became so popular. Other “dos” that hair lacquer enabled were beehives, French pleats and just much fuller hair than before.

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