Beauty Makeup

Apply Lipstick Like a 1930s Star

Woman with beautiful lips

Surely, the advent of Hollywood movies and the burgeoning fashion mags for modern women that arrived in full color were responsible for how swiftly and distinctively women’s makeup styles transitioned over the 1930s decade. Names like Elizabeth Arden and Max Factor were well known, and the makeup worn by women of the 30s was greatly refined from the previous decades. Oddly, it was the burgeoning of color motion pictures that necessitated the reformulation of most makeup, as the conventional formulations did funky things under the lighting and in the camera. We have the motion picture industry to thank for many of the aspects of the makeup we wear today, as a result.

Max Factor
Hats off to Max Factor for paving the way in many aspects for women’s cosmetics. MF was the company that brought us the first ever liquid nail enamel, in the 30s. Other 1930s contributions from MF include the development of “Television Makeup” and “Pancake” makeup. It was in 1930 when Max Factor invented lip gloss, which one can only imagine the level of appreciation echoed from all over, in response. During the early 30s, Elizabeth Arden, by introducing many new colors of lipstick to her line, then inspired other makeup companies like Estee Lauder to begin selling lipsticks of a variety of colors in their salons.

The Image That Lipstick Conveyed
When lipstick was worn in previous decades, its use was restricted to those in the theater, as it was deemed way over the top and gaudy, or too cheap for real life women. It wouldn’t truly be until the late 40s and 50s that women would begin painting their lips with bold color. While the glamorous stars who played damsels on the big screen were never shown without lipstick, among the general public, lipstick was regarded as symbolic of flaunting adult sexuality. While young girls in their teen years thought of wearing lipstick as a way to appear grown up, adults looked upon this as outright rebellion. Statistical studies of 1937 family life indicated that over half of all teen girls wearing lipstick being a prominent point of contention in modern families.

The Look of 1930s Lipstick
Women’s lipstick during the 30s became much more accommodating of the entire lip, contrasting the diminished and very pert little bow of the 20s. If you are going for the signature 30s mode of lipstick application, you’ll first need a good lipstick brush. These brushes had sable bristles that were about 1/” to ¼” long, and both then and now can be used to paint the lips. When handled properly, the brush can help you to create the exact lines that distinguish the 30s style of lips. This decade produced lips that featured a new fullness to the top lip, but with a noticeable dip in the very top center. Round finishes off to either side replaced the pointed peaks well articulated in the 20s. The trending 30s colors were dark red, maroon and deeper almost purplish reds.

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