Josephine Baker’s Dark Lip & Smokey Eye

Josephine Baker wax statue.
JStone /

“I’m not intimidated by anyone, Baker remarked once. “Everyone is made with two arms, two legs, a stomach, and a head. Just think about that.”–Josephine Baker

Of course, among the many aspects that intrigued the world from the lovely Josephine Baker, a prominent memory was her “banana dance,” where she brandished a skirt consisting of 16 bananas strung creatively together. Among the myriad of tributes paid to the late, great Josephine Baker, the most striking are Beyonce’s homage paid via her “Deja Vu” video, and the lovely tribute to JB by Prada, with their Spring 2011 Collection and its proverbial tip of the hat to her all-time greatness. And, what about her amazing jazz age beauty that seduced hearts and minds every time and every place where she performed?

Josephine Baker’s Signature Attributes
Missouri-born Baker, with her dark skin and waif-like silhouette experienced mostly resistance initially during her efforts to showcase her talents and make it big in the U.S., but once she hit Paris, she won outstanding acclaim and iconic status for having the looks to back up her supreme talent. She became the sensation of all Paris, during the 1920s era. She could rock that whole slicked-down hair thing, and together with her absolutely gorgeous smokey eyes and those alluring dark-colored lips, Josephine Baker in all her finery–both natural and added–unequivocally represented the quintessential 20s-era flapper girl. Her signature beauty is a prominently-figured component of any worthwhile attempt to do the whole “vintage” style of the 20s. Josephine Baker was what every woman hoped to be.

Her Hair Look
Josephine-hopefuls of the time were known to use egg whites to achieve that high sheen and sure hold, and women could even buy her beauty products–she was the first black star to market products for achieving her look. These became really popular. There was a product she marketed in a toothpaste-style tube called Bakerfix. Her image was on the pomade’s tube.

Smokey eyes and dark lips

The Josephine Baker Makeup Tricks
Aside from her hair, there’s a lot of contouring and highlighting. Then, begin with a thick line of smudged charcoal gray liner above the eyes, below the eyes and significantly outside of the inner eyes. And surprisingly next–apply deep gray shadow beginning at the lash line and all the way up and above the actual brows to create your own new brow line. While Josephine actually shaved her naturally growing brows away, you don’t have to go that far. Just make sure to sufficiently cover them with that exotic gray “Baker-style” shadow. And from here, you’ll draw in a very thin arc of a brow. Next, line the lips with a black pencil, creating the Baker pointed and stylish shape, and come back to fill in with a black cream eyeliner, going full on thick around the outsides and fading to a sort of pinky color inside where the lips close.

The Trompe L’oeil
This is where you add-in with paint some gorgeous Josephine Baker-styled curls–a big one on the center forehead, and then a few wispy spit curls on either side. Grab a feather boa and a banana skirt, and you’re good to go!

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