Despite the difficulties of the war years, I’ve always felt drawn to the 1940s. There’s something about that decade that exudes both elegance and determination, and I find the stories of women on the homefront so inspiring. While their brothers, boyfriends, and husbands served overseas, American women went to work in factories and offices and kept both the economy and the war effort going.
And while they often performed very unglamorous jobs, many did so in full makeup and with perfectly styled hair. During this time, makeup sales continued to rise and more cosmetics were sold at drugstores, which added to their accessibility.
According to Glamour Daze 1940s MakeUp Guide, foundation became increasingly popular during the 1940s, and a slightly darker than natural look was preferred. Powder, either loose or pressed in a compact, was used to set the foundation, and cheeks remained bright and rosy as well.
The eyes were really the focus of the wartime face. The 1940s brow was still carefully plucked, and matte eye shadow was used to highlight the crease. By this decade, mascara was quite commonplace, and women also used brown or black eyeliner to enhance their lashes and brows.Red lipstick still took center stage, though other colors like pink and orange-red were also popular.
During the 1940s, manicured nails became quite trendy, and it was common to match your lipstick to your nails every day. Revlon began selling lipstick and nail polish sets in matching colors, and used well known photographers to shoot their full color ads. Some of the original lip and and nail colors are still in use today.
By the 1940s, cosmetics truly became household products, and most teenage girls and women wore some form of makeup. While much of that old fashioned glamour and mystique has long since disappeared, the styles of the World War II era are still popular today.
For my 1940’s look, I decided to try victory rolls. Victory rolls are a style that has always alluded me, even though I have attempted them at least a dozen times. But I have found a device that totally helped in my achievement of what I consider to be the most difficult of all vintage styles: a curl easy pro brush (here). It is this oddly shaped spiky comb and I use the handle to help me wrap the ends of my hair under and then I curl it around and then slip the comb out of my hair and pin. If it sounds complicated, that is because it is. I am thinking of making a video to show you dolls exactly how I do it, but I feel there are so many better videos on victory rolls out there that mine would pale in comparison.
For my makeup I ended up doing almost exactly what I already normally do. I just switched my pale pink shadows for a light brown, and I didn’t use a crease darkener. I also didn’t line my eyes with black liner because that is getting too 1950’s. Of course I kept the red lip. If you scroll back up to the title picture, that is pretty much what I did with my makeup. I like it, but I don’t love it. But for those of you who want to look vintage and natural, I think the 1940’s is the way to go.
Today’s post is a collaboration with Catherine Harper of Walking With Cake and myself. Catherine will be joining us each week as we explore the different makeup looks of each period.