Introduction: Easy 20's Makeup

About: Professional MUA, educator, and Benefit Beauty Artist working in Sacramento & the Bay Area. I specialize in film, print, editorial, glamour, & special FX. FB: In…

In the 1920's, the first movie stars such as Theda Bara and Clara Bow had girls across the globe scampering to copy their signature makeup look. Known as "The Vamp", these hypersexual, hard-drinkin' ladies rocked an exaggerated smoky eye, thin high-arched eyebrows, and a tiny pout of a dark mouth. In this tutorial I show you how to get a look worthy of any party at West Egg!

Step 1: Apply a Smoky Eye Base

Begin with your eye makeup. As this is an extra-smoky eye, there will likely be lots of fallout that would be difficult to remove if you had applied your foundation first.

Apply an eyeshadow primer, then blend a kohl or kajal pencil all over your lid, in your waterlines, and on your lower lashline. Blend it out with a smudge pencil. This will provide a darker base for your eyeshadow to stick to and will give you that greasy-smoky eye look that was prevalent in the 1920's.

Step 2: Apply Eyeshadow

Next, apply a satin-finish charcoal gray eyeshadow all over the upper and lower lids. (I'm using Lorac's Truffle Delight Smoky Eye Shadow palette, but all of these colors are easily found elsewhere.) Blend it out all the way up to your browline, keeping it in a circular shape instead of the almond shape that is currently favored.

Pat black eyeshadow all over the upper lid and along the lower lashline. Blend it into the crease.

Pat a shimmery midnight-purple shadow into the direct center of each lid.

Other eyeshadow colors that were popular during the era: turquoise, emerald-green, midnight purple, grays, and warm browns.

Step 3: Apply Foundation

Clean up any extreme fallout with a moisturizer-soaked cotton bud (you still want your eyeshadow to blend further down your undereye area than you normally would blend for a modern smoky eye). Apply a full-coverage, matte-finish foundation in one shade lighter than your own skin. To be period authentic, use Max Factor's pancake stick foundation-- it was the first foundation created for film, and was used by movie stars for decades!

Powder heavily with a translucent powder. To get that matte-velvet finish popular in the era, shake a bit of powder into a powder puff and "pat" the powder into the skin, or roll your powder brush in your powder, shake off excess, and press/roll the powder into your face. This keeps the motion of the powder brush from disturbing the foundation underneath and allows more powder to be applied to the face.

Step 4: Contour Your Cheeks

Contouring was not used in the 1920's, but you can contour your cheeks in a "U" shape to give you more of an apple-cheeked face shape like Clara Bow's.

Step 5: Apply Blush

Swirl blush onto only the apples of your cheeks. Deep berry and rose tones were prevalent for the period.

Step 6: Draw Your Eyebrows

To be 100% period-authentic, you would want to either shave or wax your eyebrows completely off and then draw them in, but unless you want to rock that look every day for a loooooong time (it's extremely difficult to make eyebrows grow back once they've been overplucked/waxed), I'd recommend either just blocking them out or defining them in a modified way.

I simply took my brow pencil (Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette) in a shade slightly darker than my eyebrows and exaggerated the arch and the tail in a thin line, without filling my eyebrows in whatsoever. The shape you'll be going for is an upside-down U.

Step 7: Draw in Your Lips

Put concealer, a product like MAC's Lip Erase, or a lip primer in a nude shade all over your lips. Using a freshly-sharpened lip pencil, outline and fill in your lips in a bow shape-- overdraw your Cupid's bow and the bottom of your bottom lip, and leave the outside edges of your lips undefined. You will look like you have your lips permanently puckered.

Fill in your bow shape with your pencil and blend with a lip brush. Then apply a matching lipstick shade on top of your lip pencil.

Lip colors authentic to the era are deep browns and darkened berry tones (boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry).

Step 8: Do the Charleston!

Curl your lashes, apply loads of black waterproof mascara, and your makeup is done! To complete the look, style your hair in fingerwaves or a short bob topped with a bejeweled headband or turban, throw on plenty of long necklaces, and wear a shift dress.