How to Apply 1950s Makeup

by Mary Avant

Blame it on our never-ending love affair with classic style icons like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren, but '50s-era beauty looks are making a major comeback. From the red lips and perfect complexion to the flawless and sexy cat eye, here's exactly how to get that super-sultry pin-up look that simply never goes out of style.

Items you will need

  • Makeup primer
  • Foundation brush
  • Tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or other lightweight foundation of choice
  • Concealer
  • Powder brush
  • Loose translucent powder
  • Bronzer
  • Blush
  • Brow brush
  • Brow powder
  • Eyeshadow brush
  • Beige cream eyeshadow
  • White powder eyeshadow
  • Taupe powder eyeshadow
  • Liquid eyeliner
  • Mascara
  • Red lip liner
  • Red lipstick, to match
  • Clear lip gloss (optional)
Step 1

Starting with clean, moisturized skin, apply a pea-sized amount of makeup primer over your entire face. The primer helps fill fine lines and wrinkles, creating a smooth surface for your makeup.

Step 2

Gently pull your eyelid taught, then use liquid eyeliner to draw a thin line across the lid, staying as close to the lashline as possible. When you come to the outer end of your lashes, create a winged effect by sweeping eyeliner up toward your temple in a diagonal direction. Repeat on the other side, then finish with two coats of mascara on your top lashes, focusing on the outer lashes.

Step 3

Apply a pea-sized amount of foundation onto the back of one hand. Dip a foundation brush into the product, then buff it onto your face in a circular motion until it's applied in a light, evenly distributed layer. Apply concealer to the under-eye area and other dark spots. Finish the base by dipping a powder brush in loose translucent powder and applying it evenly all over your face.

Step 4

Using a powder brush, gently sweep bronzer over your cheekbones, across your forehead and down your nose. Next, apply a pink blush to your cheeks, giving yourself a natural flush. For bold pin-up-girl eyebrows, use an eyebrow brush to fill in and contour brows, giving them a slightly arched shape.

Step 5

Dip your eyeshadow brush into the beige cream eyeshadow, then apply it over your entire eyelid, repeating on the other lid. Next, apply the white eyeshadow (one with a little shimmer is best) along the eyelid, eyebrow bone, and inner corners of your eyes. Finally, buff the taupe eyeshadow into the outer crease of each lid, working in a half-C motion from the top of the lid to the base of your eyelashes.

Step 6

Trace along the edges of your lips with a red lip liner, then lightly fill in the outline to evenly cover your lips. Next, use a matching classic-red lipstick (a velvety formula gives you the most luxurious look), and apply it to both the top and bottom lip. For a shinier look, apply one coat of clear lip gloss on top.

All images were shot by Shawna Henrie of Bluedog Fotography in Orange County, California. Hair and makeup done by Dee of Swell Beauty.

About the Author

Mary Avant has worked for several international, national and regional magazines and received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has written on everything from fashion and health to business and food, and she specializes in women's style, fashion and beauty.