A Lesson in 1950s Eyeshadow, Eyeliner, and Mascara from 1,000 Hints Beauty Magazine


In today’s 1950s makeup lesson, courtesy of 1,000 Hints Beauty Magazine…Eyeshadow, Eyeliner, Mascara.

This is why I spend way too much time on Ebay…to find little gems like this, a 1952 special edition magazine with everything a woman needs to know to make herself a feminine beauty, from posture to nail care to making your voice more pleasing.

Today I share with you Shadow Your Eyes Beautiful, by Mary Brown. You’ll find the entire article at the end of this blog post, but I wanted to share some key points that give you some insight into what make-up was at this time. I go in depth about 1950s makeup in the book Retro Makeup, but here are a few things to think about.

Eye shadow was simple. The heavy crease shadow effect that we do today, although very flattering, didn’t come into regular use until the 1960s. The ’60s were revolutionary in so many and that included cosmetic application. From about the 1920s through the 1950s, eye shadow was more of a color enhancing highlight you added to just above the upper lash line.

You might also like: Pastel Hair Craze of the 1950s

Also you’ll note in the article that she does not mention eye shadow brushes, also not really in heavy use at the time. The eye shadow was either applied directly on to the lid in a cream stick form or you used your finger to dab it above your lid. This makes perfect sense since brushes are meant to be used for precision application and eye shadow was not quite a precision sport at the time, more of a wash across the lid.

And of course let’s not forget what we were all in it for, or so the magazines would make us believe, is the most important reason for all of this beauty hassle…

“You’ll know you’re getting results when he says,
‘I never realized you had such beautiful eyes.”


Full Article

Shadow Your Eyes in Beauty
The light that lies in a woman’s eyes is even more dazzling if just a trace of make-up is used to add size and color to her eyes.

One of the most tricky beauty accessories is your eye shadow. Used as delicately as the brush of a butterfly’s wing, it gives depth and sparkle to your eyes, and intensifies the color–the wide-eyed, little-girl look which can be so fetching. Applied with mad abandon (as it so frequently is) it makes the prettiest girl look like the face on the ballroom floor! Too much eye shadow can shorten the distance between your brow and eye liner, which isn’t flattering, and, (horrors!) it can make your eyes look old and tired.

Some make-up is entitled to look like make-up. Lipstick, for instance. Eye make-up, like rouge, must be used almost imperceptibly to make you more beautiful. You might marvel that such a tiny amount can make such a big difference in your looks, but any excess of these two types of cosmetics defeats the purpose.

Eye shadow should be used in a fan-like line just over the lashes, extending about one-eighth of an inch from lash line toward brow line. This gives the lashes a delightful sooty frame when they are lowered and gives the eyes a lovely lift when they are raised.

Eye shadow is an elastic accessory because it can be worn to match the shade of your eyes, the jade shades or blue greens or blue grays or even sapphire blues are delightful. It is incredible just what that lick of color above your lashes does to the tone and expression of your eyes. If you are blue-eyed, there is a Dutch blue, a smokey blue or an amethyst that is enchanting. Amethyst is delightful with brown eyes too. But just because your eyes are green doesn’t mean you must wear jade, or because they are brown it doesn’t mean you must spread only chocolate-colored shadow on your lids. The shadow you use may complement your clothing, may match or harmonize with it–or it may match your eyes–your hopes. Deep, beautiful tones of sapphire blue in your costume would almost cry for sapphire blue eye shadow, even on a green or brown eyed miss.

You can change your eye shadow as often as you change your dress. You’ll find exquisite shades in the new eye shadow stick. In pencil form, it’s soft and creamy, a joy to use because it spreads so smooth.

Do you know some of the effects you can achieve with eye shadow? If your eyes tend to bulge a little, cover your entire upper eyelid, up to the eyebrow line, with shadow. Makes eyes look more deeply set. On the other hand, if your eyes look too deeply set, bring the foundation you use on your face, right on over the lids. That punt will lighten the color of the eye-lid and bring the eye forward. Shadow on the outer halves of the lids makes the eyes look farther apart. On the contrary, shadow on the inner half pulls them closer together, but who wants that?

The second step in acquiring large and lovely orbs is lining your eyes with an eyeshadow pencil which matches your mascara. With a well-pointed pencil, run a line along the base of your lashes, linking them together with color. Try a tiny eighth-inch dash–upturned–at the outer corner of each eye if you like that slightly theatrical effect. .

If you’re very lucky you may have been born with long, dark, fringy eyelashes. Otherwise, reach for your mascara and eye-lash curler. With mascara, you can give “body” to lashes, so that they perk up in a flirtatious manner. If your lashes are short and faded, black, brown or blue mascara to the very tips makes them look twice as long. Curled upward, with an eyelash curler, your lashes look that much more feminine and your eyes larger.

When you want your lashes to appear thicker put powder on them before applying mascara. If you want them to be completely devastating, put on another coat of mascara when the first one has dried.

Don’t use mascara on the lower lashes usually. If lower lashes are really bleached out or colorless, s faint tip with your mascara brush is all you need. As a make-up rule, however, it is best to keep mascara off the lower lashes because it can smudge into dark circles under your eyes no matter how careful you try to be–and dark circles are just what you want to eliminate.

If you have dark long lashes and don’t really need the help of mascara, use a speck of eye cream to give lashes a silky look.

The youthful look of upswept lashes is easy to achieve. You do need a lash curler. Simply place the rubber bow of the curler over the lashes and squeeze the handles together; hold it that way while you count to twenty-five. When released, your lashes will curl upward in the most intriguing fashion.

Mascara concentrated on the outer half of your upper lashes makes your eyes look bigger and farther apart.

In applying mascara, put your middle finger at a point just under the end of your eyebrow and pull the skin back slightly. This will make a fan of the lashes and it’s much easier to apply mascara without having lashes stick together. If you can hold the brush lengthwise during most of the application, it will give even greater security in separating the lashes.

Like any other art, eye make-up takes a little practice and experimentation. You’ll know you’re getting results when he says, “I never realized you had such beautiful eyes.”

Read more from the 1952 vintage beauty guide 1,000 Hints Beauty Magazine:

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Welcome to the Bobby Pin Blog! I am Lauren Rennells and as a hairstylist, makeup artist, writer, and generally artistic over-achiever, the Bobby Pin Blog is my outlet for thoughts and research about vintage hair and makeup trends and how to recreate them today. Thank you for stopping by!

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