A Lesson in 1950s Lipstick from 1,000 Hints Beauty Magazine


Vintage Lipstick Techniques from the 1950s

This is a great little article with tips for reshaping your lips and some cute insight into Victorian lip color problem solvers. Enjoy!


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Lines for Pretty Lips
Full, ripe, lovely lips and a sweet mouth characterize the truly feminine woman!

When I was a pig-tailed eight-year-old, my Grandmother took me to the photographer to have my picture taken. As the little man fumed and stewed, trying to get a respectable likeness for the family album, my grandmother whispered urgently, “Say ‘p-e-e-ach’ while Mr. Hardesty is taking your picture!” This, it seems, was to give me the little rose-bud mouth which then-vanishing Victorians considered both beautiful and refined.

Oh yes, before the easy glamour of modern lipsticks, women had their little tricks: saying “peach”; biting their lips together hard just before entering a roomful of friends (this reddened lips prettily): licking cinnamon red-hots and allowing a bit of rosy stickiness to cling to the lips. They were very concerned with how they used their mouths. We should be, too, even though we know a dozen quick make-up tricks with a lipstick.

There are many little things which can make or mar lip loveliness. Have you ever, while waiting for someone in a hotel lobby, for instance, studied slyly the faces of the passers-by? There is the girl who smiles happily up at her date- her mouth is a pretty curve of vivid red, with a perceptible up-tilt to the corners. (Her date smiles back at her!)

Obviously a pickle-puss is the woman whose thin lips press more and more tightly together as she watches the minute hand of the clock. He won’t be charmed to see her unless she relaxes that mouth. (A little corrective make-up is in order, too.)

Then there’s the girl who pulls her lips in unsightly lines as she give emphasis to something she’s saying in a too-loud voice. There’s no point in adding to the list –  you have seen mouths in action often enough to know that people love to watch a sweet mouth (and “people”, means especially men) while they shy away from unlovely voices, disfiguring mannerisms or mouths shaped by disagreeable dispositions. Watch yourself, or tell your very-dearest friend (feminine) to call to your attention any mouth mannerisms which need correction.

We’ll take it for granted that you haven’t any bad habits like that. You therefore deserve a beautiful bright red lipstick with which to camouflage any little imperfection of size or shape and make your lips full, ripe, and lovely.

Select your lipstick, first of all, to harmonize with clothing. Second in importance is your complexion and hair color. Since red-heads stopped fearing pink, there are no complexion-color taboos left. It’s a wonderful relief. Imagine the poor russet-topped darling who found green nauseating and was attacked by it each time she entered a clothing department. Color has been emancipated, and red-heads with it.

You really need a variety of shades of lipsticks. What difference does it make, budget-wise, whether one lipstick at a time lasts three months, or a collection of four indifferent reds lasts a year? Your lipstick for evening, under artificial light, should be brighter and stronger than the one you would use in the office in the day-time. Your navy dress wouldn’t look well with an orange-red lipstick, nor would you combine jungle-green with blue-red.

Learn to use a lipstick brush. It eliminates ragged edges; gives your mouth natural-looking curves and helps give you the lush, colorful mouth of a very feminine woman. Practice on the back of your hand- or a piece of paper- in order to get the feel of it. In applying lipstick with a brush, work the brush into your lipstick, saturating the bristles generously. See that your mouth is dry, otherwise you’ll find it a frustrating experience.

When you apply lipstick to your left upper lip, start at the left corner of the upper lip and stroke toward center. For the right upper lip, start at the center of your lip and brush downward to the corner and inward. Then press your lips together. This gives you an outline to follow on your lower lip.

When you do your lower lip, work from the left corner downward to the center; then from the center upward to the right corner.

To effect a flattering lift, separating upper and lower lips, moisten a cotton applicator with powder foundation. Apply at corners of mouth, working inward towards the inside of the mouth.

For correcting smudges, covering mistakes and effecting a beautiful outline, do this: Using cotton applicator or clean brush moistened with foundation, apply carefully to outside of lip-line.

Ways to improve lip shape according to 1,000 Hints Beauty Guide.

On the opposite page you will see drawings of lips which need a bit of improvement. That can be done with lipstick. You’ll see a grey, dotted region. That is the natural shape of the lips, all of which would normally be covered with lipstick. To correct lip shapes, draw a new lip-line with lipstick as indicated by the black part of each drawing. Grey areas beyond corrected lip-line should be toned down with foundation to cut down on the size of the lip.

Read more from the 1950s 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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