Published on October 31st, 2012 | by Karin Jenkins0
Makeup Through the Decades
As most of you may know, I am proud to be involved in the “Tribute to the USO Show” held on November 11 (Veterans Day). It’s our fourth year participating and this excellent cause benefits Veterans Program of Halifax Health – Hospice of Volusia/Flagler.
Every year I write this show and put a lot of time into research of this great event. Over the years I have learned so much about the United Service Organization (USO), Bob Hope, WWI & WWII, Vietnam, USO entertainers, Veterans and so much more.
While I was doing my research for this year’s show, I started to wonder what women did with makeup and hair care during such an economically challenging time – especially during WWII (1939 – 1945).
The more homework I did on this topic, the more I realized we truly have a lot of beauty issues in common with our grandmothers or great grandmothers.
Granted, it’s easier for us to get makeup products and skin and hair care treatments then it was at that time, and we have the luxury of using warm water whenever we want, but no matter what era you come from – if you are a woman, you want to look good.
During war times, more and more men were off fighting which meant women had to go to work. To retain their femininity and boost their morale, women were encouraged to apply makeup. Today, due to our economy, more and more women have to go to work as well. We all know as women, even if you didn’t wear makeup before, you are now encouraged to apply cosmetics and have your hair professionally cut and colored to give you that “edge” against your competition. I am not saying the best looking women always get the jobs, but the best “put-together” women are most remembered and stand out.
I was looking up the makeup fashion for the WWII period and was surprised to see how many similarities we have with our 2012 – 2013 season.
During the 30’s and 40’s, the beauty ideal was sophisticated and glamorous, but natural and subdued. On the eyes, women would apply natural eye shadows in brown and grey tones, a touch of eyeliner and mascara. The eyebrows were kept quite thick, but had to be perfectly arched and defined with an eyebrow pencil.
Comparing then and now, we still want to achieve that sophisticated yet glamorous look for a special occasion or “date-night.” During the day we go more for that natural and subdued look of softer shadow colors. We use eyeliner and mascara, but I would say the fashion right now is wearing more than a “touch” of either.
Eyebrows are a bit thinner now, but still need to be perfectly arched and defined. Usually a good professional wax about once a month keeps your brows in perfect shape.
On the face, women would first apply a dark, but warm foundation and, on top of it, a powder that was actually lighter than their skin tone. This would give skin a rosy glow. Natural pink shades were used on the cheeks and red lipstick was all the rage and considered a natural look back then.
I think we have more of a selection of foundations now, so we can perfectly match our foundation to our skin tone. A nice, lighter powder is still used to dust the face after foundation is applied to set your makeup and give you a flawless look. The rosy glow is now achieved with various cream or powder bronzers. For cheeks, I still think natural soft pink shades look great on most skin tones.
As for red lipstick, I don’t think anyone today considers it a natural look, however, it is very popular for our glamorous evenings and special occasions. Although women tend to wear more reds and darker colors as we head into the fall and winter seasons. If you want to go darker with your lip colors, but feel your lips may look a little “harsh,” then apply a gold lip gloss over the lipstick and it will soften the color to a comfortable level.
The popularity of the red lipstick was partly due to Elizabeth Arden. She was invited to create a makeup kit for the American Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. The aim was to boost their morale, so Arden created a red lipstick that matched their uniforms.
As for hair care, women had to be more creative and resourceful. If they wanted to dye it, they could only use vegetable dyes. Hair was usually wrapped in scarves, hairnets or snoods, which served two purposes. One, it could hide a bad hair day (*Note to self, need a snood ASAP!) and two, it helped hold their locks back from getting tangled in machinery.
I recently saw a poster from back then and it was of a woman in uniform with the slogan, “Keep your Beauty on Duty!” I think the same sentiments still hold true today – no matter what your “duty of the day” consists of.
*If you would like to support our veterans in need of Hospice care, here is the info:
“A Tribute to the USO Show”
Sunday, November 11th at 3:00 PM at the Peabody Auditorium, 600 Auditorium Blvd., in Daytona Beach.
Proceeds to benefit Veterans Programs of Halifax Health – Hospice of Volusia/Flagler
For more information, you can go to the website at www.hovf.org/uso or call (386)322-4747 or purchase tickets at Applause Salon – 307 Julia Street, New Smyrna Beach – (386) 426-5454.
Ticket cost: Veterans – $5 General Admission – $15
There will also be a special pinning ceremony for all veterans at this show.