40S Makeup

Introduction to 40s Makeup

A Glimpse into the Glamorous 1940s Era

The 1940s is widely regarded as a remarkable era in history, characterized by significant cultural and societal changes. It was a time when the world was recovering from the ravages of World War II, and people were seeking solace and escapism through various forms of entertainment. In this quest for diversion, makeup played a pivotal role, not merely as an art of beautification but as a symbol of resilience during challenging times.

The Importance of Makeup During the 40s

Makeup assumed an essential role in the lives of men and women during the 1940s. It served as both an expression of personal identity and a morale-boosting tool in times of hardship. As society adjusted to wartime realities, makeup became an avenue for individuals to maintain a sense of normalcy amidst chaos.

During this period, women found empowerment through embracing their femininity while contributing to war efforts on multiple fronts. Wearing makeup became synonymous with strength; it signified resilience in the face of adversity.

Not only did it provide confidence for women who were working alongside men in traditionally male-dominated industries, but it also allowed them to preserve their feminine allure. Additionally, makeup was seen as a way to uplift spirits and boost morale during difficult times.

With limited resources available due to rationing, cosmetics became both coveted luxuries and prized possessions. Women skillfully utilized what they had access to—often creating their own lipstick shades or repurposing products—to enhance their appearance and maintain a sense of glamour.

Makeup held great significance in the lives of individuals living through the 1940s era. From its role in preserving femininity amidst societal change to its contribution towards boosting morale during challenging times, cosmetics were more than just beauty tools.

They acted as a means of empowerment, expression, and resilience in an era that demanded strength and creativity. In the following sections, we will dive deeper into the specific trends and techniques that defined 40s makeup, uncovering the secrets behind the iconic looks of this remarkable time period.

Face Makeup in the 40s

Foundation and Powder

Foundation and powder played a significant role in achieving a flawless complexion during the 1940s. Popular brands during this era included Max Factor’s Pan-Cake Makeup, Elizabeth Arden’s Fluffy Finish Foundation, and Dorothy Gray’s First Base Foundation.

These formulations were often oil-based to provide a smooth finish and longevity. To achieve that coveted flawless base, women in the 40s relied on different techniques.

First, they would cleanse their skin thoroughly and then apply a thin layer of foundation evenly using their fingertips or a damp sponge. The foundation was typically applied sparingly to give a natural appearance.

Next, they would set the foundation with powder to mattify the skin and make it last throughout the day. Translucent powders were preferred for their ability to provide an airbrushed effect without adding extra coverage.

Blush and Contouring

In the 1940s, blush was used to add color to the cheeks while enhancing one’s natural features. Classic blush shades during this time included rosy pinks, soft corals, and warm apricots.

These colors complemented various skin tones commonly seen in that era. Contouring techniques were employed to create depth and dimension on the face subtly.

Women would use darker shades of blush or bronzer strategically placed beneath the cheekbones to create shadows for accentuation. By blending these shades softly with upward strokes towards the temples while keeping them well-blended, an illusion of stronger bone structure could be achieved.

Eyebrows and Eyelashes

Eyebrows played a prominent role in framing one’s face during the 1940s. The preferred shape was high-arched brows that extended slightly beyond their natural end point, creating an elegant lift. To achieve this look, women would groom their brows by gently plucking any stray hairs and using a brow pencil to fill in sparse areas.

The final result was defined, yet still natural-looking eyebrows. For eyelashes, the 40s embraced mascara as a must-have beauty staple.

Popular mascara brands included Maybelline and Max Factor. Women desired thick, full lashes that emphasized their eyes.

Applying several coats of mascara from root to tip, they achieved a dramatic effect similar to wearing false lashes. False eyelashes also gained popularity during this era, especially for special occasions or glamorous evening looks.

These lashes were meticulously applied to the upper lash line with adhesive glue and gave an added touch of allure and sophistication. Overall, face makeup in the 1940s aimed for a polished and refined appearance.

Flawless skin achieved through foundation and powder application was complimented by delicately flushed cheeks through blush and precise contouring techniques. The attention paid to eyebrows and eyelashes completed the look by framing the face beautifully while adding depth and enhancing one’s natural features.

Eye Makeup in the 40s

Eyeshadow colors and application techniques

Unveiling the mesmerizing allure of 40s eye makeup, one cannot overlook the rich and luxurious eyeshadow hues that characterized this era. Popular eyeshadow shades during the 1940s ranged from soft pastels to bold jewel tones. Pastel colors like baby blue, pale pink, and lavender were favored for a delicate, feminine look.

However, it was the deep shades of emerald green, sapphire blue, and amethyst that truly made a statement. These vibrant jewel tones added an air of sophistication and mystery to any eye look.

When it comes to application techniques, the 40s emphasized a softly blended style with a focus on contouring the eyes for depth. Eyeshadow was typically applied from lash line to just above the crease in a gradient effect, with darker shades concentrated closer to the lash line.

Blending was crucial to achieve a seamless transition between colors. Softening any harsh lines ensured that the eyes appeared larger and more alluring.

Step-by-step guide on how to create a classic eye look

To recreate a classic 40s-inspired eye look today: 1. Start by applying an eyeshadow primer or base all over your lids to ensure longevity. 2. Choose a light pastel shade as your base color and apply it across your entire lid.

3. Take a deeper jewel tone shade and blend it into your crease using windshield wiper motions. 4. Concentrate a darker shade along your upper lash line as well as on the outer corner of your eye for added depth.

5. Use a clean blending brush or cotton swab to soften any harsh lines. 6. Apply mascara generously on both upper and lower lashes for definition.

The goal is to achieve an elegant yet timeless look that highlights the eyes and enhances their natural shape. Remember, blending is key to create a seamless gradient of colors.

Eyeliner styles

No discussion of 40s eye makeup would be complete without mentioning the iconic eyeliner styles that defined this era. The winged eyeliner trend emerged during this time and has remained a timeless classic ever since.

Women in the 1940s aimed to elongate their eyes and create a sultry, feline look with sharp wings that extended beyond the outer corners. To achieve the perfect flick in 40s style, there were various techniques employed.

One popular method involved using an angled brush and gel or liquid eyeliner to create a thin line along the upper lash line. Then, starting from the outer corner of the eye, a line was drawn outwards towards the end of the brow, following its natural angle.

The line was then thickened slightly as it moved closer to the lash line for added intensity. Another technique was using a pencil liner to sketch out faint guidelines before going over them with liquid or gel liner for precise execution.

It is important to note that symmetry between both eyes was highly valued during this time; therefore, achieving balance in winged eyeliner application required patience and practice. Mastering eyeshadow application techniques and embracing winged eyeliner styles will transport you back to an era of timeless beauty and sophistication – where eyes spoke volumes without uttering a word.

Iconic lipstick shades of the decade

In the glamorous era of the 1940s, lipstick played a central role in women’s makeup routines. Bold, vibrant colors were favored, reflecting the optimism and confidence of the time. Among these hues, red lipsticks dominated the scene, ranging from bright red to deep burgundy tones.

Bright red lipsticks were particularly popular during this decade as they exuded a sense of power and sophistication. Women would often opt for shades like “Cherries in the Snow” and “Fire and Ice” to achieve a classic Hollywood-inspired look.

Deep burgundy lipsticks were also sought-after, adding an air of mystery and allure to any ensemble. Aside from reds, other popular lip colors during this era included coral, pink, and peach shades.

Coral-hued lipsticks brought a touch of vibrancy to women’s faces, creating a fresh and youthful look that was especially well-suited for daytime wear. Pink lips were also adored by many women who desired a femininely soft appearance.

Delicate pastel pinks such as “Pink Cloud” or rosy pinks like “Carnation” were widely embraced for their romantic charm. Peachy tones added warmth to one’s complexion and worked exceptionally well with fair skin tones.

Lip liner techniques for achieving a well-defined pout

To achieve perfectly defined lips that exuded 1940s glamour, mastering proper lip liner application was key. Lip liner served not only as a way to prevent lipstick from bleeding or feathering but also as a tool to enhance and reshape the natural contours of one’s lips.

When applying lip liner in the 40s style, it was important to choose a shade that closely matched your lipstick color rather than opting for darker or contrasting hues. This allowed for a more seamless transition between the liner and lipstick, creating an enviously precise pout.

Additionally, using a lip brush to blend the liner into the lips before applying lipstick ensured a smooth, undetectable finish. For those desiring a fuller-looking pout, subtle overlining techniques were employed.

The aim was to create the illusion of plumper lips without appearing unnatural or exaggerated. One popular method involved starting at the cupid’s bow and slightly extending the lip line toward the corners of the mouth, following the natural shape as closely as possible.

Careful precision and gradual buildup of color were crucial in achieving this effect, ensuring that it remained tasteful and refined. By mastering these lip liner techniques, women in the 1940s were able to achieve flawlessly defined lips that beautifully complemented their overall makeup look.

An Overview of Influential Women Known for Their Makeup Looks

During the 1940s, several women emerged as iconic beauty figures, leaving an indelible mark on the world of makeup. These influential women not only captivated audiences with their talent and charm but also became trendsetters when it came to their distinctive makeup looks. From the sultry allure of Marilyn Monroe to the timeless elegance of Audrey Hepburn, let’s delve into the fascinating makeup styles that made these women true beauty icons. Marilyn Monroe: The Epitome of Glamour

Marilyn Monroe, often regarded as the epitome of glamour, embraced a bold and sensual look that has become synonymous with 1940s beauty. Her signature red lips were a powerful statement, exuding confidence and femininity.

To achieve her iconic pout, Marilyn often opted for bright red lipsticks with blue undertones to make her teeth appear whiter. She highlighted her cupid’s bow by slightly overlining her lips for added fullness and emphasized a luscious shine with gloss or Vaseline. Rita Hayworth: The Seductress

Rita Hayworth was another influential figure in 1940s Hollywood known for her captivating beauty. With her seductive eyes and fiery red locks, she exuded sensuality both on-screen and off-screen. Rita’s makeup focused on enhancing her mesmerizing eyes.

She favored a soft smoky eye look by blending shades like taupes or charcoals onto her lids, creating depth and allure. Thickly lined upper lashes accentuated her eyes further while subtle contouring techniques brought out their natural shape. Audrey Hepburn: Timeless Elegance

Audrey Hepburn enchanted audiences with not only her remarkable acting skills but also her classic and sophisticated beauty. Known for her iconic doe eyes, Audrey showcased a minimalistic yet impactful makeup style.

With perfectly defined brows that framed her face delicately, she embraced a natural-looking approach. Audrey often accentuated her eyes with carefully applied winged eyeliner, elongating the outer corners to create an illusion of lifted eyes.

She completed the look with a touch of mascara and opted for soft pink or peach lip shades to achieve a fresh and youthful appearance. These remarkable women not only shaped the beauty standards of their time but continue to influence and inspire makeup trends even today.

By exuding confidence through bold lips like Marilyn Monroe, embracing mesmerizing eye looks like Rita Hayworth, or embracing timeless elegance like Audrey Hepburn, these beauty icons left an indelible mark on the world of 1940s makeup. Their distinct styles continue to resonate with women around the globe who seek to emulate their captivating allure and embrace their own unique interpretation of 1940s-inspired beauty.

The Role of World War II on Makeup

During World War II, the makeup industry faced numerous challenges due to resource scarcity and changing societal roles. As women took on new responsibilities in factories and military support roles, their approach to makeup had to adapt. The war brought about a shift in beauty ideals and the availability of cosmetic products.

Despite these challenges, women continued to find innovative ways to enhance their natural beauty. Let us explore the fascinating influence of World War II on makeup trends.

Rationing and Limited Resources

With resources being directed towards the war effort, cosmetics were not exempt from restrictions during this time. Rationing affected the availability of many everyday items, including makeup essentials such as lipstick, powder, and nylon stockings used for creating glamorous looks.

Women had to find alternatives or make do with what they had. Reducing wastage became a prevailing trend as women learned how to make products last longer by scraping out empty containers or creating homemade cosmetics using natural ingredients like beetroot for lip color.

A Natural Approach

As wartime austerity set in, there was a shift towards more natural-looking makeup styles that emphasized simplicity and practicality. With limited resources at hand, many women focused on enhancing their natural features rather than completely transforming their appearance.

Soft blushes in peach or rose shades replaced heavily contoured cheeks while neutral eyeshadows subtly accentuated eyes without overpowering them. This understated elegance became a defining characteristic of 1940s makeup trends.

The Rise of Resilient Beauty Icons

Despite the challenges posed by the war, an array of resilient beauty icons emerged during this era who epitomized grace and strength through their unique makeup choices. Hollywood starlets like Ingrid Bergman and Veronica Lake showcased sophisticated yet subdued makeup looks on the silver screen, inspiring women worldwide. These iconic figures proved that even in times of hardship, beauty could be attained through resilience and adaptability.


Although World War II brought about scarcity and challenges in the makeup industry, it also fostered creativity and resilience. Women embraced their natural beauty, adapting to limited resources with grace and determination. The war not only transformed societal roles but also altered beauty ideals, shifting towards understated elegance and practicality.

Despite the circumstances, women found ways to enhance their features and express their individuality through makeup. This era serves as a reminder that even in challenging times, inner strength can shine through outer beauty.


What defines the makeup look of the 40s?

The 1940s makeup look is characterized by a matte complexion, red lips, defined eyebrows, and soft, natural eye makeup.

What were the popular lipstick shades in the 1940s?

Popular lipstick shades in the 1940s included classic reds, deep burgundies, and rich plum tones to create that iconic vintage look.

How did women achieve a matte complexion in the 1940s?

Women in the 1940s achieved a matte complexion by using powder foundations and setting their makeup with loose powder, giving a flawless finish.

hat makeup products were commonly used in the 1940s?

Common makeup products in the 1940s included lipstick, powder, mascara, eyeliner, and eyebrow pencils, as well as rouge for a subtle blush.

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