1920’s Makeup Routine

“When we were sixteen, we desire prettiness; ten years later; good looks. A refreshing appearance, however is much more essential than either, and if we would present ourselves to the world, as all-around, modern women, we must keep up on all matters of dress and personal grooming; as well as on home arts, children, literature, politics, etc.

A delicate use of cosmetics is desirable; a burlesque-type use is vulgar and detracts a hundred times more than it adds. Too much rouge, too much powder, like chewing gum, is seldom evidence by woman of refinement. Keep folks guessing: don’t tell your secret. Rouge so cleverly that everyone will wonder whether your color is real.

Here are some basic rules to follow:
1. Comb out your hair and brush it lightly. if you have curlers in the night before, the amount of combing and brushing should be measured by the length of hair and the ‘permanency of the wave.’ Next, pin the hair back out of the way and give attention to the face.

2. A little rouge, oh so little, is allowable. A tangerine color, the best beauty folks say, is good for all complexions. If the skin is very white, the chin may also have a little.

3. Now powder the face and neck thoroughly, but don’t “load” the powder on. Dust smoothly just as though you were putting sugar on a jelly roll, and not as though you were icing a cake.

4. Then, if your eyes need it, touch a wee, wet brush to a little pad of mascara and brush the eyelashes lightly.

5. Put your clothes on carefully, stockings straight, corsets well-pulled down with plenty of supporters, and be sure that your shoes are neat and well kept.

6. After breakfast, brush your teeth again, wiping the mouth very clean, and apply a little lip rouge as needed. Always apply it with the tip of our finger, for then you will not be liable to use too much.

7. Finally, brush your clothes and step out into the world, full of assurance that you are a good example of a type of woman worthy of the deference accorded your sex and a credit to your sisters, no matter where or how you meet them.”

– Excerpt taken from The ABC’s of Good Looks by Marilyn Madison, Inspiration, January 1925.

may makeup routine


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