1920s Makeup Looks

1920s Makeup Looks: Embracing the Glamour of Roaring Twenties

The 1920s, also known as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age, was an era of dramatic social and cultural change. This transformative period not only witnessed women gaining the right to vote but also marked a revolution in fashion and beauty. From the iconic flapper style to the revolutionary makeup looks, the 1920s left an indelible mark on the world of cosmetics. In this article, we will delve into the enchanting world of 1920s makeup looks, exploring the key elements, notable icons, and modern interpretations that continue to inspire us today.


The 1920s was an era of liberation and self-expression for women. With the advent of movies and the growing influence of Hollywood stars, women sought to emulate the glamorous looks showcased on the silver screen. This led to a significant shift in makeup trends, departing from the more conservative Victorian era styles and embracing bold, daring, and vibrant aesthetics.

The Influence of the 1920s

The 1920s witnessed a radical change in societal norms, with women asserting their independence and breaking away from traditional gender roles. The newfound freedom reflected in their fashion and makeup choices, as they embraced shorter hemlines, bobbed hairstyles, and vibrant makeup looks. This era was characterized by a spirit of rebellion, with women challenging the status quo and embracing their individuality.

Key Elements of 1920s Makeup

To achieve the quintessential 1920s makeup look, several key elements need to be considered. These include foundation and complexion, eye makeup, bold lips, cheeks and contouring, and eyebrows. Let’s explore each of these elements in detail:

Foundation and Complexion

The 1920s saw a departure from the heavy, powdered look of the previous era. Women began to embrace a more natural and youthful appearance, opting for lighter foundation and softer shades. A pale complexion was preferred, and face powder was used to create a porcelain-like finish. This was a stark contrast to the heavy pancake makeup popularized in the Victorian era.

Eye Makeup

The eyes were the focal point of 1920s makeup looks. Dark, defined, and expressive eyes were achieved through the use of kohl or eyeliner. The iconic “smoky eye” look became popular, with women accentuating their eyes with dark, smudged eyeshadow and heavily lined upper and lower lash lines. False eyelashes were also used to create a dramatic and fluttery effect.

Bold Lips

In the 1920s, lips took on a new level of prominence. Dark, vibrant shades like deep reds, plums, and browns were the go-to choices. The Cupid’s bow was often exaggerated, and lipstick was applied in a slightly bow-shaped manner to create a distinct, bee-stung effect. This bold lip look added a touch of allure and sophistication to the overall makeup style.

Cheeks and Contouring

While the emphasis was primarily on the eyes and lips, the cheeks were not forgotten. Delicate blush was applied to the apples of the cheeks, creating a soft and youthful flush. Contouring techniques were also employed to achieve a more sculpted appearance, enhancing the angularity of the face.


Thin, highly defined eyebrows were all the rage during the 1920s. Women often plucked their eyebrows dramatically, creating a highly arched shape that complemented the overall aesthetic of the era. To further emphasize the brows, dark pencil or shadow was used to fill them in, creating a sharp and expressive look.

Beauty Tools of the 1920s

To achieve these stunning makeup looks, women in the 1920s relied on a variety of beauty tools and products. Compact mirrors, powder puffs, mascara brushes, and eyebrow stencils were some of the essentials found in every fashionable woman’s vanity. These tools were not only practical but also added an element of sophistication to the beauty ritual.

Flapper Style

The flapper style became synonymous with the 1920s and encompassed not only fashion but also makeup and attitude. Flappers were young women who challenged societal norms, embracing a carefree and rebellious lifestyle. Their distinctive fashion choices and bold makeup looks defined the spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

Notable 1920s Makeup Icons

Several iconic figures of the 1920s left an indelible mark on the world of makeup. From the legendary Clara Bow, known for her smoky eyes and cupid’s bow lips, to the enigmatic Louise Brooks, with her signature bob and heavily defined brows, these women embodied the glamour and allure of the era.

Modern Interpretations

While the 1920s may be a bygone era, its influence on makeup continues to inspire modern interpretations. Today, many makeup artists and enthusiasts draw inspiration from the 1920s, incorporating elements of the iconic looks into contemporary styles. Whether it’s a bold red lip paired with a smoky eye or a sleek bob hairstyle, the influence of the 1920s remains alive and well.

Tips for Creating a 1920s Makeup Look

If you’re interested in recreating a 1920s makeup look, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Start with a light foundation and powder for a porcelain-like complexion.
  2. Focus on dark, smoky eyes with heavily lined upper and lower lash lines.
  3. Choose bold, dark lipstick shades for a statement lip.
  4. Define your eyebrows with a sharp, arched shape and dark pencil or shadow.
  5. Experiment with blush and contouring to enhance your facial features.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While creating a 1920s makeup look can be exciting, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can undermine the authenticity of the style. Here are a few mistakes to watch out for:

  1. Overly thick or exaggerated eyebrows that don’t match the era.
  2. Using modern makeup products that may not align with the 1920s aesthetic.
  3. Applying heavy foundation and powder that veers away from the desired natural look.
  4. Neglecting the importance of well-defined eyes and bold lips, which are key elements of the style.


The 1920s was a transformative era that left an indelible mark on the world of makeup. The bold and expressive looks of the time continue to inspire and captivate us today. By understanding the key elements of 1920s makeup and drawing inspiration from notable icons, you can embrace the glamour of the Roaring Twenties in your own unique way.

FAQs(1920s Makeup Look)

Q1. Can I wear a 1920s makeup look for everyday occasions?

Absolutely! While a full-on 1920s makeup look might be more suited for special events or themed parties, you can definitely incorporate elements of the style into your everyday makeup routine. For example, try a bold lip color or experiment with a smoky eye for a touch of 1920s-inspired glamour.

Q2. What are some modern products I can use to achieve a 1920s makeup look?

While staying true to the authentic 1920s aesthetic is commendable, you can certainly use modern products to recreate the look. Opt for long-lasting liquid lipsticks in bold shades, gel eyeliners for precise lines, and volumizing mascaras to enhance your lashes.

Q3. Can I modify the 1920s makeup look to suit my personal style?

Absolutely! The beauty of makeup is that it allows for personal expression. While it’s fun to pay homage to the 1920s, feel free to add your own twist to the style. Experiment with different color combinations, adapt the intensity to your liking, and make it your own.

Q4. What hairstyles complement 1920s makeup looks?

To fully embrace the 1920s aesthetic, consider pairing your makeup look with a hairstyle from the era. The iconic bob, finger waves, or pin curls were popular choices. These hairstyles perfectly complement the bold and glamorous makeup looks of the Roaring Twenties.

Q5. Are there any 1920s makeup tutorials available for beginners?

Absolutely! You can find numerous tutorials online that cater specifically to beginners looking to recreate 1920s makeup looks. These tutorials often provide step-by-step instructions, product recommendations, and useful tips to help you achieve an authentic and stunning result.

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