1 year ago
The Flapper years have never been this hot since the roaring 20’s, thanks to the film remake of The Great Gatsby starring Leo Di Caprio and Carey Mulligan, which is set to hit the big screen later this year. This is a Beauty Retrospective of the 1920s beauty innovations that are still shaping the industry today!
Yes, there was a time when lipsticks didn’t exist and women would instead smear their lips with mixtures of pigmented powder, crushed insects, beeswax, olive oil, lard or butter. Needless to say, the result was not particularly alluring. But then along came Guérlain – the French perfumer introduced the first lip rouge in actual stick form before World War One. Only the happy – aristocratic – few were able to experiment with it, but something was not quite right yet. Their lipsticks would come wrapped in tinted papers or rolled in paper tubes, which wasn’t exactly practical for the modern gal. It wasn’t until 1915, when Maurice Levy, a clever guy from Connecticut (who also happened to be French), came up with the idea to put lipsticks into metallic tubes – and so the modern lipstick was invented.
In the 1920s, sporting a daring crimson lip was the mark of a liberated woman, and very quickly the trend became mainstream. Which is no wonder, when you consider the extremely skewed post war sex ratio that placed a new emphasis on sexual beauty. Wearing lipstick became a way to secure a husband and a job, or at least it heightened your chances!
The Flapper years also saw the invention of natural lip-gloss, that used bromo acid – a dye still de rigueur today – which turned red on contact with the wearer’s lips. Flavoured lip-gloss was also another achievement of the 1920s that became wildly popular, especially the cherry flavoured variety.
When you think of the Great Gatsby years, a sensuous cupid’s bow immediately springs to mind. But did you know that this sexually charged look originated from a movie lighting problem? As hot studio lamps caused lipsticks to run, legendary makeup artist Max Factor started using greasepaint foundation, a paste made of fats and pigment (zinc, ochre and lard) to cover the natural outlines of actresses’ mouths, and then placed only thumbprints of lipstick at the lip’s centre. His technique greatly influenced the way women of the 1920s applied their lipstick, with everyone wanting Clara Bow’s mouth – the IT-girl of the Roaring Twenties! Although sporting a cupid’s bow may no longer be in fashion, they heralded the start of our obsession with achieving a perfectly painted pout.
Other 1920s Innovations That Are Still Around In 2012…
This makeup bag staple was referred to as an “eyelash beautifier” back then. Before this major invention, women would mix petroleum jelly (Vaseline) with soot or coal. However the first mascaras were not very dissimilar to those homemade concoctions, if you fancy DIY’ing this particular trend for yourself.
The Smoky Eye
Eyes lined with charcoal or kohl and blended over the whole lid, were all the rage during the Roaring Twenties. This Jazz Age look was inspired by the Egyptian Revival movement, which was caused by the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922.
1920s women were avid pluckers, paving the way for the brave new world of eyebrow stylists! However, the favoured thin, downward sloping style of the 1920s is no longer en vogue, thank goodness!
Thanks to the ultimate 1920S ‘It Girl’ Coco Chanel, sporting a tan was no longer a working class stigma. The lauded Helena Rubenstein was the first to develop sun creams for our Flapper counterparts.
1920s Innovations That Didn’t Stand The Test Of Time…
Thankfully octagonal lipsticks and the torturous sounding ‘lip clamps’ did not impress our Flapper ancestors back then, any more than they would have impressed us today. Some beauty trends really are better left behind!