Before the 1920s women wore make-up but were much more reserved in their application, however when the 20s hit so did their cosmetic freedom of expression. In its rawest form, make-up from this era did not evoke much variety, but it was the stars of the silent movies such as Louse Brooks (below) that provided the inspiration for porcelain-white skin, bee-sting red lips with a highly defined cupids bow and blackened eyes. So far, it all sounds wonderful, but when you think of the ingredients of these cosmetics it is incredible what lengths the ladies would go to.
Mascara in its earliest incantation was melted wax that was applied to the lashes. The ‘kohl’ in the eye make-up consisted of either soot, lead or goose grease that was deeply smudged into the socket area to create the ‘vamp’ look. The powder to even out the skin tone was made up of rice powder in its palest form, and there was little variety in the shade of lipstick, with a red stain for all. I can’t wait to embrace all of the above (with modern products of course) however if I was to truly adhere to the era I would need to pluck my eyebrows painfully thin, drawing them in higher on my face, which just feels like a step too far!
I adore the glamour of the 20s, and cannot wait for the opportunity to relive it, if only for one night. It seems like modern women do not have the time, nor perhaps the inclination to express themselves through make-up as they once did, opting for the more natural look on a daily basis. Although of course it must be celebrated that we do now have more choice about whether we actually want to or not.