1930s makeup tutorial

With its subtle glamour that oozes class, the iconic 1930s makeup look is light, suits anyone and is guaranteed to look fresh all wedding day long...

Think of the 30s and soft-focus images of starlets like Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Carole Lombard and Jean Harlow spring to mind. This era is often over-looked by vintage lovers in favour of the playful 20s or the structured brows and lips of the 40s, but in fact, the 30s was a ground-breaking period for the beauty industry. Although it was still in its infancy, many of the enduring makeup looks from this time remain popular today including the use of highlighting, lip gloss and most importantly, mascara - a beauty essential to be found in the make-up bag of any self-respecting gal! This look uses minimal products but to great effect – the result is an effortlessly chic and soft, feminine style that will most certainly turn heads.

Vintage hair and makeup artists The Blusherettes, based in Oswestry, Shropshire, created this step-by-step tutorial to show you how to recreate the makeup of the Hollywood screen sirens. Brushes at the ready!

Kit list

Becca BackLight Primer

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation in ‘Sable’

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer

Soap & Glory Arch de Triumph Highlighter Duo Pencil

Benefit Brow Zings Brow Kit in ‘Medium’

MAC Prep & Prime Powder

MAC Eye Times 9 palette in ‘Amber’

Urban Decay Eyelid Primer Potion

Maybelline Lasting Drama Eye Gel in ‘Black’

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Eye Liner in ‘Nude’

Max Factor Extensions Masterpiece Mascara in ‘Dark Brown’

Ardell Lashes in Chocolate

Max Factor Creme Blush in ‘Alluring Rose’

NYX Professional Lip Pencil in ‘Hot Red’

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Palette - colours ‘Burnt Orange’ and ‘Vibrant Pink’

Dr Paw Paw Beauty Balm Original

Steps from left to right...

Step 1 Apply a primer to a well-moisturised face. We used Becca Backlight Primer to give a soft luminous base.

Step 2 Apply your foundation all over using a damp beauty blender to avoid brushstrokes. Start in the centre of the face working outwards, ensuring you blend well around the ears, nose, neckline and hairline. Colour correct and add any concealer at this point before setting with powder and brushing off any excess.The aim is to create a flawless base, with a soft luminous look, rather than a completely flat, matt foundation.

Step 3 Brush through the eyebrows then brush them upwards to create a thinner brow. The 30s was all about the arch, many women plucked out all of their brows and drew in arched lines with a kohl pencil, but here we have just shaped and defined them. Use a fine brow brush to extend the end of the brow downwards to create the distinctive shape. We used a highlighter pencil to really define the arch, blending it in with a finger.

Step 4 Prime the eyelids. Using a soft gold or beige shadow, apply to the entire eyelid area with a soft brush. This colour should have some sparkle to it, so gold is a great choice. We used MAC Eye Times 9 palette in ‘Amber’.

Step 5 Using a warmer brown/copper shadow, push the colour into the socket line using a smaller blending brush. You want to create a doe-eyed, heavy lidded look, so avoid blending too far up the eye towards the brow.

Step 6 Apply a thin line of black gel or liquid liner to the top eye lid, do not extend it out too far - there were no cat-eyes in the early 1930s!

Step 7 Use the same mid-brown colour to push a little colour into the lower lash line. Apply a flesh-coloured eyeliner along the waterline to enhance the look further. We added false lashes - ‘Chocolate’ by Ardell are perfect for this look - and blended in the model’s lashes using a dark brown mascara. Brush through the lower lashes and add mascara - a couple of coats is best as long lower lashes were all the rage.

Step 8 Apply a soft peachy blusher to the apples of the cheeks, and bring it upwards towards the ears. Blusher was soft and sculpting but you could add a small amount of bronzer to make the cheekbones ‘pop’. Use a small amount of highlighter along the cheekbones and eye lids to give that soft dreamy skin they loved in the 1930s. We used Dr Paw Paw Original to achieve this look.

Step 9 Line lips with a sharpened dark red liner, and emphasise the cupid’s bow. This helps to create a soft rounded look, very typical of the era.

Step 10 Fill in with a red lip colour. We used a mixture of two colours in the Anastasia Beverly Hills Palette to achieve this tone. Blot and reapply to ensure longevity.


*A note about the hairstyle: Here we have set our model’s hair in pin curls which we brush out afterwards to create the soft Hollywood waves that give this look its understated glamour.


Credits: Hair and Make-up by The Blusherettes www.theblusherettes.com @theblusherettes

Photography by Charlotte Preece at Indie Love www.indielove.co.uk @indielove

Model: Julia Bakalorz

Location: The Carriages, Oswestry www.carriagesbar.com

#vintagemakeup #stepbystep #tutorial #1930smakeup