Amanda Moorhouse, vintage hair and makeup expert from Lipstick & Curls, guides us through the styles of the ages, outlining how to get the look for each.
1920s – Bridal Hair & Makeup in the ’20s
The swinging ’20s is the era of the Great Gatsby. Hair was very neat and shaped around the face; curls were tight and prominent above the jaw line; and makeup was strong and deep in tone to give definition and extreme style!
How to get the look – Apply a black eye shadow or pencil to the eyelid and smudge into the socket line. Keep everything else neutral and apply a deep plum or deep red lipstick to complete the look.
Gel or spray the hair so that it stays flat to the head; and try to incorporate a ‘finger wave’ – a wave set into the front section of the hair – by using gel and a large fine toothed comb.
You may also wish to experiment with metal clamps (available in most beauty supply shops). These will give you the ridged look that you see in photographs from the ’20s, and it is fairly easy to do yourself. Tight curls with a prominent centre parting were also popular in this decade. A really easy way of doing this is taking small sections of hair and winding them around thin bendy hot sticks.
1930s- Bridal Hair & Makeup in the ’30s
The 1930s was a wonderful decade of inspiration for brides. The ’30s look evolved from that of the ’20s, but was less structured and had a more elegant edge. Long hair was pinned and shaped into the nape of the neck, and the makeup was softer, with lips more ruby in colour and the eyes less heavy.
How to get the look – smoke the eyes with a soft deep shadow. It’s worth noting that eyeshadow colours weren’t available in the ’30s, so use a taupe or a charcoal for a traditional feel. Lips should be deep red in colour, but brighter than that seen in the ’20s.
To achieve this hairstyle you will need to set your hair in curls. I would use a styling mouse that has a strong hold and no stickiness, and apply it to wet or dry hair. When it is set, brush it out and pin it so that the curls fall and wave around the face and back of the neckline. Keep the rest of the style flat.
1940s – Bridal Hair & Makeup in the ’40s
Another great decade for bridal styling was the 1940s. Makeup was a neutral, the face clean, brows were highlighted and structure was given to both the eye sockets and the cheekbones. Women finished the look with a warm red lipstick, which, incidentally, works perfectly with an ivory or off-white gown. Hair was softer, with some height and shape around the face.
How to get the look – keep makeup very neutral, including around the eyes, then draw attention to the lips with a pillar box red lipstick. Set your hair in rollers, then brush out and shape using a bristle brush. Give height to the front section of your hair by backcombing and parting two or more sections. Finish the look by smoothing and hairspraying the sections and then rolling or twisting each section into a shape, securing them into place with grips and hairpins.
1950s – Bridal Hair & Makeup in the ’50s
1950s bridal style was a little stronger than the previous decade, and towards the end of this era, fresh pastel colours were becoming increasingly popular. The look was completed with hair in a ‘down style’ that has been set and brushed into a shape. It works best on those with shoulder-length hair.
How to get the look – to create the iconic 1950s look you will need to line your eyes to perfection. Use a liquid, waterproof eyeliner for a line that won’t smudge or move, and brighten your lips with a shade of peach or cheery. Hair was wavy and high, backcomb it and set it using mousse, a bristle brush and plenty of hairspray.
1960s – Bridal Hair & Makeup in the ’60s
The decade popular for big hairstyles (either extremely tall or extremely flat), neutral lips, and accentuated eyes works perfectly with a ’60s gown or above-the-knee length dress.
How to get the look – apply your foundation, making sure you sweep it over your lips, too – this will help lips appear more opaque when you add your lipstick.
Try using a strip lash and black and white eyeshadow to get that signature ’60s look around your eyes. When applying your lashes, put the lash glue on first, let it start to go tacky, and then fix the lashes in place – waiting for the glue to go tacky makes it much easier to use and it will bond almost instantly.
Finally, backcomb your hair to create height for a beehive, then smooth and spray it across the top, twisting and pinning it at the back of your head.
About the author
Amanda Moorhouse has worked in fashion and media as a professional make-up artist for over 15 years, and founded Lipstick & Curls, the premier vintage hair and makeup specialists in 2009. Lipstick & Curls are an award-winning team of vintage styling professionals and are a popular choice for those seeking vintage hair and makeup expertise right across the UK. Find out more about Lipstick & Curls.