1940s Makeup Tricks – Ladies Home Journal 1944

1940s Makeup Tricks – Ladies Home Journal 1944

See also The Correct Way to Apply your 1940’s make-up

Make-up is the art of making the most of your looks – the art of subduing your bad-looking features, and emphasizing your good points, so the world will see you at your best. Certainly the desire to look your best is a healthy normal feminine ideal. Self respect and a desire to please others make it an ideal well worth pursuing.

Make-up that is intelligently done is in perfectly good taste. It is only when make-up is misused that it cheapens a girl.
Make-up is horrid when it is used to conceal an unclean or unhealthy skin.
Don’t ever think of make-up as a substitute for skin care. It is the merest finishing touch, while the care of your skin for health and cleanliness is fundamental.
How to use rouge and lipstick to heighten your color is only one aspect of successful make-up. To make the most of yourself you must think, too, of the shape of your face. And you must
use every device to accent your type, your individual qualities.

Download 1940’s Make-up & Beauty Guides.


In planning your make-up, you must play up your own type, carry out every detail of make-up to be ‘ pretty’ or to be ‘smart’, whichever you individually are.
Of course, some girls are simply born pretty. Mary Pickford, for example, as a typical 1920s prettiness ideal and Janet Gaynor for a current 1940s ideal.. Some girls are born smart looking.

Marlene Dietrich or Gloria Swanson have the gift of inherent smartness. The rest of us have to achieve one or the other effect, building on whatever foundation of near-prettiness or
almost-smartness we have.There aren’t very clear words to describe the difference between prettiness and smartness. Being pretty implies softness, curves, an appealing gentleness of looks and manner.
Being smart implies a certain crispness, sharp angularity, a challenging brittleness in looks and manner. Being pretty usually begins with having regular and smallish features; if you have
irregular ones – a crooked nose or wide mouth – better to set about being smart and striking looking.

So the basic make-up secret for being pretty is: Strive for softness, for naturalness. The basic make-up secret for being smart is:Strive for striking effects, for distinction !


For a pretty make-up, choose your powder to harmonize with your skin, of course, but to emphasize the ‘pinkish’ tones in your skin. Powder in a shade of flesh, natural, rose cream, rose or peach, that plays up the pinkness in your skin, makes you pretty.
Wear rouge on the apple of your cheeks, to give a rosy warmth of color to your face. Don’t make the mistake of letting make-up show; it will destroy the natural loo that is essential to being pretty.
No eye-makeup ! No heavy or screaming lipsticks, but lipstick to match the natural colors of your mouth and lightly applied girls!

MAKE-UP FOR SMARTNESS – The 1940s face

In contrast, a smart make-up makes less pretense of being your own natural appearance. Powder should be near enough to your skin tone not to give you a floury look, of course.
But choose it in a shade with a minimum of pink in it. An ivory, Rachel, beige, or ocher powder. Only the faintest rouge on your upper cheekbone for added slimness. Thus your skin will take on a cool flat monotone. But then – use eye shadow and mascara to make your eyes look big and deep and important. Vivid lipstick, rather thickly applied. A smart make-up is characterized by striking effects, challenging to look at.


If you want your hands to be pretty, wear nail polish in colorless, pale, light rose or natural shade. – just enough pinkness in your nail polish to give an effect of healthy natural color. They make no pretense of looking natural, but they are striking, effective. Because of the bold artificiality of deeply tinted nails, they are most appropriate, and therefore smartest, with evening clothes.

Dorothy Cocks for Ladies home Journal in 1944.
Copyright Glamourdaze 2011

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