1930s Makeup – The Jean Harlow Look

An exclusive 1933 beauty session –  with Hollywood screen goddess Jean Harlow from our time traveling beauty consultant Carolyn Van Wycks.  Sadly Ms Harlow died so very young just four years after this feature in 1937. This 1930s makeup session is rare.


JEAN HARLOW is representative of an extreme, erotic type of beauty. Her platinum hair set a world-wide vogue. Her half-moon brows accent her pastel coloring. Her makeup is concentrated at the eyes and mouth. She relies upon good health, fresh air, exercise, cream, soap and water, followed by an ice water rinse, for her perfect milky skin.
Note her lashes – they are naturally long!


JEAN’S eyebrows are high, narrow and very arched. Jean has removed all but the fainest wisp of brow hair, over which she pencils in her look each morning.She uses a finely pointed eyebrow pencil. the high brow enlarges the eye, gives clarity, and appealing quality.


JEAN chooses a true red cream rouge for her lips, blending the line perfectly and carrying the color well inside her mouth to prevent a break in tone.


Those very long lashes are black, her mascara of choice being cake Maybelline, which she applies with a fine set of brushes given to her by Max Factor himself.


SKIN-TONE powder is then puffed liberally over Jean’s face and neck, with special attention to nostrils,  eye corners and her chin. Taking care to brush from her brows.


JEAN’S platinum coiffure has probably aroused more comment and excitement than any other woman in today’s Hollywood firmament. A natural blonde in fact, Jean chose to encourage whiteness by weekly shampoos with white soap and a final rinse containing a few drops of French blue rinse.[ a peroxide blue rinse for removing yellow ]. She brushes for softness, and sets her wave with nothing more than water and vinegar.


originally reported by Photoplay.

The Jean Harlow Story.

Anita Loos - with Jean Harlow
Anita Loos – with Jean Harlow

Famous Jean Harlow film quote:
“Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?” Hell’s Angels (1930).

Jean Harlow made her screen debut alongside Laurel & Hardy, and displayed a unique gift for a new brand of comedy. After a string of notable appearances in early 1930s films, notably Public Enemy (1931) with James Cagney, screen-writer Anita Loos created a part for her in Red-Headed Woman (1932) which was to set her on a course for stardom. The role enhanced her comedic talents and fans and critics alike loved her for her beauty and wit. Several smash hits followed such as Red Dust (1932). with Clark Gable , Dinner at Eight (1933), Hold Your Man (1933) and Bombshell (1933). Harlow was engaged to actor William Powell, when she became ill, and subsequently passed away from kidney failure on June 7th 1937.

Good sources for classic 1930s Hollywood
:Self Styled Siren.
She Blogged by Night.

Read more about the fascinating story of Maybelline mascara in our interview with the lovely Sharrie WilliamsMaybelline heiress.

See The History of Makeup – 1930s.

1930s-makeup history

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