Clara Bow Shows How To Use Makeup

How did women use makeup in the Roaring Twenties? Let’s let Clara Bow, the silent film star known as the “It Girl,” show us.

First, many women, if not most, didn’t use any makeup at all. Those who did were usually younger women, sometimes termed “flappers” for their modern ways. Clara Bow was their model and one of the most copied women of her time. 

Bright red lipstick turned an ordinary mouth into a small, pretty pout, with a bow outline on the top lip. (Clara Bow was certainly playing on her name with that look!)

Eyebrows were plucked thin and arched or sometimes plucked completely and drawn on with pencil. Eyes were dramatically dark, with eyeliner all around the eye and thick curled lashes heavily brushed with mascara. In this picture,  you can really see her eyebrows clearly.

Rouge wasn’t that prominent. It was more of an eyes-and-mouth look.









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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Goodness, I love 1920s to 40s fashion. Those hairstyles on her are just beautiful.

  2. And it doesn’t hurt that SHE is beautiful too . . . !!! Poor thing, what a demented life she led.

  3. Hi just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures
    aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same outcome.

  4. I want to object to the claim that rouge wasn’t prominent. It wasn’t prominent in black and white movie makeup because, as you can imagine, it just makes everyone look dirty or like they have sunken cheeks in a black and white film. In real life rouge was actually way more important than it is even now — mouth and cheeks were the main things to make up for everyday, with maybe a little eyeliner or brow pencil. Eyeshadow was big for film makeup but less common in real life.
    Check out the color covers of magazines and the few Technicolor pictures made like Toll of the Sea to see how heavy the rouge was on the women!

    • Yes, on magazine covers, but your average woman/housewife/mother did not wear any makeup in those days; it was still considered “fast.” It was the movie magazines and motion pictures of the 20s that began to change all that–and, of course, the development of commercially made makeup by Max Factor and others.

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