The 1950s mark a pivotal decade and a true renaissance period following World War II. The burgeoning movements spotlighting women's emancipation allowed designers and couturiers to dare and unleash a wave of fresh creativity. Fashion in the 50s indelibly revolutionized style and imagination. The feminine figure emerged utterly transformed, both in wardrobe and societal role. The makeup of the 50s became an integral part of the perfect pin-up's seduction arsenal. Its glamour style is both simple and impactful, achieved with a few well-chosen elements. In this article, I'll take you on a journey to uncover the beauty tricks of the pin-ups! 

Femme Fatale: The Perfect Pin-Up Makeup

Pin-up makeup is sophisticated and sensual. Winged eyeliner is essential for that guaranteed doe-eyed effect, drawn to extend and elevate the eye at the outer corner. The iconic fiery red lipstick is the very essence of 50s makeup. The first light yet illuminating eyeshadows appear, with pearl and champagne hues. Eyebrows are sculpted in a seagull wing shape, perfectly defined with a stroke of a pencil. The faux beauty mark, made famous by Marilyn and imitated by many, is easily recreated with a makeup pencil. Nails are well-groomed, long, and rounded, lacquered with red nail polish to match the lipstick, following the same principle as clothing.


50s Makeup: The 5 Must-Haves

How about recreating a pin-up makeup look to rival the divas of the 50s? Here are the 5 essential makeup ingredients for a total pin-up look. Flaunt this refined makeup every day, for a special event, or simply with your corset swimsuit!

  1. Start with an ultra-matte foundation base, powder, and a blush in pink/peach tones for more precision and a truly authentic result.
  2. Red lipstick, varying in shades, matte or hydrating.
  3. A duo of eyeshadows: specifically, a matte brown for eye contouring and a cream, beige, or similar hue for highlights.
  4. Mascara to curl and, more importantly, thicken the lashes.
  5. Eyeliner, an absolute must for 50s pin-up makeup! There are very practical pen versions that make it immediately ready to use and suitable even for makeup novices.

Marilyn Monroe's Lip Secret

Let's play a game. Take Marilyn Monroe, probably the most legendary pin-up in history, a symbol of elegant sensuality. What makes her unique? Her platinum blonde hair? Her magnetic gaze? While it's a synergy of perfectly harmonious details, her true beauty secret lies in her lips, or rather, how they are made up. Marilyn, a stunning woman, becomes extraordinary after transforming from brunette to platinum blonde. This change is only one of the many steps she took to become the diva we know. The entrance of her makeup artist, Allan Snyder, plays a pivotal role. He crafted much of the look that makes Marilyn, even today, one of the most iconic female figures in history. He knew how to enhance her face, especially perfecting the way her lips were made up, turning them from very beautiful to literally timeless.


How to Get Marilyn's Plump Lips

The technique used to make up Marilyn Monroe's lips may seem strange at first glance, but the result is astonishing. The trick is simple, though it requires following all the steps. Snyder starts by using a chocolate brown pencil to outline her lips. The process continues with another brown pencil, this time brick-colored (warmer), which extends the shading to the center of the lips. This is covered with a red pencil, carefully applied from the inside out. In fact, such a dark contour allows for a very effective reshaping of the form. The final result: extremely full and defined lips. The finishing touches: a sort of light highlighter in the center of the lips and a thin layer of lip balm to unify everything.

Red Lipstick and Queen Elizabeth I

Regarding lipstick, I had fun researching the history of this quintessential female beauty ally. Queen Elizabeth I popularized the use of red lipstick, but after her reign, this cosmetic product was banned and even considered a sign of witchcraft. It seems that in 1770 in England, if a girl wore red lipstick and "seduced men", her marriage was automatically annulled. It was the suffragettes who boosted the popularity of red lipstick. With them, red lips became a symbol of independence and the beginning of the fight for gender equality. In 1912, Elizabeth Arden joined their cause, becoming their lipstick supplier. From the 1930s, red lipstick began to become the most important element in a woman's style. Indeed, the economic crisis of 1929 pushed women to seek a bit of luxury in lipstick, as they had to give up everything else. Did you know that the phenomenon where lipstick sales increase during recessions is called the 'lipstick effect'?

Red Lipstick During World War II

During World War II, Hitler officially condemned red lipstick, making it a kind of political trademark. On the other hand, women necessarily had to fill roles previously reserved for men. In this context, red lips were the detail that helped maintain a feminine appearance. And to be glamorous even in the trenches, Elizabeth Arden created a particular shade of red specifically matched to the uniforms of women in the armed forces. It wasn't until the end of the war that 90% of American women wore red lipstick: its use became widespread. Today, lipstick, regardless of its color, remains the most popular beauty product among women. If, like me, you are passionate about the 50s, I hope you enjoyed this foray into the beauty secrets of pin-ups.