The 50's Face
By Dani Richardson
First things first... before you start with your make-up, you need to moisturise your face and, if necessary, apply an oil control lotion to your T-zone (the area across your forehead and down the centre of your face.) The skin needs to have a matt finish for a 50's make-up look. Regular exfoliation will also ensure that your foundation goes on nice and evenly. It's a good idea to let the moisturiser sink into the skin for a few minutes before starting on your make-up. It's better to use a moisturiser specifically for the eye area on and around the eyes, as regular moisturiser can be too heavy and cause your make-up to crease. Next apply a matt finish foundation all over the face, including your eyelids. You can use a brush for this, which will ensure a nice even finish, or just use your fingers - making sure that the foundation is evenly blended. If you choose to use a foundation brush, then be sure to only use a little foundation at a time on the tip of the brush, working on a small area at a time. Blend foundation from the centre of the face making sure there is little left when you reach the hairline and eyebrows. You don't want a nasty build up of base in your eyebrows! Make sure the foundation is blended below the jaw towards the neck too, to avoid a tide-line, but if your foundation is the correct shade this shouldn't be a problem.
Once you have finished applying your foundation, use a small brush and some concealer to cover any blemishes and under-eye shadows. Only apply concealer where you see an actual shadow, not to the whole area under the eye. Then finish with a dusting of translucent powder over the whole face and eyelids, making sure you've also powdered into the brows if you plan to define them, to ensure an even application and no smudging.
Now you've achieved a flawless base, it's time to have some fun. Starting with the eyebrows, use a flat-angled brush dipped in an eyeshadow in a similar shade to the brows or your hair, whichever is darker, to create a perfect arched brow. Using a powder colour will give a more natural look and is less likely to smudge than using a pencil. The fifties brow should come to a slightly pointed arch around two thirds of the way along the brow, and then come down to finish in a tapered point. If you are unsure of where to finish the brow, take a pencil and hold it diagonally along the side of your nose up to the outer corner of your eye. The point at which the pencil meets the brow is a good guideline of where to stop. Next, apply a neutral eyeshadow over the whole eyelid. If you have a pinkish skin tone, you should use a warm beige with a pink/peach undertone. With a more yellow skin tone, you need a cooler beige. Using a long-haired tapered brush, apply a taupe or mid-brown colour just above the socket line of the eye. If you are going for a "kittenish" rockabilly look then keep the concentration of colour to the outer third of the eye, blending the colour higher towards the outer point of the brow and down onto the outer corner of the lower lid. For a more doe-eyed Marilyn look, the colour should be blended higher in the centre.
The eyeliner follows a similar rule. When applying liquid liner, close your eye and start around a third of the way across the lash line. This will ensure that any excess is removed from the brush, away from the inner corners, so you don't start off in the corner with a big blob! Sweep the liner to the outer edge of the lash line. Then, once you have less product left on the brush, take the liner from the inner corner of the eye to join up with where you started the liner. Smooth out the rest of your liner with the eye open. This takes a little getting used to but you'll get a better idea of how the finished result will look, and also the skin on the lid will be stretched taught so you get a much smoother line. Now it's time to go to work on your "ticks". There are two options for this: some people prefer to continue the sweep from the outer eye upwards, removing pressure on the brush towards the end to achieve a tapered shape. Others find that doing the tick from the outside inwards will ensure that the tick ends in a nice point and also gives more control getting them even. It's really a case of playing around and finding out which method feels most comfortable to you. For the doe-eyed look, the liner should get thicker towards the inner third to halfway along the lash line, and then thinner again before coming out to a straighter tick. Whereas, if you are after more of a rockin' look, the liner starts thin at the inner corner and gradually gets thicker at the outside edge before going into a more pronounced tick. The tick is a personal thing - some people like a higher, longer tick and some prefer something more low-key.
Now for the mascara. Again, this is a personal thing. If you want an authentic look then mascara should be used only on the top lashes. Some people prefer to wear mascara on the lower lashes too, which will give more of a wide-eyed look. Use a couple of coats but don't let the mascara completely dry between coats as this can make the lashes clump. It's a good idea to have a clean mascara wand handy to separate the lashes between coats - next time you finish a mascara, give the wand a wash with shampoo and keep it in your make up bag.
This eye make up is for a day look or for those not confident with colour. Colour combinations for a more glam look are sticking with a neutral base and trying colours such as spearmint green, baby blue, turquoise or grey in place of the mid-brown colour. For this look you can also replace the matt beige with more of a shimmer if you fancy. You can also use the pastel colour over the whole lower lid blending up to just above the socket with a neutral highlighter on the brow bone. Another nice look is to use a peachy-gold on the lower lid with a darker brown in place of the mid-brown. To make this more dramatic you can also blend a little black into the outer corner of the eye socket.
If you want to go really glam then false lashes are the way to go. With these you can either go for a full strip or cut them in half and just use them on the outer third of the lid. For the more discreet approach, use the inner section of the strip where the lashes are shorter, using the longer outer section for more va va voom!
On the cheeks a peachy or rosy tone works well. Again, the intensity is a personal thing. As with all make-up, start light and build up - it's a lot easier to add more than it is to take down the colour. The best way to apply this is to do it whilst smiling. When you smile the apples of your cheeks become more prominent; this is the best place to apply your blush for a natural flushed look and will also guarantee that it's even on both sides. You can also contour below your cheekbones with a neutral dark beige tone or a slightly darker foundation or powder, and highlight above the cheekbones with a lighter powder to give a more sculpted look to the face.
And finally, the lips... if you have problems with lip colour feathering or bleeding, you should prime the lips with a wax base which you can get from brands such as Benefit, B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful or MAC. Be careful, though, as this can make your lipliner slide a bit more than usual and you don't want to end up looking like Ronald McDonald! Always use a lip-liner, especially when using reds. It will give a much better shape and keep the lipstick on for longer. The shade of red will depend on your colouring but if you choose a true red, you can change the tone of it with various lip-liners. It's good to have a selection, including plummy, pinky and a brick/brownish red as well as a true red; this way you can get the most out of one lipstick shade. Apply the liner, giving the cupid's bow a rounded shape and lightly fill in the lip with the pencil so that you are not in danger of your lipstick wearing off and leaving you with just an outline. Then apply your lipstick on top. If you're not comfortable with wearing red lipstick, you can try a sheer red which will give a softer look for daytime wear. Other suggestions of colours for a softer look are light pink, peach, coral or a rose pink.
There you have it.... Now go and get your glad rags on!