Authentic 1920’s Hair and Makeup how to or flapper hair and makeup if you must

I know the first flick doesn’t really showcase period hair and makeup exceptionally well I simply love it.


I dressing as a flapper this Halloween. Cliched and overdone I know but I have an amazing 20’s dress that’s perfection for the look.  My life is such that I rarely get occasion to wear it, so I’m taking it whereI can get it. My bosses are kind of Halloween freaks, its a big deal at my company, there’s even cash prizes to be won.And the opportunity to wear thigh high silk stockings and a garter to work?I’m in. Quick note, in order to keep from looking like a tramp shoes need to be a solid looking. T-strap preferred, heel no higher than 2 or 3 inches.

Though I’m fairly well studied in period styles, I decided to check the net for some how to’s and such. Believe me when I tell you there’s not a lot of useful info out there. Most guides are not authentic(false lashes,hello-they were not available) , in addition to not being authentic, so many were waay overdone. Three shades of blue eyeshadow, I don’t think so. Or the women just ended up looking a bit too costumey and clownish. No thank you.

Quick and easy is hair.  Of course with my hair length I’m doing fingerwaves. You could also buy the cheap generic “flapper” costume wig. Not all women, not all flappers even, wore finger waves or had bobbed hair for that matter. The first image above give awesome authentic hair ideas outside of the old headband with feather. Several look fairly easy to make. Image numbers 7 and 12 show easy options for long hair.  Be sure to use shine product. 1920’s hair was rarely natural.  It was super shiny, often plastered to the head with product think Josephine Baker, if you want to be wowed,watch the entire video. It is phenomenal.  Spit curls always welcome.

On to the makeup…..


Greasepaint type foundation and powder were all that were available. I don’t want to be that authentic. What’s needed is an opaque creamy base. Flawless and pale is the look. Dust with loose powder to set.


Rouge was red toned. Shades of berry, rose, or coral are all appropriate. Creme is more authentic, but use what you have or use lipstick as so many women did. Resist your urge to blend up and out. Color should be applied to the apples only, sometimes applied in an obvious circle and left alone. It’s kind of cute.


Super thin even to the point of shaved off, penciled on brows was a popular look.  But not everyone wore them.Louise Brooks wore a much more natural brow. If you want the thin brow look you could buy silicone makeup to hide your brows. Or easy and cheaper.. Apply a coat of childrens glue stick over your natural brows. Let dry. Cover with concealer and powder. Draw a very thin line sloping downwards. You could also use a bought stencil. Elf cosmetics sells a set for $1.


Eyeshadow.  Frequently used was just the kohl eyeliner smudged over entire lid with petroleum jelly. Grays and browns were used mostly, although green and turquoise were available as well.  What’s most important is using ONE color only. You can apply to lid only or blend all the up to brows either look is authentic.


This is super easy. Eyes are rimmed both top and bottom. This can be as thin or thick as you like, both are authentic.Also used was shadow as liner, or smudging the kohl, like a smoky eye today. No winged corners though.


Falsies were not used. Mascara was available only in wax based cake form. This is one area, I say go the modern way. Apply your favorite mascara to both  top and bottom lashes.


Please refrain from the urge to do a cartoonish strong bow, no corners look. It’s rarely attractive and I see few pictures of anyone wearing it in a serious manner. It worked for Clara Bow and a few others, that about it.  Just as authentic and certainly more attractive is a highly defined cupid bow and a thinner elongated shape. Matte color only.Red preferred.  Not that red is the only authentic color but come on, pounce whenever you can on the chance to do a fierce redvamp lip.

Beauty Mark

Optional but how fun is it to wear. Picture a triangle with one corner being the tip of your nose the other the corner of your lip. The third corner is where your beauty mark should go. I’m totally kidding, I read that somewhere, Draw one wherever you like.

Update: if you look at photos of film stars and such of women in the 1920’s they really aren’t wearing as much makeup as they’re depicted now.