Makeup application techniques that became popular during the 1950s continue to set the standard for today’s definition of classical beauty. The iconic soft red lip with bold black, winged eyeliner is perfect for any bride who wants to feel confident, gorgeous and truly make an impression. Furthermore, 1950s style is also a lot more versatile than one might think—it ranges from dramatic extremes all the way down to a subtle enhancement of certain features. With the proper tools and techniques to achieve just the right amount of ’50s-inspired style to complement your preferences and personality, you can effortlessly evoke Old Hollywood glam on your wedding day.

Makeup in the 1950s is known for four major things: a bold wing liner, red voluptuous lips, glowingly highlighted creamy complexion and defined brows.


Starting with the eyes, you want to pick two neutral colors that closely resemble your skin tone to neutralize your lid color. The decade’s eye makeup focused more on the bold eyeliner as opposed to shadow colors, so the color is present only to even out the lid and should look very natural. When applying, the lighter of the two colors goes on the lid and under the brow to highlight, while the darker color goes in the crease to create depth and a slight shadow.



Next it is time for the liner! First, it is important to decide just how bold you want your eyes to be. You can start out with just a thin line of black, very close to your lash line that slightly extends past the edge of your eye. From here, thicken the line to your own personal liking, though keep in mind that a little more than what you usually wear will translate better in photos. You can use a cream or liquid liner to get a crisp, clean wing, and you can also soften the top line of the wing by using a little bit of a dark eye shadow along the edge of the lid. Finish off the eye with a black pencil liner in the waterline and at least two or three coats of mascara to the top lashes (make sure mascara and liner are waterproof because you may get emotional!). Contrastingly, the lower lid should have minimal makeup, reserved to light mascara and a subtle brown liner at most—this will help to create a look of wide-eyed, soft girlishness that was made popular by stars such as Audrey Hepburn.



As women of the 1950s were well aware, eyebrows frame the face. To draw more attention to your eyes, you will want to brush your brows into a clean, soft arch and then fill them in with a powder, pencil or cream product. To achieve an effect similar to the brooding brows of Elizabeth Taylor, consider using a shade that is slightly darker than your natural hue.


The next aspect to address is your complexion. Apply concealer under the eyes to brighten your face, and follow with a foundation of a dewy or natural finish, and a little bit of blush right on the center of the apples of the cheeks. The women of the 1950s valued healthy skin and natural glow, so consider a rejuvenating trip to the spa or the simple usage of an exfoliating scrub to clear away unevenness.



Last but not least are the lips. If you are nervous about wearing a red lip (as many people are), don’t worry! The good news is that you can achieve this look without it appearing too harsh by substituting a red lipstick for a red tint or stain, which will give the lips a flushed look as opposed to defined, opaque color. However, for those who aren’t faint of heart, I would recommend finding a true red lipstick (meaning that it is equally balanced with cool and warm undertones) so that it is not too orange, bright or dark. Primer will prevent the lipstick from smearing and lip liner helps to define your mouth. An essential aspect of the look is the accentuated Cupid’s bow—achieve this by applying your lipstick from the middle of your top lip and pulling outward. Additionally, exaggerating your upper lip with lip liner will help give you that infamous Marilyn Monroe pout.


If you or a friend are doing your makeup for the big day, it is wise to keep supplies stashed nearby and, especially if you’re reception is outdoors, don’t forget a compact mirror so you can slyly make sure everything is in place without running to the bathroom every ten minutes.