December 3, 2011

1950s step-by-step photo tutorial for applying eye make-up

Day 337 of Vintage 365

It's a safe bet to say that the majority of us have at least a decent handle on how to apply eye makeup, especially given the emphasis on that particular facial feature that certain vintage looks call for (hello, cat's eye eyeliner!).

Some of us are old pros, others relatively confident in their abilities but not quite as resolute in their skills as they hope to be one day, whereas there is certainly a percentage of vintage make-up fans who are just starting out with learning how to apply old school cosmetic looks on themselves.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it's likely that you'll enjoy the instructional set of black and white photographs in today's post, which show the precise techniques used (on this model at least) back in 1950 to achieve a strikingly elegant, endlessly classic lined eye look.

{Dramatic, but certainly not overpoweringly so, and richly beautiful vintage eye make-up tutorial from the pages of a 1950 copy of Life magazine. Image via Van Michelle on Flickr.}


In this particular step-by-step guide we're taken through the five stages of achieving a striking early fifties make-up look, which include shadow, pencil (eyeliner), lower lid, and eyebrow, cumulating in a finished, polished face that is as timeless as the day is long.

I always delight in vintage make-up and hairstyle tutorials like this, whether I'm merely observing them as a fan of the past or taking detailed notes so that I can recreate the same style myself later on.

It’s always such a treat to chance upon vintage images like this and get a chance see exactly what products were used, as well as what steps were taken, to achieve the very mid-twentieth century make-up looks that I adore (as so many of you do, too) and emulate most myself.


  1. Interesting post! I do love the cat eye look....but in my case it has turned more into a simple eyeliner flick! :) Being not too skilled in make-up and a bit squeamish when it comes near the eyes, I usually only apply eyeliner to the outer upper lid and end with a flick.
    May x

  2. I have to be honest-I wish I had a Muah team around me all the time-I would rather have it done for me then do it myself-never been good at it-dont know if I ever will LOL xox

  3. Wow beautiful :) Perfect black line! ^^ Thanks for sharing the tutorial

  4. I will book mark this and give it a go. I like experimenting with different make up.

    You must be exhausted from all this posting, I remember when it started in January and I thought 'wow that is some commitment!', you must be very pleased to have made it so far! x