Make-up Through The Ages Collab | The 1920s

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I had never done a blog collaboration before, so when the opportunity to participate in the ‘Make-up Through The Ages’ project I was beyond excited. What’s more, I got my favourite era, the 1920s! It has been encapsulated in loads of amazing films including The Great Gatsby and Bugsy Malone, and I can’t wait to get started in showing you guys how to achieve the look.

A Little Bit of History

  • The 1920s brought rapid changes in the perception and application of make-up. Before this era, women that wore make-up were thought to be actresses or prostitutes, figures they did not want to associate with.
  • Changing perceptions were brought about by the war, which caused a gender imbalance as men became absent. Women were encouraged to do more to compete for a man’s affection, so wore make-up to make themselves appear more desirable.
  • Women were unafraid to be bold and daring with their make-up, loading it onto their skin enabled them to stand out.
  • As the perception of make-up evolved, so did the practicality of beauty products. More were released and there was increased innovation in packaging.
  • Icons of the time included Clara Bow, Louise Brooks and Evelyn Brent.


Clara Bow


  •  The desirable effect to achieve on your skin in the 1920s was as pale and flawless as possible. It was believed that if your skin was porcelain, it would make your dark eyes and bright lips be even more of an alluring statement.
  • Unfortunately, I have a bit more of an olive complexion than they had back then. I attempted to use a lighter shade in my trusty Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation, but it didn’t really do the trick. The colour of your face for this look is by no means the most important aspect though, it is much more crucial to secure a smooth finish. To achieve this, I used the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to blend everything in.



Evelyn Brent and her flawless complexion

  • Blush was another important feature in the 1920s make-up look. Just because there were bold eyes and lips did not mean that women would shy away from a bright blush too!
  • I used my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge to pack Topshop’s blush in Afternoon Tea onto the apples of my cheeks. Be sure not to sculpt with the blusher, instead placing it in a round circular motion onto the cheeks. Women of the 1920s wanted to achieve a round-looking face, a dramatic contrast to the Kardashian look we do today!   



I would encourage you guys not to contour if you want a more authentic look, as this will be damaging to the roundness you have already created in the face!


  • One of our best loved make-up looks, the smoky eye, emerged in the 1920s. Women favoured a really dark eye look, so I opted for my Naked 2 Palette, using the colour ‘Busted’ all over the lid, then ‘Blackout’ to blend it all out. I felt a bit panda like once I was done, so I patted some of Bourjois’ Color Edition 24H in ‘Petale de Glace’ into the centre of my eye.


  • Eyeliner was another key trend of the time, inspired by the Egyptians. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb sparked mass obsession with all things Egyptian, and this was translated in products and fashions. I used GOSH eyeliner to line my eyes close to the lashes. It’s important not to wing the liner out, as it will create elongated eyes instead of round ones.
  • In the 1920s, mascara was produced commercially for the first time (before this women would mix petroleum jelly and soot to achieve dark lashes! Oh the dedication). They really liked to go crazy with the mascara, to achieve the flutteriest, darkest, longest lashes possible. To achieve this, I used Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara.



  • The 1920s lips are probably the most iconic aspect of their make-up look. The Cupid’s bow has to be heavily exaggerated, and other parts of the lips under-drawn to create a symmetrical and precise effect. To achieve this, it is crucial to use a lip-liner! I used my favourite, The Body Shop’s ‘Rosy Red’.
  • In the early 1920s, women favoured a dark shade of red whereas the later 1920s saw the emergence of a brighter more pillarbox red. I decided to go for the Cupids bow – emphasis of shape of lips & underdrawing in certain areas, pillarbox red in late 1920s vs early 1920s deep red. I chose my favourite statement red, the Rimmel Apocolips in ‘Across the Universe’.

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bowz1920s eyebrows are my least favourite aspect of the make-up look. My eyebrows are thick (maybe a bit too much) and arched, compared with the 1920s trend of really long straight eyebrows – see above. I was unwilling to ruin my eyebrows by doing that to them (sorry guys).


Some of you may know that my hair is incredibly long and thick, so turning into a bob was not going to be an easy task! To achieve the illusion of a short bob, I tied some of my hair into a bun at the back and clipped the rest under it to hide it. Even if you don’t want to go for the whole bobbed look, why not add a fun headband or sparkly accessory to bring the feel of the 1920s to your normal hair style!



Hair from the ‘Great Gatsby’ film


  • The 1920s was a time where women won the right to vote! The American youth felt more liberated and desired to change their culture and fashion to celebrate their values. The hemlines of skirts and dresses were shortened to the knee as ‘flapper’ fashion emerged. 
  • Women did not emphasise their curves, desiring to appear younger rather than more mature. German-American actress Marlene Dietrich pioneered this new androgynous style. 
  • Finally, the 1920s was an era of decadence and ostentation (preceding the Wall Street Crash in 1929). Feel free to go crazy with your 1920s look – cover yourself in pearls, lace and fur to feel like the most exclusive guest at one of Gatsby’s parties.



I went with this lacey dress with detailing and paired it with a pearl bracelet.

I’ll leave you guys with my favourite quote from The Great Gatsby: 

“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, I really got into the history of the 1920s and hopefully you found it interesting! Be sure to check out the other posts in this collab because they are all lovely people who write amazing content!

Egyptians: Angela from

1920: Soph from Little Bit Soph

1930: Meagan from A Beauty Obsession…air-and-makeup/

1940: Olivia from Eye Have A Lot of Feelings

1950: Heather from Coconut & Cotton

1960: Brittany from The Beauty Deputy…-collaboration

1970: Michelle from Pretty in the East

1980: Christina from a casual beauty

1990: Jacquelyn from the Little Scottish Corner

2000: Stephanie Wright

Present Day: Barbe from Fashionista in Surburbia…es-present-day/

Futuristic:  Becky from MakeupandFreckles




43 thoughts on “Make-up Through The Ages Collab | The 1920s

  1. Sophie!! You nailed it!! What a gorgeous post, from the make up, the hair down to that lovely lace dress! Just beautiful… gotta love that Great Gatsby era! Well done x

  2. This is fantastic! I love how you’ve got into the history and really done your research, it’s so interesting to read as well as pretty to look at! The discovery of King Tut’s tomb influencing the eye makeup was particularly interesting, as it’s less well known than the decadence of the 1920’s that we all know and love. The round face thing is interesting given how much we contour today, and I love how you’ve done the lips – they look really authentic! Totally nailed it and it suits you!

  3. Sorry it took so long to comment, work was crazy this weekend so I didn’t get a chance until now. Anyway….awesome job! So glad that you took part in this collab with me. Love the makeup, the hair, and the outift. Love the hair accessory. Ooh and the naked 2. I really need to watch The Great Gatsby movie.

  4. I love this collab idea, I actually participated in one too a while back and I also got the 20’s !!! 😀 But your post is far better with much more interesting details, I only knew the basics when I did it, thank god I found this and now I can proudly say I will not die stupid ha ha! 😀

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