While posing the question “Who wants ice cream?” may produce a vastly larger crowd response of “I dos” than you would ever get in response to “Who wants to look just like a silent film star?”–You can be sure that you would have at least an audible “me” and raised hands. A significant influence on early makeup happened to come from the type of film that was used, with the first movies being shot on orthochromatic film. This type rendered yellow to red ranged colors as almost black upon the big screen, with the blue to purple tones appearing to be mostly whitish and devoid of color altogether . Oh, and there were numerous problems with how this film recorded visual information, with ruddy-skinned actors just looking plain dirty, and the romantically dreamy eyes we love today being unacceptable for any cinematic success, as on screen, blue eyes appeared as all-eyeball and no retina–scary.
1910-1920 Hollywood Makeup Requirements
First of all, it was the actors themselves saddled with the task of doing their own heavy, thick makeup, with color instructions provided by the studios. The foundation was greasepaint with a blue tone, and lips were painted yellow. Imagining how these folks looked in real time is a hoot–more like circus performers–and badly made up ones, at that! With the extreme facial expressions needed to cover for no sound, the thick greasepaint would crack, and it ruined the sensitive skin on the face of Dolores Costello–grandmother to Drew Barrymore, forcing her out of the industry forever. The typical look included really heavy black encircling the eyes that was nothing resembling today’s nice smokey effects. Chances are, there is no look here to emulate, with the possible exceptions of Joan Crawford’s smeared lips-with her lipstick application exceeding her lip size, and Clara Bow’s pointy lip shape.
It was all about high shine for hair, and waves that never ended. Max Factor was “it,” and his first release of panchromatic film’s shine importance, a slick shining lip gloss was actually given an “X rating!” Hair was the most dominant beauty feature of this period, and head-hugging waves were all the rage, with women moving into more short haircuts than ever before.
During this time, there was not a whole lot of anything much, as it seemed to be about an imminent change for women that was mostly confusing for Hollywood screen styles. The form was far more conservative than what the Flappers of the 20s had introduced, with everything succinct, tightly buttoned, tailored and zipped up–and hair was shorter with much of it curled under, page-boy style–even bangs, which may never make it back into a trend status. Carole Lombard, Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck can be seen in photos with richly dark lip colors we’ll remember.
Lauren Bacall was dubbed “The Look,” with her gorgeous blond midi tresses that gently waved, curling under at the ends. We remember her softly smoky eyes and dramatically arched brows
Who can forget the lovely Italian Sophia Loren, with her hourglass shape women today now can have with a trending waist trainer or corset?
Grace Kelly, with her regal elegance, set an imperial tone for fashion and style–from silky capri pants and matching top to tea-length full skirted dresses and those so-popular short white gloves.
We saw a lot of Elizabeth Taylor during this decade–with her violet eyes, huge diamonds and opulence. Faye Dunaway presented a tall, slender sleek blond image with slow, softly spoken southern grace.
Michelle Pfeiffer’s slender, delicate form and blond hair made her a beloved star among men, and she could rock some blue shades of shadow, with an otherwise simple makeup look and neutral, glossy lip shades.
One look at Pamela Anderson now, and it’s sad, but this blond bombshell, with her perfect body, long blond hair and gorgeous face was wanted by every woman and man of the 90s. Her natural, fresh look featured thick, nude colored full lips, perfectly arched and thin brows, wild and sexy tousled hair and mascara that went for miles.
Halle Berry, with her short, short hair in loose waves presented an athletic femininity with delicate cheekbones on her heart shaped face. We fell in love with her perfect nose!
Kristen Stewart killed the decade, with her long, lanky presence and lovely green eyes sporting the perfect brow arch–and lush, full lips–but it’s gotta be a lot about the star’s unique attitude, which keeps her going strong now! Or could it be Lupita Nyong’o whom we’ll remember in beauty, with that all-natural face–and sweetly fresh cherry red-painted lips?