15. Makeup of the 1950's - Lecture

1950's Makeup Marilyn Monroe, Haute Couture, Greaser

1950's Foundation

Pale skin was back again, and pastel hues in powder. Delicacy was the goal for foundation creams and top names like Elizabeth Arden and Max Factor and Helena Rubinstein jostled for supremacy in a woman's handbag. Unlike the 1940s, when a dab of powder was all that was available or affordable for a woman, now every day began with a foundation base, a mask like complexion – a blank canvas. You completed the look with peachy or flesh colored powder.

1950's Blush

Rosy and pastel hues of rouge applied to the apple of the cheek finished off the look.

1950's Lips

It was common now to extend the natural border of your mouth with liner, making a girls look more feminine and – well – voluptuous ! Pinks and Reds were the common mix. Orange-red lipsticks for blonde hair, redheads and other medium dark colors; and purple-red lipsticks for dark haired. A survey in 1951 found that more than two thirds of women now regularly wore lipstick. As a result – long lasting lipstick was the next goal, and the first kiss-proof stay-on lipstick was introduced by a lady called Hazel Bishop in 1950. “It stays on YOU,” declared the ads for Hazel Bishop’s smudge-proof lipstick, “… not on Him!” It was so successful that she formed Hazel Bishop Inc the next year. Sales of her lipsticks increased from $49,527 in 1950 to $10,100,682 in 1953!

1950's Eyes

The eye look of the 1950s was essentially minimal, with little eyeshadow applied. Mascara on the other-hand was everyone’s favorite little accessory. Generous dabs of the stuff added a flushing femininity to a woman.A soft but definite liner was then applied along the upper lash and softly swept out in an arch, opening up the eyes. many women used their blush for an ever so light touch-up over the brows, in the evening time.

Marilyn Monroe

After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century-Fox. Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950), drew attention. By 1952 she had her first leading role in Don't Bother to Knock and 1953 brought a lead in Niagara, a melodramatic film noir that dwelt on her seductiveness. Her "dumb blonde" persona was used to comedic effect in subsequent films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and The Seven Year Itch (1955). Her dramatic performance in Bus Stop (1956) was hailed by critics and garnered a Golden Globe nomination. The Prince and the Showgirl was released in 1957, for which she won multiple awards She received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot (1959). Monroe's last completed film was The Misfits (1961). The final years of Monroe's life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for unreliability and being difficult to work with. The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture. In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth-greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute. In the decades following her death, she has often been cited as both a pop and a cultural icon as well as the quintessential American sex symbol. In 2009, TV Guide Network named her Film's Sexiest Woman of All Time.

Haute Couture

Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time consuming, hand-executed techniques. "Couture" means dressmaking, sewing, or needlework and is also used as a common abbreviation of haute couture and refers to the same thing in spirit. "Haute" means elegant or high. An haute couture garment is made specifically for the wearer’s measurements and body stance. It originally referred to Englishman Charles Frederick Worth's work, produced in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. In modern France, haute couture is a "protected name" that can be used only by firms that meet certain well-defined standards. However, the term is also used loosely to describe all high-fashion custom fitted clothing, whether it is produced in Paris or in other fashion capitals such as London, Milan, New York or Tokyo.


Greasers were a predominately white ethnic youth subculture that originated in the 1950s among young northeastern and southern United States street gangs. The style and subculture then became popular among other types of people, as an expression of rebellion. In the 1950s and early 1960s, these youths were known as hoods. The name greaser came from their greased-back hair style, which involved combing back hair with wax, gel, creams, tonics or pomade. The term greaser reappeared in later decades as part of a revival of 1950s popular culture. The musical act Sha Na Na also played a major role in the revival. Although the greaser subculture was largely an American youth phenomenon, there were similar subcultures in the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy and Sweden. The 1950s British equivalents were the ton-up boys, who evolved into the rockers in the 1960s. Members of rival subcultures in the UK, such as skinheads, sometimes referred to greasers simply as grease. Unlike British rockers, American greasers were known more for their love of hot rod cars, not necessarily motorcycles, although both subcultures are known to be fans of classic motorcycles, as well as being fans of rockabilly music. The equivalent subculture in Australia and New Zealand was the Bodgies and Widgies.