Transform your wedding style with Retro Bridal Makeup Inspiration: 1920s -1970s

When it comes to picking a style for your big day, you need something that will make you look and feel fabulous.  Choosing a trendy makeup look that is a passing fad will only make the look date quickly.  When you look back on the photos of your special day you want to feel proud and nostalgic, not cringe wondering what you were thinking.  You want a look that stands out from your daily makeup routine, something flattering and beautiful. 

This is why so many brides opt for a vintage or retro bridal makeup look.  From the 1920s to the 1970s there is a whole array of stunning looks to be inspired by.  Whether you opt for a vintage dress with matching accessories and hair and makeup that are true to the era or choose the vintage makeup to go with your classic or modern dress, there are many ways to wear vintage.

The 1920s

In the 1920s the flapper style was massive, there was something slightly androgynous about the style and hair was cropped.  The makeup from this era is a beautiful choice for your wedding day as it radiates traditional Hollywood glamour. 

The ideal 1920s base is matt porcelain foundation to create the silver screen starlet look.  Red lips were very popular in the 1920s, but rather than a shocking shade of poppy think more crushed raspberry or blushing rose.  Lip stain also has a 1920s vibe to it!  If red is too strong for you or you’d rather something more subtle for your wedding day, then perhaps opt for a plum or claret coloured lip stain. 

Smokey grey eyes were very popular in the 1920s, and coal was often used to create this sexy smokey effect.  Luckily these days we can use eyeshadow, kohl liner and plenty of blending to pull off the look instead!  Don’t forget to add little flicks of liquid liner.  For the blush, a healthy flushed glow was order of the day.  You need to look like you’ve been dancing the Charleston!  To really look convincing team it with a little beauty spot, they were all the rage in the 1920s.

retro bridal makeup 1920's Bride
1920’s Bride
retro bridal makeup 1920s Bridal Makeup
1920s Retro Bridal Makeup

The 1930s

The glamour and feeling of luxury were the same as the 1920s but things were a little less theatrical and dramatic when it came to makeup.  If you’re after a 1930s fashion look you’ll want to aim for screen siren more than the average girl.  The economy was in crisis, but in Hollywood, it was all lashings of silk, diamonds and cocktails.  Think Art Deco, think luxury, think sexy slinky figure-hugging dresses. 

As for the makeup, more natural shade of foundation was preferred, enhanced with a touch of pale pink blush.  In the early 1930s, no rouge or blush was used at all, but later on, a little touch became fashionable.  Soft purple and raspberry became were the most common blush shades.  The smoky eyeshadow look evolved, with a darker shade used in the eye socket to give a deep-set effect.  Popular eye shadow colours were bright blue, violet, green and brown. 

Eyebrows were plucked until they were very thin and pencilled in with long exaggerated lines, they would then be slicked down with petroleum jelly.  Drawing in a fake elongated cupids bow was fashionable, and lipstick shades such as pale pink and raspberry were popular at the beginning of the decade, but by the latter half rich reds became favourable again.

retro bridal makeup 1930s Bridal Makeup
1930s Retro Bridal Makeup

The 1940s

The war had a massive impact on the fashions of the 1940s, and wedding gowns tended to be very minimalist because of it.  Most 1940s wedding gowns incorporated a sweetheart neckline and Basque waist.  If you love the 1940s, you may rather a 1940s style swing dress than the traditional wedding dress of the era. 

Team this style with victory curls, and an authentic retro bridal makeup look.  The makeup of the 1940s evolved to become much more natural.  Face powder was still popular, but a heavy base wasn’t as popular as it had been in previous decades.  Bright flushed cheeks warmed up the more natural skin palette, and grey and browns eyeshadows were favoured with a small hint of eyeliner. 

The over-plucked eyebrow look was fading and a more natural look was preferred, though a more natural shaped brow was still shaped, defined and preened.  Lips were made to look full and soft, often by drawing in a fake top line.  Shades of red were very popular in lipstick, covered the brightest blood red to tangerine tinted to deep scarlets and crimsons.

Vintage Retro Bridal Makeup
1940s Retro Bridal Makeup

The 1950s

For the 1950s wedding look, think tea-length dresses, vintage lace and pin curls.  The post-war austerity was over, it was time for a new flavour of glamour to be released. 

The 1950s face used a thick creamy foundation base, set with just a dusting of flesh coloured powder.  Eyebrows were neatly tapered and defined with pencil and eyeliner was winged.  The length and depth of the wing depended on personal choice and just how glamorous you wanted to be, with filmstars opting for a dramatic look and the average woman opting for a softer style. 

Glamorous red lips were hugely popular in this period, most women followed their natural lipline while stars of the silver screen exaggerated the cupids bow with a false line.  Pastels were very popular, especially pinks and peaches.  Eyeshadow was subtle, with the focus being on the lashes and sexy winged eyeliner.  The whole look was set off by a tiny application of subtle blush on the apple of the cheeks.

Vintage Retro Bridal Makeup
1950s Retro Bridal Makeup

The 1960s

The overall style of the 1960s is rebellious and coquettish, think cropped hair, mini skirts and the pillbox hat.  The makeup that epitomises this era was sexy and liberated.  Some girls favoured the natural look, but for others, the makeup style was beautifully glamorous. 

The foundation was formed from pressed powder, finished with peachy natural blusher.  Pastel eyeshadows were very popular, shades such as baby blue or a light shade of golden-green really sum up this era.  Dramatic eyeliner was still popular, but rather than the elegant flicks of the 1950s, the 1960s look was heavier with a blunter line.   False eyelashes were on trend and really created the doe-eyed look that is associated with this period. 

Eyebrows were thick and well-defined, yet neat and well-kept.  The most popular lip look was to use a pale pink or nude lip liner to define your natural lipline and then to fill in your lips with a shell-pink lip gloss or pale pink shimmery lipstick. 

60's Retro Bridal Makeup
60s Retro Bridal Makeup

The 1970s 

The sense of freedom and self-expression that started in the 1960s was even stronger by the time the 1970s came into play.  A strong sense of the bohemian is the way to really sum up the 1970s style.  Long flowing gowns, embroidery and floral garlands with loose wavy hair are a perfect way, to sum up, this time. 

For the makeup, like the 1960s, there were still those who embraced the natural look.  These were the girls who were rebelling against the immaculate idea of the 1950s housewife that their mothers had been.  On the other hand, there was a different type of rebellion going on.  Disco culture and avant-garde punk!  The disco look used glitter and gloss and an abundance of shimmer.  The punk look involves the serious helping of rock-chick style, lashings of glossy red lipstick and smudgy smoky eye makeup.

 The makeup of this time was very expressive and individual.  Gone were the soft pastels and delicate tones of former decades, replaced instead with harsh strips of blusher, strong colour palettes, unnaturally pale skin and dramatic brows.  Lipliner was out, but making a statement was certainly in.

70s Bridget Bardot retro bridal makeup
70s Bridget Bardot Makeup
1970s Vintage Retro Bridal Makeup
1970s Retro Bridal Makeup

Each decade had its own distinct retro bridal makeup style.  Whether you choose to draw on aspects on a particular era or embrace it fully.  Whether you choose a more modern take on it or opt for an authentic vintage look.  Whether you go retro with just your makeup or your full attire.  There is something in the vintage makeup world for everyone, and it’s a fabulous way to look beautiful with a timeless look that will make you feel fabulous on your special day.

For more makeup inspiration follow this link!

LJ x

Photographer credits in order:

(Instagram photo by me!)

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