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How to Apply 1950s White Tone Makeup

While bright reds and soft blues were the most popular choice of lipstick and eyeshadow in the 1950s, another trend emerged from the forward thinking cosmetic scene in Italy; chalk white.

American fashionistas picked the trend up first, opting for the full Italian white makeup style. A move away from the conventional 1950s makeup trend of red lipstick with blue eyeshadow, the Italian Pale look saw both lipstick and eyeshadow replaced with pure white tones.

Following white lipstick’s success amongst high fashion circles, some of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world started selling white lipstick and eyeshadow and saw it fly off the shelves in huge quantities.

But why use white lipstick and eyeshadow at all? What was the cosmetic benefit?

Well, white eyeshadow when applied to just underneath the eyebrow and brought around to the inner corner of the eye can create the appearance of a larger and more innocent eye, while white lipstick applied over the top of classic 1950s red can give a faux glossy look that was considered flirty at the time.

So how to achieve the look?

The undiluted Italian Pale look was an extremely bold use of chalk whites and was rarely seen on the street. For 1950s women who weren’t about to walk the catwalk, the Italian Blended look reigned supreme.

For the eyeshadow, blues should be applied as normal. Once applied, white eyeshadow should be applied to the area underneath the arch of the eyebrow, and swept inwardly towards the inner corner of the eye. Once blended, the eye should be a soft white in this area, fading to a darker blue on the eyelid.

Red lipstick should be applied as normal, followed by a layer of white lipstick that focuses on the inner parts of the lips. This should leave you with red lined lips and a bold white centre. Blend the two together, until the red outer line fades to a small touch of white just in the centre of the lower lip. The final effect should be a glossy sheen, rather than a stark contrast.

If you find you’re being too heavy handed with the white lipstick, try rolling the stick over the lip instead of applying as you usually would.

This white makeup trend was the beginning of a huge surge in colour blending in 1950s cosmetics and beyond, a real milestone for makeup and one that we love to celebrate by experimenting with the cooler tones in our makeup palettes!

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