It can be a Mad Men World out there, but something the ladies will always have in their arsenal is the cosmetic prowess to transform into stunning caricatures of timeless style icons throughout the decades. Inspired by award-winning AMC television series’ ability to revitalize and capture 50s-60s at a level of authenticity unmatched by many others, style blogger Laura Okita of Paper Mothball Vintage shares with us an exclusive tutorial series on getting that mid-century bombshell look.
The 60s was a time of rapid change, a transition decorated with fresh idealism, the growing pains of much-needed social movements, evolving gender roles and a new open-mindedness that both integrated and clashed with traditional ideals.
Today, we find ourselves right in the middle of such a beginning’s end – that is of the final season of Mad Men! If you’re already having withdrawals and cannot wait another year to get that fix, fear not. Laura’s step-by-step ode to this timeless look will reassure you that the hair, make-up and fashion styles you’ve grown to know and love won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon.
Prep the Face
1. Prepare your skin with toner and your daily face lotion. Toner is important for your skin’s health as well as helping to minimize pores. Look for lotions or foundations with at least a 15 spf to protect your skin from the sun.
2. Apply foundation all over the face. Don’t forget your eyelids, under your nose and under your chin. Blend down into the neck, so it won’t look like you are wearing a mask. Push and soak the foundation into your skin. Using warm hands or a sponge is best.
BB cream foundations look the most natural and nurture your skin. If you are having a hard time matching your skin color, you may want to mix foundation a shade lighter and darker to get your own custom color.
3. Dab small dots of concealer under the eyes, at your smile lines, and on any blemishes. Blend lightly and gently. Concealers come in a variety of textures and types such as matte sticks, creams and liquids. If you have dry skin, opt for a liquid, if you need stronger coverage, try the matte sticks. I prefer cream because it falls in the middle.
The Shadow BaseIn the late 50s through the 60s, we see a lot of cat-eyes with clean, shaped eyebrows. For this look, we will be creating a smoky cat-eye accentuated with eyeliner. Choose a pressed powder eye shadow in a cream/ivory shade.
1. Using a medium small flat brush, apply eyeshadow all over the eyelid using the corners of your eyes to the ends of your eyebrows as a general guide.
Eyeshadow can be shimmery or matte, but remember the more shimmer and reflection a cosmetic has, the more light it will reflect in pictures, so keep this in mind as it may hinder or enhance your look. I prefer a slightly pearlescent powder. The more opaque your powder, the more you have to be sure to blend the edges well.
2. Next, we will create the shape of the cat-eye shadow. The Mad Men girls typically wore brown and taupe eye colors, with the exception of Megan, who was a little more trendy and adventurous with the mod blues and whites.
Using a round brush that fits well in the crease of your eyelid, apply a light layer beginning from the outer corner of your eye, following in the crease to about the middle of your eyelid. Keeping your eye slightly open can help guide you along the inside of the crease.
3. Using the same brown color and a smaller round brush, reinforce the crease line you just made with a stronger second line, continue this in a sideways “v” shape down onto the upper eyelid lashline, and line the bottom lashes as well.
4. Using a brown eyeliner pencil, repeat step 3, making a thinner stronger application of color, blending into the lashes.
5. With a small sturdy dry clean brush, blend the eyeliner until it melts into the eye shadow.
Get that CateyeWhen applying a cat-eye with eyeliner there are a lot of choices and it takes practice. Don’t be frustrated or give up if the first time around isn’t perfect. Eyeliners come in pencil, liquid or gel, waterproof and non-waterproof. Professionals use gel eyeliner because it has the strongest black color and creates a perfect strong line. I prefer liquid because it’s much easier to remove later and it doesn’t dry out as fast. It’s also easier to fix while you are applying. You may start out with pencil if it’s more comfortable as a beginner, but eventually you will be happier with the look of liquid or gel.
1. Start at the center of your eye. Gently (don’t press hard with liquid) and swiftly glide the brush at a slight angle up to the length you desire. From the point, paint a single line backwards to the corner of your eye. Fill in the space between the two lines you just drew.
2. From the center where you started, draw a line to the inner corner of your eye.
You have to be confident and smooth when applying; don’t stop until you reach the end of the line you wish to draw. Faster strokes actually make smoother lines. If you make a mistake, take a moist q-tip and wipe off that area. You can also use a moist q-tip to clean the edges, refining a more perfect edge. I also use a q-tip to clean any liquid liner that I may have gotten on my eyelashes, which can cause problems with mascara later.
The Full BrowMid Century Eyebrows tended to be a little fuller with a clean shape, tapering after a softly defined arch.
1. With an eyebrow pencil, draw a line where your eyebrow begins, upwards with a flick. Draw a second small line at the base of the hairs.
2. Flicking upwards and working your way to the arch, continue filling in the front portion. Once you get to the arch, shape the arch sketching forward and backward.
3. Draw short blending lines perpendicular to the front section (or sideways, parallel to the eye). You can find the end of the eyebrow by placing the pencil at the corner of your eye and lining it up with your eyebrow.
4. Fill in any space on the underside of the eyebrow that may be missing.
5. Brush out your eyebrows using the brush on the other end of the pencil or using an eyebrow brush. Comb the hairs up in the front section and outwards to the side on the outer section.
Look-at-me LashesMost makeup artists recommend curling the eyelashes before you begin with any eye shadow. However, I find that if I am going to use liquid eyeliner, they really get in the way and make things messy. The risk of curling after eyeliner is that you may mess it up. If you let the eyeliner dry long enough and you are careful, you can get around it. This is a personal preference for timing, but a necessary step.
1. When you squeeze the curler, do so cautiously and slowly to make sure your skin isn’t caught. If it’s all clear, squeeze and slightly lift in an upward motion. The trick to putting on false eyelashes is just to relax, and while they do come with a glue strip on them, you want to use eyelash glue for a better hold.
2. Fold the plastic tray near the eyelash to expose the ends enough to pull them off of the tray. Dab a pea size of glue onto your hand and pull the lash base edge through the glue. Let it dry for just a few seconds.
3. Gently set the lashes in place where you want them to sit. Just relax and try not to blink, let them just rest there. Using rounded tweezers (be careful, not a sharp one!), a q-tip or your finger, push one end onto your natural lash line to stick in place. Check that the middle is sticking in the correct place, and then stick the other end of the lash in place.
4. Apply mascara on the inner eyelashes that are exposed from the false lashes not reaching the corner of your eye. Apply heavier in the exposed areas and thinner where covered by the lashes. Waterproof or non-waterproof doesn’t matter, however, I would recommend not using a fiber lash with false lashes.
1. With a blush and blush brush, sweep blush on in a circular motion on the apples of your cheeks and up a bit towards your ears. Blend well. Sometimes I use my fingers to blend the edges. Go light on blush. Overdoing the blush can make all your makeup look too strong and heavy.
In the 1950s, cosmetic manufacturers did not make the hundreds of colors and textures that we have today. If you are a fan of the show, you may remember the episode where the secretaries got to sample and vote for their favorite lipstick color, the variety being quite exciting and unusual for them. So what did they wear? Popular lipstick colors in the 50s appropriate for the office or housewife were light pinks and corals, and heading into the 60s, we see a lot more beige and neutral colors. Of course at night you could be bold with a red lip, but for a daytime look, we will stick with a taupe toned pink.
1. With a lip liner, draw the Cupid’s bow, but overshoot the left peak pushing outwards to the left and the right to the right. Keep it very rounded and then taper back into the natural lip line to the corners. Stretch the bottom line as flat as you can draw it
Why do we need lip liner? Because most lipsticks are basically moist pigments that want to soak out and saturate the area. That means, if you draw past the natural lip, it will bleed onto the skin surrounding your mouth, making you look more like you just drank cool-aid than applied lipstick. The lip liner is very matte and dry, creating a barrier to keep the lipstick in and wont bleed. It also helps draw a more accurate shape.
2. Fill in your lips with lipstick. You can venture a little into the lip liner, but make sure it’s blended or you’ll end up with more of a 90s look. It’s also ok to just fill in with the lip liner.
Don’t press your lips together! It’s a hard habit to break but it unevenly moves the lipstick around and since your top shape is not the same as the bottom, it just won’t match. Depending on how glossy your lipstick is, you may want to lightly blot and reapply the lipstick once more.
Perfect for a Betty, a Peggy or a Joan! Tell us, which one is your favorite?
If you’d like to complement the look with something fun and funky, check out Laura’s Vintage Pinup Hair with a Scarf video below:
Read the Mad Men hairstyling tutorial here!