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1940s Hair and Makeup

Updated on August 19, 2016

We Can Do It!

We Can Do It!

Remember one of the most famous WWII posters of Rosie the Riveter? A woman in a red scarf with white polka-dots wrapped around her head and knotted at the top, in blue union uniform showing us her bicep with the tag line at the top that reads "We Can Do It!" Well, this Poster epitomizes the woman's story during the decade of WWII. A government group named the War Production Co-Ordinating Committee created the poster. The purpose of course was to enlist women's support back home in the war effort.

Like the decades previous, this one had the war to set the tone and helped to define a woman's hair and makeup choices. Simplicity was the catchword of the day. For women were being called on to do a lot during this decade. Makeup was more natural (i.e. creamy skin, smoothly powdered with a natural looking pinkish hue, lips in a patriotic red. The focus for 1940s eyes is the lashes as mascara had found its place during this decade.

Hair was longer and smooth, rendered in a more romantic, softer look than the previous decade. Simplicity may have been important but not at the expense of looking good. According to freebeautytips.org :

"1940's women were asked to do a lot, and working for the war effort took a toll. But glamour was in, fresh from Hollywood, and women who were earning their first paychecks were also shopping, dressing elegantly and using cosmetics like movie stars. Part of the rationale was that the nation's women couldn't afford to look frumpy in a time of war; the other reason for spending so much time and effort on one's appearance was to stay somewhat positive and optimistic. "Putting a brave face on" was more than an interior process: wearing makeup and nice clothes was a statement of self-worth and confidence. "

As in previous decades woman looked to the ladies of the silver screen for "the look"

Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
Betty Davis
Betty Davis

http://www.dorotheasclosetvintage.com/1940s

Fuschia jersey knit rayon 40s cocktail dress with sequined inset panel
Fuschia jersey knit rayon 40s cocktail dress with sequined inset panel
Divine black crepe vintage 40's dress with harlequin diamond cut
Divine black crepe vintage 40's dress with harlequin diamond cut
Breathtaking black crepe rayon colum gown with long, dramatic peplum
Breathtaking black crepe rayon colum gown with long, dramatic peplum
Black harlequin weave slipper satin 40's gown with the BEN REIG label, created under the supervision of head designer OMAR KIAM (former costume designer for MGM
Black harlequin weave slipper satin 40's gown with the BEN REIG label, created under the supervision of head designer OMAR KIAM (former costume designer for MGM

Vintage public service newsreal "Hairstyle for Safety"

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    • profile image

      laniya 

      5 years ago

      this was very helpful:)

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 

      6 years ago from all over the web

      nicely done. thank you for great information. i am a fan of the 1940s hair and makeup and enjoyed the hub.

    • profile image

      Sydney's Vintage Clothing 

      8 years ago

      Dresses from the 40's are incredible and getting harder to find. I love how you have shared about the hair styles for the period.

    • profile image

      katryna 

      8 years ago

      yeah me too :p

    • profile image

      olivia 

      8 years ago

      i love the 1940 style

    • profile image

      katryna 

      8 years ago

      i love how you can make the face look really delicate, and smoothe like skin .... im amazed by what you can make out of such a small amount... good work :)

    • profile image

      Brooke 

      8 years ago

      I love the 1940's look. Its so classy and elegant! I found Besame's facebook page to be a great help for getting tips on how to recreate the 1940's make up! The link is http://bit.ly/4S9JU

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      very interesting...I love anything from the past...I noticed that some celebrities are wearing a strong lip like they did in the 40's! :)

    • profile image

      Luke 

      9 years ago

      Very nice article, I think as we are still looking for something new, we also try to go back in time. In my opinion we will be more often trying to come back to the old hair styles, as every fashion style comes back after 20, 30 years!

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