1950s – Inspired Festive Make-up, Beauty & Manicure Tips

Well it’s Christmas Eve Eve (wahoo!!) and this is going to be my last post for a bit as I’m taking a bit of a mini break for Christmas and exam revision next week. I’m sure you’ll all be busy with friends and family over the next few days as well, but if you do have a spare moment do look through our Fifties Wedding blog archives for some interesting reads!

I wanted to leave you all just before Christmas with some festive 1950s-inspired beauty, make-up and manicure tips – ready for those Christmas Eve drinks, Christmas Day lunches and Boxing Day get-togethers. Also useful for New Year! It especially helps if you read this while listening to cheesy Christmas songs in the background (or maybe that’s just me).

The Make-up

It always seems to me that the Hollywood stars of the 50s always had natural, flawless skin.

While we can’t all be blessed with perfect skin, we can do a few things to make sure we have that great base on which to apply make-up. My tips are as follows:

  • Don’t use fake tan.
  • Use a tinted moisturiser.
  • Finish with a very light application of a powder cream such as Benefit’s foundation, or a translucent powder.

I hardly ever wear foundation on a day-to-day basis, but it is worth doing for parties and events as it covers up all the little capillaries and blemishes. The worst mistake is to apply too much foundation though and to use a colour that doesn’t match your own. I like Benefit’s Some-Kinda-Gorgeous foundation. It’s a cream to powder formula which fives a very silky and even application and you only need a very small amount.

Thick black eyeliner is of course essential to achieving that 1950s glam look. Sophia Loren always amazing eyes and was queen of the cat-eye liner. This style is great for Christmas parties because you need to go heavier for evening events when lighting is darker and your eyes need to stand out. It doesn’t give as defined look but I like the way it blends. When shaping your cat eye, your liner should be barely there near the inner corner of your eyes and gradually get thicker as it reaches the outer corners.

Lots of people like using liquid eyeliner (I’ll admit it looks great when done perfectly), but I have never really mastered the art. I stumbled across a great tutorial via Nerdy Girl Makeup that uses a matt eyeshadow and a gel liner if you want to know how to do it.  These pics below show the basic steps.  This look was achieved using the Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel in “77″ with a MAC 208 brush.

After doing some research in Boots I also found a great product that work well to create that Christmassy magical look. This sparkley eye-liner by Too Faced is just perfect (top left and below, £14 from Boots). It’s subtle (which I like) but still adds that special sparkle.

I can’t rave enough about Benefit’s new false lash effect mascara too. Forget those fake eye lashes – just beef up your own!

As far as lips go, anyone with dark hair and olive skin can pull of any shade of red very well, but if you’re not blessed with Mediterranean looks it’s just about picking the right tone. If you’ve got very pale skin and blonde hair try and go for what I call ‘rose reds’ – that is to say reds with pink tones. Orangey reds also would look great. If you’ve got red or brown hair then any bright red will probably suit you very well, but consider your complexion too. Red faces don’t look great with red lipsticks!

The Nails

You’ve got to have manicured nails for the festive season – even if you do your own. Fabulous nails were very fashionable in the 50s. Some 1950s manicures involved painting the lower half of the nail red, but leaving the half moon section free of polish. My choice would be all-over bright red though!

This is my ultimate manicure that I like to do with my feet up on the sofa, as taught to me by my friend Loren who used to do it as job at uni. Clearly having someone do it for you is nicer but this at-home version will stretch your pennies further.

  • First, remove your old nail polish with your usual remover (I use a nourishing one from Boots).
  • Cut and file your nails. I think nails look better shorter rather than long (too Towie for me), though of course it’s all a matter of choice.
  • Apply a cuticle oil and wait for 5 minutes.
  • Push back your cuticles using a cuticle stick – carefully! Again, you can get these sticks from Boots or Superdrug very cheap.
  • Wash your hands gently.
  • Moisturise your hands with a good hand lotion. The one I’m using at the moment is ‘Ginkgo’s Secret’ from Rituals. If you get something that says ‘extra rich and repairing’ then it sounds good to me!
  • Apply an undercoat (I use Sally Hanson) and then your polish.
  • My one tip is definitely make sure you apply an undercoat as in my experience it helps to prevent chipping and provides a smooth surface for your top coat.

That top colour – of course – needs to be Christmassy. Shades of darker and ruby reds are chic and festive, and bright red is of course very 50s. If you can find one with a slight shimmer even better. Those metallic colours also look great – if you’re not comfortable wearing a colour, ditch the French manicure for silver or gold. Don’t forget your toe nails need the love too – even if no one will see them! Here’s my attempt using a great polish from O.P.I.

Mac’s Nail Laqcquer is also a great product. It’s a high gloss formula that doesn’t streak like some versions, and also contains conditioners.

The Body

Now for pampering your skin. After a leisurely bath dowse yourself in a luxurious body lotion. Philosophy’s ‘cinnamon buns’ shampoo, bubble bath and shower gel (3 in 1) is full of all those yummy cinnamon Christmas aromas and will make you feel simply delicious.

Also (my favourite product) Benefit’s Bathina glimmering body balm is perfect to add that festive magical glow to your arms, legs and neck. It really highlights those shoulders and works wonders with fake tan. It’s very understated too, and the smell is heavenly. Shimmer up for baby!

So there we go – my make-up, manicure & beauty tips for this Christmas.

A splash of your favourite perfume and away you go!

All that’s left for me to say is have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I wish you all the very best time. Ensure you all over-indulge and enjoy every second! It really is a time of year to not feel guilty about all the treats you stuff into your mouth, and a time to really enjoy with the people close to you. Be silly, play games, wear those Christmas cracker hats and be a kid again!

We’ll be back January 1st 2012.

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