Could You Pass a 1953 Beauty Class?



By: Monica Lee

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Let's set the stage. The Postwar economy from 1945 to 1960 was in a boom. From new automobiles flooding the streets to a huge housing expansion, (thanks to affordable mortgages for returning servicemen) life was good.  And women were part of that expansion, many staking a claim in the workforce with disposable incomes which helped the cosmetic industry explode. There were mega brands such as Dior, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Max Factor and Elizabeth Arden. This new look in makeup reflected a change in attitude from the simple, minimal look of the 1940s to the refined feminine beauty of the '50s.

Which is why there is so much interest in retro looks today: The fifties added color, definition and flair. Even the clothes were stylish. Un-padded rounded shoulders, shapely bust lines and closely defined waistlines all created a very glamorous look. Add a Poodle Cut, Pixie or Bouffant and you were set!  

One fault of the '50s was that it was very matchy, matchy. Women who followed the trends matched their lips and eye shadow to a purse, hat, gloves, shoes, you name it.  However if you're going for the fabulous '50s look, you may want to tone that down a bit. But first, take this quiz and find out how to do the '50s with flair. 

It's the 1950s and it's time to choose your foundation, which one is best?

Today you would want a perfect match of foundation to your skin tone, but fashionistas in the '50s wanted you to choose a foundation that was one shade darker than your skin tone with a slightly pink tint.


What color rouge would you wear back then?

It was recommended that you use light pink cream rouge. During this decade, women did not need to chose colors that complimented their skin and hair colors, as was the case in the past.


What color eyebrow pencil was preferred?

The choice of eyebrow pencil was one shade darker than your natural eyebrow color. The eyebrow accented the eye even more when eye shadow was applied with a light color under the brow.


Which of these eyeliner colors would you choose in the '50s?

For daily wear you could choose a brown or black eyeliner. Light skin and light eyes look best in brown. However, if you wanted to be trendy back then, you'd match your eye liner to your eye shadow.


What is the name of the hairstyle that provided permed, tight curls?

Made popular by actresses like Peggy Garner, Faye Emerson and Lucille Ball, the poodle cut was fun and flirty.


In the 1950s, how often did women wash their hair?

In the '50s, there was not a problem with women over-washing their hair. Once a week (most likely at the Beauty Parlor) was all that was needed.


Which of these eye shadows would you choose in the '50s?

Eye shadow shades were coordinated with your eye color for most looks. However there were brighter and more colorful shades to match your dress or accessories.


Which type of mascara is correct to replicate the 1950s look?

Cake mascara came in a hard, compressed pigment (a cake, if you will). Cake mascara is wax-based, not water-based, so it would stay in place as well as any other non-waterproof mascara.


What was the beauty rule for wearing lipstick?

It was really eye shadow that was matched with everything. Not lip color. The rule was to go with a lighter shade of your chosen color during the day, and a darker shade of that same color for an evening look.


What lipstick colors did you have to choose from in the '50s?

Unlike the blues, purples, glosses and sparkles we have today, in the '50s there were only red, pinks, coral and orange tints in a matte finish.


Which was the ideal face shape in the 1950s?

The oval shape was deemed the most beautiful in the 1950s. There were tips on contouring your face using darker and lighter powders to give the illusion of an oval.


How often would you give yourself a facial in the 1950s?

According to skin care advisers in the 1950s, women should first cleanse their face well with cream, then apply a mask to their throat and face.


What was the correct placement for rouge back in the day?

Rosy red checks were out of fashion in the 1950s. If any rouge was used, it was for contouring the cheekbones by dotting rouge on the upper cheekbones and brushing upward to the temple.


Which of these hairstyles involved dramatic volume, backcombing and ample use of hairspray?

One of the most prevalent styles of the 1950s, the bouffant later give way to the amped-up, towering "beehive" style.


Why did the '50s gal use face powder?

These reasons are still valid today to use powder over makeup. In the '50s, the advice was to use a light application of loose powder that is a tone darker than your skin.


What happens if you choose a powder that is way too light for your skin?

If the powder is way too light, you can have a clown-like appearance. No mixing of foundation or rouge will help that unhealthy glow.


You are wearing a low-neck evening gown and have powder on your face. What else should you powder?

The powers that be among the '50s fashion elite, advised that you powder from your face to your décolleté if you were wearing a low-cut gown.


Eye shadows evolved in the '50s. Which of these could you find at the cosmetic counter?

The colors above are just the most popular ones during the '50s. Others could be found as well. Eye shadow colors went from nude or natural in the 1940s to an explosion of color in the 1950s.


Evening wear for eye shadow included which of these?

Although there was lots of makeup advice available, the general consensus was that a tint of silver was most attractive for light eyes and a tint of gold made darker eyes more elegant.


Ready to pluck your eyebrows '50s-style? Which is the correct shape for a round or square face?

Use a slight or natural arch if you have an oval face. The straight across, minimal arch is perfect for a long face. And finally, for almond-shaped eyes simply follow the angle of your eye.


In the mid-1950s, there was a Mandarin eyebrow trend. What did that entail?

Much like the wing effect with eye liner, the eyebrow was used to create the same sweeping look. This trend did not last into the 1960s.


What was suggested if you wanted to darken the eyebrow without using an eyebrow pencil?

These also worked to keep the eyebrow flat and less bushy-looking. Vaseline was also suggested to wear on the eyelids if you didn't want to wear eye shadow.


What is the evolution of the kitten eye?

It all started with the doe eye and progressed from there. This look entails using eyeliner in the middle of the lid and extending it to the outer edge plus a little bit, angling upward. Back fill to the starting point to create a slight triangle.


Once there was a cushion on the crimpers, this became a hot-selling '50s makeup tool. What is it?

An eyelash curler was not new to the 1950s, but Kurlash improved the design with a cushion on the crimpers. The eyelashes were curled before applying mascara.


Betty Page was known for her short, full fringe hairstyle known as what?

The Thick Fringe began to grow in popularity during the 1950s, especially when paired with long, curly locks made to look natural.


Color was an option in mascara starting in which decade?

In the mid ’50s you could find many mascaras to match your eye shadows.


Natural lip shapes of the 1950s followed those of the 1940s but there was a slight difference. What was it?

If overdrawing was done, it was to reduce the peaks to a smaller valley and rounder shape. The thickness of the top and bottom line were usually equal.


In the 1950s, what was the next step after you applied lipstick?

After applying lipstick you would do the above steps. As a final step, after dusting with powder, top again with lipstick for a little gloss.


If eye shadows were coordinated with your outfit, what was matched to your lipstick color?

Manufacturers coordinated the colors of the nail polish with their lipsticks they offered. Therefore reds, pinks and corals were popular colors, with clear nail polish being available as well.


Audrey Hepburn's closely-cropped hair made this hairstyle popular. What is its name?

This style became even more popular in the 1960s, but it all started in the 1950s with Audrey Hepburn.


It was all the rage and it was from Revlon. What was it?

Revlon produced "eye-shadow palettes" with two or three shades to create a specific look. A soft color for the eye line and slightly darker shades for the lid.


What was the proper way to use cleansing cream in the 1950s?

Cleansing cream was once used to cleanse the skin and remove makeup before hopping into the shower or bath and washing your face.


How often does the 1950s lady schedule a manicure?

Today you have gel, shellac and acrylic nails to make your manicure last longer. Back then, once a week a manicure was needed.


What was used as a heavy skin moisturizer back in the day?

Some products are still good to use on your skin today as well as decades ago. Vaseline is one of those products. It was used as a heavy moisturizer all over the face in the 1950s.


Could you lighten your hair in the 1950s?

Dyeing and lightening your hair was available at the beauty shop as well as with a kit at home. Thanks to Lawrence Gelb, the founder of Clairol, the 1950s embraced a one-step hair dye that could lighten hair without bleaching it.


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