Recreate the Classic Makeup and Hairstyles from 100 Years of Beauty


By Louise Young

By Loulia Sheppard

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From renowned film, TV, and fashion makeup artist Louise Young-along with leading film industry hairstylist Loulia Sheppard, Timeless is the definitive step-by-step guide to the most iconic looks of a century.

Timeless is a beauty bible for the golden ages of style. Step-by-step photography and clear, concise instructions help you to recreate the most memorable makeup and hair looks of the past 100 years, including:

  • The silent-screen “vamp”
  • Jazz-Age bob and smoldering eyes
  • 1930s Hollywood glamour
  • World War II-era red lips and victory rolls
  • The 1950s bombshell
  • Swinging ’60s London Look
  • Disco-fever beauty
  • The colorful, eclectic ’80s
  • Grunge-era chic

Throughout, Timeless provides inspiration and instruction on how to recreate the looks of beauty icons like Louise Brooks, Clara Bow, Ginger Rogers, Myrna Loy, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Lauren Bacall, Gene Tierney, Grace Kelly, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Jean Shrimpton, Sophia Loren, Farrah Fawcett, Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields, Kate Moss, Drew Barrymore, and many more.

Accurate, practical, and beautiful, this is the ultimate guide to the most classic looks of all time-a must-have for makeup artists, hairstylists, classic film fans, and anyone interested in incorporating vintage style into the modern day.


An iconic 1940s look (see here)



As a child I was fascinated by old Hollywood, and I “made up” the glamorous stars in the film annuals and magazines I collected by drawing on extra eyelashes and fuller lips with crayons. I instinctively wanted to make up people’s faces, but was not yet aware of the career options available. I could often be found reading biographies of the stars from the silent era and beyond, and spent many afternoons watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing across the screen, laughing at the Marx Brothers, and admiring the beauty of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. There were posters of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman on my bedroom wall, and I dreamed of getting to meet them one day.

By the time I was 13, I had a wide-reaching knowledge of the films and stars of Hollywood’s golden years. Along with my love of music and fashion, this background knowledge has been invaluable in my work as both a makeup artist and a teacher. I have lectured in media makeup for more than 25 years and have taught many successful makeup artists working today.

Owing to the overwhelming amount of conflicting information and images available on the Internet and in books and magazines, it can be very easy for people to become confused about what is historically accurate and what is someone else’s interpretation of a look from the past.

I have found that in many cases the looks of entire decades have been distorted. This is why I have long wanted to create a resource for makeup and hair enthusiasts, students, and professionals alike, that was reliable and thoroughly researched—something that was true to the times it depicted.

The catalyst that actually made this book happen was working on a film three years ago with Loulia Sheppard, a hairstylist with 40 years’ experience, who can create styles from any era. Lou and I were chatting about the fact that, as with any subject, it is important to learn from the past in order to understand the present—hence why watching old films, learning about the politics of the time and getting to know your references is so invaluable when recreating vintage styles. I mentioned that I was writing a book and asked Lou to do the hair. I knew I had found the right person for this project, as Lou is widely regarded as one of the best period hairstylists in the business—though she is very modest and won’t like me saying this! She has worked with some of the biggest stars in the industry and created some of the most spectacular hairstyles on film. She teaches master classes for industry professionals, and her knowledge and skills are highly sought after.

Over the past two years, in between working on films, Lou and I worked on all the shoots for this book, carefully choosing the models to try and capture the correct feel of each era. Every look is accompanied by a reference picture showing a similar look from the decade in question. To add to the accuracy, the clothes the models are wearing are authentic vintage garments from that time.

In the step-by-step instructions for the makeup and the hair, Lou and I have tried to make recreating the looks as simple as possible.

A simple 1940s look (see here)

A classic 1950s look (see here)

In many cases we have included variations for both hair and makeup—sometimes a small change can create a completely different look. When teaching makeup, I make sure my students understand light and shade, and how this can alter the face, enlarging or minimizing an area, lifting an eye or drooping it. Once you understand these basic techniques, you can do any look. In the same way, Lou emphasizes that if you take the time to get the hair set right in the first place, the style will be much easier to achieve. We also included many of the tips and tricks we have learned from experience over the years that will transform a look from ordinary to amazing.

I hope this book will appeal to people on a variety of levels. It can serve as a reference for those wanting to accurately recreate a look from the past, whether they are students or professionals, but it will be just as useful to the many women who love vintage clothes and want to complete the look with the right hair and makeup—and this book shows you how to do that.

I believe the book will also appeal to anyone who just wants to add a touch of vintage inspiration—a little Hollywood glamour, perhaps—to their look, without going the whole way. The looks we have chosen can be adapted to work in a modern setting as well.

I also hope this book will be useful to anyone with an interest in understanding how we got where we are today in terms of makeup and hair fashions. The forever-evolving timeline of makeup, hair, and fashion is something that everyone can relate to, as this is how we represent ourselves to the outside world, and how we tell our story every morning as we get ready for the day.

So often, the social history of an era was part and parcel of the development of trends in makeup and hair.

Throughout the book, I have referenced not just the people who influenced the looks and styles of the day, but also the products and social factors that were important in their evolution. Each chapter features a selection of makeup and hair products from the era, some of which come from our personal collections and some from the London Cosmetics Museum, to which we are very grateful for allowing us to photograph them. These items offer a fascinating insight into the time, from the small, camera-shaped compacts from the 1930s, which held all the cosmetics a woman might want to carry in her tiny, elegant purse on a night out, to the patriotic packaging introduced to boost morale during World War II. Advertisements also offer a great insight into what kinds of looks were deemed to be acceptable or considered to be desirable. One only has to look at some of the early cosmetics advertisements to see the social changes that have taken place, from the attitudes toward “respectable” women wearing makeup at all to the development of safer ingredients.

I hope this information will be useful for anyone wanting to do further research, as it is always best to go back to a source from the time, rather than just searching the web for “1940s makeup’, for instance. Instead, look up a specific actress or actor of the period—I have named many of my favorites in this book—and that will provide you with starting points for further research.

Be aware that the “Hollywood” version of a woman’s look was generally more glamorous than the “real thing.”

To get the look of an average woman in wartime, for instance, search for pictures of women taken at the time, perhaps working in factories or out in the streets. The more glamorous looks in this book can easily be toned down to create a look that a normal girl would wear: leave off the false lashes, just put a stain on the lips and do a simpler version of the hair.

I do hope you enjoy the book and recreating the looks we have selected. It has been a pleasure to research, write about, and bring alive some of our favorite historical looks, and it would not have been possible without the amazing team we had.

The Early Years

Clara Bow, 1926

The Early Years


The custom that respectable women did not wear makeup lasted into the early 20th century. But by the 1920s makeup was much more popular, though still viewed with suspicion by some.


During the first decade of the 20th century the use of powder and a little rouge (blush) was largely accepted, as long as the resulting look was natural and the makeup was undetectable in daylight. Women paid a great deal of attention to skincare, using face creams, masks, and skin whiteners that promised to deliver the desired youthful glow. As ingredients were unregulated, there were many resulting cases of damage to the skin. The quest for the perfect complexion continued after 1910, and by the middle of the decade rouge was available in paste, liquid, and cake form.

As the Women’s Suffrage Movement grew, some women wore lip rouge to make a political statement. World War I (1914–18) brought dramatic changes in fashion, while new attitudes to the use of cosmetics also emerged.

Then came the Roaring Twenties, a term that evokes the fast and furious lifestyle of a certain section of society: the Flappers, the fashionable, fun-loving young women who rejected the conventions of the previous generation. Their distinctive look is the one most people associate with the decade: the bobbed hair, pale skin, dark eyes, and Cupid’s bow mouth of silent era film stars such as Louise Brooks, Clara Bow, and Mae Murray. After the almost secretive approach to wearing makeup that prevailed at the start of the century, these bold style icons of the 1920s represented change and emancipation for women.

Max Factor brought makeup off the silver screen and onto women’s faces in a form that was easier to apply and wear than the heavy formulas developed for use under the bright lights of a film set. In the 1920s he created a range of cosmetics called Society Makeup, so named in order to confer on the products an air of respectability.

Arch rivals Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden were already successful businesswomen by the 1920s, owning salons across the US. They soon both moved into producing products and continued to be innovative leaders in the makeup industry throughout their lives.


At the beginning of the 20th century, hairstyles were soft and large, often padded out with hair collected from the hairbrush. These styles, which supported the huge hats that were fashionable at the time, were given even more volume with the use of false pieces known as transformations.

By 1918 women had started to trim the sides of their hair and dress the back in a chignon. In the 1920s, many took the plunge and cut their hair short. From straight to wavy bobs, these sharp, audacious styles came to signify the new-found freedom of the 1920s woman. Androgynous fashions were reflected in styles such as the Eton crop, a short boyish cut worn slicked down by, for example, the American-born French singer and dancer Josephine Baker.


Achieving a beautiful complexion was considered to be of the utmost importance in the early years of the 20th century. As the use of makeup began to be socially acceptable, a burgeoning cosmetics industry soon appeared. Max Factor had created a flexible greasepaint for use in film and he began selling eye shadow and brow pencils to the general public as early as 1916. His innovative products made him a leading name in cosmetics.

Donald’s Velvette

Various preparations were available in the early 20th century to satisfy women’s quest for perfect skin, from liquid powder, such as Donald’s Velvette, to face whiteners, cold creams, and skin tonics.

Eyelash beading

A theater technique adopted by film stars and some brave members of the public, beading involved melting a cosmetic wax and applying it to the lashes, leaving a small bead at the end of the clumped-together lashes.

Maybelline mascara

Tom Lyle Williams is credited with inventing mascara in 1915. The company was named after his sister Mabel, who coated her lashes with Vaseline and cork ash. Originally “Lash-Brow-Ine,” it was one of the first commercial eye cosmetics.

Face powder

Often applied with a swansdown puff, face powder was initially available in White, Pink, and Rachel, with other colors subsequently being introduced. It was often kept in ornate containers, which graced the dressing tables of Edwardian women.

Tokalon loose powder

This powder came in ten colors, including Blanche (white), Naturelle (pink), Rachel (cream), and Brun Soleil (tan). In the late 1920s, powders were starting to be available in colors to accommodate the newly fashionable sun-tanned skin.

Ojos Negros powder

This Argentinian face powder dates from 1927. The elegant Art Deco packaging features an illustration of a woman with the dark-rimmed eyes and small, deep red mouth that exemplify the 1920s look.

Marcel irons

Invented by Marcel Grateau in the early 1870s, the Marcel technique gained popularity during the late 19th century and was widely used until the late 1920s.

Gladys Cooper face powder

Dame Gladys Cooper was a successful stage and screen actress of the early 20th century. Known as a great beauty, she had her own range of beauty preparations, such as this powder from the mid-1920s.

French shingling clipper

The shingle haircut involved the hair at the nape of the neck being trimmed into a V shape, close to the scalp, with the sides waved or curled. Also called the “boyish bob,” it caused a sensation when it first appeared in the early 1920s.


At the start of the 20th century, many products and homemade preparations promised the desired porcelain complexion, with some sold as virtual cure-alls for any beauty problem. Many advertisements included the words “non poisonous”—an indication of the problems that arose due to the lack of testing and regulation. As the use of makeup became more widespread, the dramatic femme fatale look of actresses Theda Bara and Musidora from around 1915 heralded the arrival of the modern emancipated woman of the 1920s.

In the 1920s, many women copied the dark eyes and lips of silent film stars.


Tangee lipstick was hugely popular: it looked orange (hence the name), but on the lips it appeared anything from rose to a deep blush. The company’s advertising claimed that every woman could wear Tangee lipstick because it changed color to suit each individual complexion. Also popular lipstick colors were dark red, plum red, raspberry, and carmine. In 1928, Max Factor created the forerunner of lip gloss, calling his pioneering product Lip Pomade.

Eye shadow

Max Factor advertised eye shadow in blue, brown, and gray. Black, navy, and dark green were also popular shades. For daytime, a dab of Vaseline (pictured top row, left) was often all that was worn on the lids. Pencils were also available to smudge around the eyes.


Rouge for the cheeks was available as a paste or in powder form. Colors were advertised with names such as Egyptian Poppy, Rosebud, and Vermilion, while Max Factor offered Carmine, Blondeen, Raspberry, Natural, and Day rouge, among other shades. Red, rose, and plum were popular colors.


In the 1920s, the fuller, more natural eyebrows of the early 1900s gave way to some of the most extreme looks of the 20th century, as women copied the brows of their favorite film stars. Little or no attempt seems to have been made to create a natural brow. Eyebrows were plucked or shaved, and then new browlines were drawn on in their place. The popular brows of the day were pencil-thin and extended down to the temples, lending a mournful appearance to the eyes. While many brows were arched, some were straighter, for example, those worn by Louise Brooks and Theda Bara.


Small lips with a prominent Cupid’s bow were the fashion. Dark lip colors exaggerated this trend, making the lips appear smaller. Lip stencils were available to achieve this neat shape, but many women just took their preferred dark lip color and applied it on the inner part of the lips only, avoiding taking it to the outer edge, thus making the lips appear smaller.


Created by American graphic artist Charles Dana Gibson in 1890, the Gibson Girl came to represent the ideal of American beauty of the time. With her hair piled high on top of her head in a soft pompadour style, her look became much imitated by models and actresses, including Camille Clifford and Evelyn Nesbit. Our reference picture shows Nesbit, who modeled for Gibson’s drawing of 1905, Woman: The Eternal Question. Here, we show you a simple version of a typical Gibson Girl style. These hairstyles were also popular in Edwardian Britain and the rest of Europe, with Parisian women leading the way.

Step 1

Foundation: Apply a liquid or cream foundation using a foundation brush. Choose a color that exactly matches the skin; mix two shades together if necessary to achieve a perfect match. I always stop at the jawline when applying foundation—I never take it under the jaw. If you are using the correct color, there will be no visible line. The foundation should look like skin, not makeup.

Concealer: Apply concealer to any blemishes on the face with a small brush, choosing a shade that matches the skin color. Use a lighter shade for under eye shadows and apply the product only to the dark areas. Never apply concealer to the lighter, puffy areas as you will make them look more prominent.

Powder: Apply loose transparent powder all over the face using a puff and then remove the excess using a large, fluffy powder brush. Make sure the powder is completely colorless, otherwise you will be adding another layer of color to the foundation.

Step 2

Eye Shadow: While the emphasis was on creating a beautiful complexion, some images from the time show the use of shading of the eyes and brows. Very lightly shade on the eye with a matte shadow in a neutral color.

Brows: If necessary fill the brows to a natural shape with matte shadow using an angled brush.

Step 3

Blush: Using a soft blush brush, apply powder blush in a soft rose pink to the center of the cheeks and blend very well.

In the early years of the 20th century, ladies liked their makeup to be completely undetectable in daylight. At the time, a colored loose powder would have been applied on top of a face cream—the cream “gripped” the powder, thus creating a foundation. Rouge was then applied to the cheeks. If it appeared too bright, another layer of powder would be applied to tone it down, until the ideal pink-and-white complexion had been achieved.

Lipstick: To give a neutral stain to the lips, apply lipstick in a shade matching the natural lip color and then wipe it off to leave the merest hint of color.


On Sale
Oct 2, 2018
Page Count
256 pages
Running Press

Louise Young

About the Author

Louise Young has made up some of the best-known faces in the entertainment industry over the course of her career as a professional makeup artist in film, television, and fashion for more than thirty-five years. She has written courses in makeup that are taught throughout the UK. Her line of high-end makeup products, Louise Young Cosmetics, sells in more than thirty countries worldwide. Young lives in Norwich, England.

Loulia Sheppard is one of the film industry’s leading hairstylists. Working on numerous award-winning productions, she has been a personal hairstylist to some of the world’s biggest stars, including Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley. She lives in England.

Learn more about this author