Tuesday, 5 July 2011

1970s make up

A couple of weeks ago my friend Lynsey fancied trying out a seventies look, so we had a fun evening putting her in some of my outfits, messing about with make-up, and taking photos.

As I was when I first started messing around with seventies looks (my 'home' era's are more usually 1940s and 1950s, so this has been a new direction for me this year), she was surprised with how flattering some of the seventies looks can be, although it did make her look drastically different than usual.

The big difference was the make up, so this seems like a good opportunity to describe a basic 1970s make up look. Its quite simple to acheive, but very different from modern make up ideas and indeed the more usualy vintage looks I would go for. It's also very different than Lynsey would normally do with her complexion.

1970s make up was all about getting away from the last couple of decades heavy make up looks and being fresh faced, tanned, and 'natural' (to a certain notion of natural).

Lynsey has very pale, English rose compleion, so the first step was to darken that and introduce the tanned bronzer look - something she'd certainly never played with before.

I used a foundation darker than her natural skin, but not too brown, over her whole face. I used Helen E UltiMax for this, a foundation compact I picked up a few years ago but never used much because it gives a dewey, moist finish rather than the matte look I'm usually after for 1950s style. Well dewey and moist is perfect for 1970s. The compact also has highlighter, so after making her face look very flat with the base, I used the highlighter on the top of her cheek bones, eyebrows and nose to give her face back its definition. I then used a big brush o softly put some matte bronzer over her whole face to give the tanned look.

I then used a more glittery bronzer instead of blusher to bring out her cheekbones.

For eyes and lips, the 'natural' rule of the seventies gets a bit odd. 'Natural' didn't mean no colour, it meant irridescent and shiney. For the eyes, I used one of my favourite bits of make up, No 7 Stay Perfect Eye mousse in 'Sky' blue. In the seventies they would instead have more likely used ordinary pale blue eyeshadow and then put vaseline over the top to give it the required shiney look. Having read about this, I have tried it, and basically it feels very odd, and then within about half an hour it just forms horrid lines of blue across your lid. I thought the vaseline story must have been a myth, but asking friends who were young in the seventies, they really did use vaseline, and yes, it always made those horrid lines. So the vaseline lines look is sort of authentic., but not one you necessarily want to replicate!

The eye mousse does a pretty good job of getting the effect they were trying for, but with the advantage it stays in place much longer. If used with a primer underneath, I've found it will stay in place most of a day.

I used my finger tips to liberally smear it over Lynsey's eyelids, and then finished off the look with some white eyeliner. One of the odder seventies trends, white eyeliner is very authentic, and ha been seen on the catwalk models this year so is also quite 'now'. It works great on blondes like Lyn (especially if you don't use mascarra and just leave her lashes blonde like we did), although its harder to pull off when you'r dark like myself. I took the white line right round her eyes, fully into the inner corners, then finished with a small flick on the outside. The great thing with white is that you don't have to worry too much bout accuracy - just smear it on!

Finally for the lips I used a nude lip liner to act as a base, then liberally applied that seventies staple, pink lip gloss, in my favourite Rimmel Vinyl Gloss in 'Take a Chance' pink.

So all in all, the seventies look is easy - some bronzer, blue eyeshadow, white eyeliner, pink lipgloss, and you're done. If you're pale like myself or Lynsey, it needs a bit more work (particularly remember not to neglect the rest of your body - bronzed face looks very odd next to white neck and limbs). Its not a look that Lynsey would go for day to day, but it certainly makes the difference if you're trying to get the look right for a night out.


  1. The bronzer is too heavy. She looks unnatural.

    1. Yes, I'd agree, especially as her complexion is naturally very pale and English rose! I overcompensated with the bronzer and I doubt this much bronzer is a look she'd want to sport day to day!