In the 1950s colour films made an enormous impact on cosmetics. The huge cinema screens illuminated the unblemished appearance of stars and caused the make up artist Max Factor to invent an everyday version of the foundation he used called “Pan Cake”. This was a makeup to gloss over skin imperfections. He also brought out a range of eye shadows and lipsticks. Later in the 50s titanium was added to tone down the brightness of products and this resulted in lips with a pale shimmering gleam. The idea was extended to create frosted nail varnishes of pink, silver and a host of other colours.
The Fifties Look - Spectacles and Hair
One unexpected facial accessory of 50s was spectacles. Frequently these were inlaid with diamante or scattered glitter dust. The exaggerated wings at the outer corners flared in the style of butterfly wings.
In the early 50s the ponytail was a popular youthful hairstyle and it matured into the French pleat. For the more sophisticated a permanent wave in the styles then favoured by Elizabeth Taylor and the young Queen Elizabeth II were universally worn.
Elizabeth Taylor who set trends in hair and make up looks.
As products such as hair lacquer sprays came into general use it was easily possible for ordinary women to create more and more complex hairstyles of height. By the late 50s outrageous backcombed bouffants, beehives, and French pleats led the way for the intricate coiled hairstyles of the 1960s.
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In the late 50s the make up company Gala had introduced pale shimmering lipsticks with added titanium. Later Max Factor brought out a colour called Strawberry Meringue which was a pastel pearly pink. They really caught on in the sixties as young girls were frowned upon if they wore brazen red lips, so the softened pink and peach colours were acceptable initially to parents, but then became a trend.
Magazines taught step by step how to use recently introduced lip brushes and young girls began to blend and mix their own lip colours often having first blotted the lips out with Max Factor Pancake make up. Nail polish followed a similar trend with pastel pearl colours being the rage.
Eyes were a main focus and once the film Cleopatra was released showing Elizabeth Taylor with very emphasised eyes everyone learnt to apply eyeliner and socket lines. The models Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy (Leslie Hornby) along with the actress Julie Christie all with their lined eye sockets captured the look that said Sixties Chick with chic.
Cosmetics by Mary Quant
Quant brought out a range of great and affordable cosmetics in up to the minute formulations with innovative cheek contour shaders and highlighters.
She encouraged users to use make up brushes to apply eyeliner and blusher to achieve the hollow cheek, wide eyed look of the model Twiggy. It really was the best make up to use then if you wanted to get the look just so, as it contained information leaflets with diagrams of positions for the blush shading and highlighting which was all very new at the time to ordinary mortals.
Many of the items she designed bore the Quant daisy logo. Vidal Sassoon gave Quant a new equally fashionable haircut that defined one particular 60's look and spawned many variations.
A natural look was important in the mid and late seventies. Eyeliner and painted on eyelashes all became passé and softer looks were fashionable. In the early seventies eyes sometimes had white highlighter on the brow and sometimes soft coloured eye shadows were used around the eyes in a way that had been used for eyeliner. Pearlised liquid eyeshadows were a new innovation and a similar product was promoted in 2001. Very long eyelashes were still desirable. Loose powder went out of fashion and foundations worn alone gave a sheer effect. Lip liner was all the rage.
Charlie's Angels and their flicked up hairstyles.
The rough cut blonde flicked hairstyle was popularised by Farrah Fawcett Major (above) from the series 'Charlie's Angels'. Constant use of blow drying, tongs or heated rollers were required to make the hair flick. Other styles included Afro perms which only required washing and forking with a special lifting and separating comb.
Make up came back in fashion. I t was quite a natural lighter look, but in truth strong red lips which matched the many tomato red jackets which abounded were not very natural. Make up was quite defined to match power dressing, but the main feature was the emphasis put on skin care, anti ageing and beauty treatments or therapy. Skin cancer became talked about and a big issue was to tan or not to tan. Many people spent hours under sun beds. Fake tans were improved and bronzing gels and bronzing face powder beads were popular.
A favourite product of the era was Clarins' Beauty Flash instant facial pick me up.
Yves St Laurent launched his famous Touché Éclat which became a must in many women's handbag. New lighter face skin foundations seemed to be announced every month and the end of the decade saw some very good foundations emerge in the marketplace.
Companies like Marks and Spencer launched great skincare and make up ranges to suit the pockets of everyone. More importantly some of the items they sell can be easily bought from their internet site worldwide and delivered anywhere in the UK.
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2000+ Max Factor's Lipfinity
Staying power of lipsticks improved. In 2000 the Max Factor company launched the Lipfinity lipstick range which consisted of two products. The sticky lipstick is painted onto the lips and allowed to dry for 1 to 4 minutes depending on the amount used. Then the product is sealed with a special separate lip gloss. This wonderful product when correctly applied stays on the lips through normal eating and drinking and even light kissing and dentistry for up to 8 hours.
Only a really greasy cream cake, a heavy steak or oily sauce can dissolve it. To keep it looking fresh it just needs a retouch with the gloss. Those tempted to reapply the colour without cleansing it off first will find that makes it bitty.
If fine lines around the mouth with lipstick runs are your problem this lipstick will transform your life. Be warned it does have a different texture to standard lipsticks and it does take about 3 or 4 days to get used to it. But you'll never see a smear on a cup again. My favourite colours which would suit an ash blonde are 110, 120 and 140 in the red range, 40 and 46 in the pinks and, 50 and 80 in the mauve berry tones. All colours can be mixed on the lips when wet during application so it is possible to make your favourite colour. For more ideas go to How to Assess A Fashion Look.
Since 2001 other manufacturers such as Clarins have launched long lasting lipsticks that really do have better staying power. The Clinique 'stay the day' one is a good, but slightly different alternative to Lipfinity. This is available in the UK now at £14 for a 12gm product, making it much the same price as other products, but with more product in the container.
Recently in Autumn 2005 I tried Maybelline Superstay lipstick and it is every bit as good as Lipfinity. It has a similar format as the Lipfinity of a separate lipstick you paint on and a separate solid gloss sealant. I prefer this format to the long stay lip types that have the wet lipstick and wet gloss in one single case. The Superstay is slightly smaller at 2.6ml of lip colour, but it is also less expensive than Lipfinity by a few pounds too. The colour range is also pretty.
I have also found that you can mix Lipfinity colours with the Superstay colours and use either Stick Gloss Sealant and it still works. However you can't use the liquid gloss sealant from StaytheDay or Avon with either Max Factor Lipfinity or Maybelline Superstay.
New facial cleansers that washed off were popular in place of cleanse and tone separately.
By 2000 throw away cleanser wipes at low cost averaging 15p -20p a wipe were used by many. Some of the best include those by L'Oreal Plenitude, Nivea and Oil of Olay. These all remove both eye make up and lipstick properly, but gently unlike some of the less adequate products available which can be gentle, but less effective.
The Plenitude and Nivea ones are pre soaked in a dual purpose wet cleanser and toner so they are very swift and easy to use and quickly wipe away face make up. The Olay facial cleansers need to be wetted to release the impregnated product in the wipe and give a wet wash and exfoliation from the irregular surface of the disposable cloth. In truth with all wipes, one cleansing wipe is needed to remove about 90% of the make up and a second wipe to really remove every last trace of deposit.
In general hard traditional bar soaps lost popularity in the bathroom as they were replaced by moisturising bath and shower gels and liquid handwashes and cream cleansing bar products like Dove.
Aromatherapy products for face, body and hair took a huge percentage of the market by 2000 as self indulgent pampering became the norm. Decleor's Aromessence with neroli oil, Elemis milk bath, L'Occitane's pure soap products and Jo Malone's bath essences were typical of the feel good factor products used daily by many.
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Fake Tan Products 2000
Consumers became very aware of skin cancer. Most people now know a victim of melanoma skin cancer. So fake tans and make up bronzing products were even further improved in the 90s, providing effects which were very natural.
The fake tan called St.Tropez usually salon applied was thought one of the best fake tans around. Competition from other great products included the wonderful natural looking low odour Decleor Auto Bronzant and Elemis self tans. Other good products giving great overnight results at home include Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel, Lancôme Soleil Flash Bronzer, Sisley self tanning Gel and St.Tropez Tinted Self Tanning Lotion a D.I.Y version of the salon treatment.
All the products work best if the skin is first scrubbed free of loose dry skin with a skin exfoliant product, showered, dried and then creamed well with a body lotion. The fake tan is best applied with long strokes. Anyone who finds it difficult to apply to areas like feet/ankle bones/elbows where you can get unnatural excess product build up and an over coloured appearance, might find adding a little extra moisturiser to the tanning product makes for a smoother application.
Waxing or shaving of body hair should be done at least 24 hours before application of fake tans on grease free skin.
Pre tan accelerator treatments applied for about a fortnight before a holiday also became popular for those who still liked to sun worship. But by 2002/3 self tanning cubicles became more and more usual throughout the UK. It takes only 5 minutes to sprayed with fake tan by a therapist at St.Tropez Airport 1 and the bronzer used best suits blondes or olive toned skins. These spray treatments are a huge improvement and give a more even tan.
New rivals to St. Tropez include Au Courant also available as a spray treatment or a home DIY kit. Easy application is also possible today using Estee Lauder Sunless Towelettes at around £17. They are great for top ups and for eliminating strap marks in one quick wipe. Any mistakes that are hideous can be removed with St.Tropez's self tan remover at around £15.
C21st Modern Body Adornment
Permanent body art such as tattoos and more adventurous body piercings are popular with adolescents and adults in their twenties and thirties. An article in 2001 in The Sunday Times suggested that if a female did not have a tattoo, she might well be of a certain generation and probably marked as over 50.
Tattooing is seen as a rite of passage in some circles. Once it was putting up the hair, then having ears pierced and then the audacity of other body piercings. Now the latter are so normal that individuals seek to establish personal identity by individual body markings. Nothing unusual about that in some parts of the world, but formerly frowned upon by a western society that now embraces tattoos.
When recent films with beach scenes were made the producers found it difficult to find nubile young teenage girls without tattoos on their shoulder lines, navels, thigh lines, backs or breasts. The girls were required as extras for a beach scene set in the 1950s and it seems that even the best make up does not give adequate coverage in film close-ups.
Skin jewellery was briefly popular because it was so simple to apply and so easy to remove. Skin jewellery takes the form of self adhesive crystals that can be arranged in patterns. The best of these are made by Swarovski Crystal Jewelry
and they can be bought from various outlets such as Marks and Spencer, QVC, beauty and jewellery departments. They are more readily available in the festive winter season. Crystals and fake gems are also added to nails today and the nail art produced is often a work of art.
All over the world body painting of children's faces is common, particularly at school functions and fairs. In the 1990s it became quite normal for men to paint the colours of their football teams in stripes or patterns on their faces or scalps. This followed the film Braveheart.
The first time we recall seeing this form of painting in the street beyond the tribal effect seen in anthropological films and that worn as media art by the model Verushcka, was in 1977. A small number of the huge crowds greeting H. R. H Queen Elizabeth II outside Buckingham Palace during her Jubilee used Union Jack colours in a flag arrangement, on their hair and faces. After the wedding of Prince Charles the fashion for face painting seemed set for festive occasions and the film Braveheart took it into the sports field.
For several years bindi or henna tattooing has been seen in the UK. Madonna adopted it as body decoration a few years ago and it became popular with many nationalities.
Now the latest trend is to have professional eyebrow shaping which lifts and contours the face providing a frame. It gives the instant effect of a mini face lift and involves waxing and plucking of the brow hairs for the smoothest outline. In the hands of skilled technician, the eastern method of threading is considered to be the most superior way of removing brow hair.