Welcome to Makeup Mondays! Here you will find a weekly guide to retro makeup, with application guides and my favorite product recommendations.
I’ll start by introducing myself—my name is Amanda Lee, and I am a makeup-aholic! My obsession started at an early age, and I have to say that it has grown over the years—
To start our application series, I will begin with a brief guide to foundation—after all, foundation prepares and perfects your canvas for the flawless application of color products! Period looks have one thing in common—smooth, creamy skin. The soft matte look that was so popular in our favorite eras was achieved with a few different products. Many women applied a powder base of vanishing cream, and topped this with an application of powder. Cream/stick, liquid, and water-activated cake makeups (Max Factor’s Pan-cake made it’s debut in 1937) were also on the market, and the desired coloring varied by era: Cream or ivory in the 20s, “Gardenia” or “Tea Rose” in the 1930s, a slight rosy glow in the 40s. Nowadays, we have a wide range of foundation choices, and one can choose the best formulation and color to suit her skin, and the preferred look is to match your natural skin tone as closely as possible.
I’m rather fond of cream and powder makeups, particularly those by pro “stage” cosmetic lines, such as Graftobian, Ben Nye, Joe Blasco, and RCMA. Although these brands, preferred by many in the film and stage industries, conjure up images of thickly applied, ‘pancaked’ makeup, they are actually an underutilized resource for high quality cosmetics at a reasonable price. The foundations have a higher pigment-to-filler ratio, in order to stand up to the rigors of the set (hot lights, long hours, and the like), and so the careful application of a very thin layer can provide superior, natural-looking base. The shade ranges are also much wider than your typical drugstore or department store lines, which makes it easier to find a perfect match, and one can also blend shades easily. My personal favorites include Graftobian’s Hi-Def Cream Foundation and Ben Nye’s Color Cake; both work great for street wear and photography. Other favorites of mine include NYX Twin Cake (NYX is an inexpensive, yet high quality, drugstore line), Shu Uemura Nobara Cream Foundation, and MAC Full Coverage.
To apply, I prefer to stipple (patting the product gently and evenly onto the face) the foundation using a damp sponge; this method works well for cream, stick, and liquid foundations. Water-activated cake foundations are also applied using a dampened sponge; swirl the sponge in the cake to create a medium-thick liquid, and then apply using the aforementioned stippling method. One can also apply foundation using a brush, such as MAC’s 187 or a kabuki brush—experiment to see which method you prefer.
Once applied, I like to finish with a dusting of colorless or translucent powder. My favorites are Ben Nye Neutral Set, Kryolan Anti-Shine Powder, and the vintage classic Coty Airspun. Airspun can be found in translucent shades at many drugstores and in other shades online; my preferred shade is Rachel No.1, a pale cream. Loose powder can be pressed on with a puff—pour a small amount onto a large brush, rubbing it into the applicator before pressing it onto the skin in a rolling motion—or dusted on with a fluffy powder brush.
So there you have it—your canvas is primed and ready for the next step. So stay tuned for next week’s article, which will cover blush application and delve into the art of contouring and highlighting!
**You can visit Amanda Lee on her personal blog too**