The 1920s: when jazz was popularised for pleasure, art deco seeped into the cultural landscape and the flappers were born. Just like the fabulous frou of its eponymous dress style, the flapper girls were considered a rebellious subculture then, but are utterly defining for the modern woman: flailing around in shorter dresses and skirts, wearing bobs atop their crowns, busy being the life of the evening parties and revolutionising a whole new era of the make-up we know today.
It was truly a time associated with extravagance—and it showed in the dazzling looks women would apply to their miens, from deep scarlet pouts drawn in a cupid’s bow to the rounded rouge on cheeks and even dark, kohl eyes for the bolder lot. One only needs to recall Elizabeth Debicki’s portrayal of Jordan Baker or later seasons of Michelle Dockery’s Mary Talbot in Downton Abbey.
Fast forward to today: it seems the clandestine glamour of the Roaring Twenties is once again capturing the affections of the beauty-forward set as well as designers behind the runway. Take for example one of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s recent muses for her Dior haute couture show this spring/summer season: Josephine Baker, the American-born French star who was considered a famous Charleston dancer and one of the most iconic flappers of her time. Sans the simple elegance of the garments, the models were cast in signature make-up looks of the ‘20s, such as pinked swirls of blush and kohl-drenched eyes. Similarly at Harris Reed and Richard Quinn in London, there were glinting hints of the era’s glamour—most noticeably exacted through the wet, finger curls all the models were wearing.
But the beauty trend is not one simply traipsing its way through the fashion shows, it’s also making it big again via some of our favourite personality captures on the red carpet, as well as the reigning beauty set online. Take a peek at Tessa Thompson’s more recent public appearances perhaps, where celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway has been taking liberties to signal a return of the 1920s finger waves and kiss curls along the hairline.
On the flipside, TikTok creators such as Vogue Singapore’s beauty muse from our Jan/Feb issue Steph Hui has also recently attempted kiss curls for her Paris Fashion Week appearance. Although the full flapper beauty look from the twenties might prove a tad too OTT for the everyday, it certainly seems to be easily adaptable for modern renditions—where some elements are replicated and infused into our current rotation. Whilst finger or kiss curls and kohl eyes might work to amp up the impact on a gala-esque evening, the apple-focused blush and cupid’s bow lip might work wonders in dialling up on your everyday glam. Below, glean a few tips on how to infuse some 1920s beauty notes into your hair and make-up looks, courtesy of the beauty-obsessed team at Vogue Singapore.
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Drench your eyes in dark shadows
If you’re feeling up for it, the kohl-rimmed eyes will be the perfect addition to any 1920s-inspired beauty moment. Should a darker version à la Dior’s runway be up your alley, focus on creating the strong liner look by applying something like the Diorshow 24H Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner to the lower lash line before moving up slowly to the upper lash line. To add necessary shadow depth, make sure to create definition by applying a dark brown or matte black shadow only on the inner and outer corners of your eyelids to frame the eyes before blending it out to a degree that suits your comfort levels.
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Centre your blush
Set to contrast against pale skin, a common look spotted in the early advertisements for make-up products would be one where the woman’s mien is brightened by a concentrated flush on the apples of their cheeks, instead of being blended out towards the corners like we commonly do today. To stray away from the clown-ish inclinations of the circular blush swirl, use a brush to gently powder just slightly off your cheek centres and stop just below your eye line to achieve a similar effect that still adds gradient to your mien. To get just the right amount of product in, try Dear Dahlia’s Blooming Edition Paradise Soft Dream Blush.
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Opt for some kiss curls or finger waves
To achieve a couple of standout kiss curls, some oil and hair spray is all you’ll really need. As per @stxph.h’s mini tutorial, simply grab a few strands from the fringe hairline, coat it with some staying oil gel like the one from EcoStyle and set it down in place with generous amounts of Got2b’s Blasting Freeze Spray. Finger waves would definitely require more work and heating tools but the essence of it would be parting your hair into “C” shaped waves to form a long S-line along your hairline.
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Highlight your cupid's bow
In the past, the cupid’s bow shape would take precedence for women—who would use metal lip tracers to achieve the perfect ‘M’ shape. Now, it’s easy enough to use a lip liner such as tarte’s Maracuja Juicy Lip Liner and highlight the natural curve of your top lip line, before filling in with a deep or dark vintage lip such as the Red Carpet Red shade of Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick. or a luscious swatch of Dior Addict’s 922 Wildior.