The Harley Medical Group

Beauty through the ages - 1930s

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 gave way to the Great Depression, which marked the majority of the 1930s.  Although people had very little money to spend on fashion and beauty, Hollywood became all glitz and glam, offering escapism from the normal everyday life.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 gave way to the Great Depression, which marked the majority of the 1930s. Although people had very little money to spend on fashion and beauty, Hollywood became all glitz and glam, offering escapism from the normal everyday life. Contrary to the boyish look of the 1920s, women of the 1930s preferred a softer, feminine style – characterised by curly locks, ball gown dresses and pink hued makeup palettes. Let’s take a closer look at this iconic beauty style and how you can recreate it for yourself.

Famous Hollywood Icons And Their Beauty Regimes

So who were the women to inspire this new, feminine look that was prevalent throughout the 1930s? Makeup and fashion inspiration mainly came from Hollywood beauties such as Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Barbara Stanwyck and Carole Lombard.

Each of these women was stunning and while that may have been partly the result of good genes, it was also down to the strict beauty regimes they followed – some of which still hold true today.

  • Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo once said: “In my country, Sweden, we do not use cold creams as much as in America. It sounds strange to American ears, I know, but good soap and plenty of water, and a small scrubbing brush – that is the best skin medicine and cosmetic.

“At night before retiring I remove all traces of make up, then give my face a scrubbing. Then I give the skin a breathing space by going to sleep with no powder or cream to close the pores.”

  • Carole Lombard

Similarly, Carole Lombard’s beauty tips are still highly regarded. The actress said: “There are just five points to observe if you want to improve your appearance – cleanliness, charm, cosmetics, color harmony and avoiding extremes.”

Want to know how to keep your skin in tip top condition all year round? Carole said: “Long ago I discovered there was a simple solution to keeping my skin perfect in all four seasons – a combination of sleep and at least seven glasses of water daily!”

Skin Care experts are still recommending these tips to people today and we have the ladies of the 1930s to thank for it. Give your skin an extra boost today and keep it hydrated and glowing with the help of our expert Skin Care range.

Iconic Brands And Products Of The 1930s

Despite the Great Depression, makeup manufacturers were busier than ever, with products from Max Factor and Helena Rubenstein flying off the shelves. Lipstick became a staple makeup product in the 1930s with a reported 1,500 sales in 1931 for every one 10 years earlier. Mascara too was popular thanks to the launch of the first ever waterproof mascara in 1939 which was in the form of a bar and was applied with a brush. Mascara remained like this until the 1950s when Helena Rubenstein launched Mascaramatic, the first liquid mascara.

The 1930s Look

  • Eyes

Eye shadow was available in a varied colour palette of blue, green and violet and women applied it in large quantities, from the lash up to the eyebrow. Upper eyelashes were heavily caked in mascara while lower lashes remained bare.

  • Eyebrows

The thin eyebrows of the 1920s gave rise to an even thinner, over plucked arched brow during the 1930s. This was thought to make women appear more feminine. Some salons plucked every eyebrow hair so women could paint on their brows each day.

  • Blusher

Powder rouge became popular during this decade although it was applied more subtly than in previous years.

  • Lips

Maroon and raspberry shades became popular for lips. The Cupid’s bow of the ‘20s disappeared and attention was paid to creating a fuller looking upper lip.

  • Nails

Interestingly enough, the moon manicure of the 1920s prevailed throughout this decade.

  • Base makeup

Women favoured a pale complexion and although foundation was applied very thickly in comparison to modern day, it was worn in shades which perfectly matched women’s pale faces.

If you’re hoping to recreate this look for yourself, follow this step by step tutorial. It details all of the products you will need for authentic 1930s glamour – ideal if you’re into the retro look.

Expert Tips For Stay Put Makeup

Help your makeup stay put for the duration of the day with these expert tips:

  • Translucent powder

Use a light dusting of translucent powder underneath your eyes to catch excess eye makeup. This will also help to absorb any oily residue on your skin, preventing your eye makeup from smudging throughout the day.

  • Lip balm

Matte lipstick will only make dry, chapped lips look worse. Instead, keep your lips kissable soft by applying lip balm before your lipstick.

Take a look at our Beauty Through The Ages infographic to find out how Skin Care and beauty evolved from the 1920s through to the 1990s – see how many of the iconic looks you recognise.



If you’re interested in finding out more about recreating the 1930s look, here are some useful resources:

Posted July 18, 2020
Book a free consultationRequest a callback

Sign-up for our newsletter

Be the first to receive our latest news and offers as well as information on our treatments and procedures.

© 2020 LCHMG Ltd.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram