Retro beauty is all about strong brows, lips, and eyeliner contrasting with a bright complexion. It’s a glamorous look, but very simple to achieve. The basic makeup involves just a few products and four simple steps.
True vintage beauty starts with flawless, matte skin. Use concealer to cover any blemishes or dark undereye circles. A cream-to-powder foundation will give you good coverage and a matte finish in one step. Another option is to use a full-coverage cream or liquid foundation and then top it with loose powder.
Shapely brows are the most important — and most often neglected — feature in a pinup look. You need strong brows to balance bold lips and liner. The arches can be peaked or rounded, but the edges should look unnaturally immaculate. Waxing or threading are the best ways to get an architectural look, followed by tweezing to clean up stragglers. Apply brow powder with an angled brush. Outline the top of the brow, then the bottom edge, then fill in the center to get a clean, well-defined shape. Stencils are available if you struggle with brow shaping. Tip: Extend the outer edge of the brow slightly beyond its natural endpoint.
Vintage lips are clearly defined, bright, and matte. True red is the classic pinup color and suits almost every woman, but you might choose a rosier red (more blue) to make your teeth seem whiter, or a more golden red if you prefer warmer shades. A bright fuchsia or orange lip can bring a touch of whimsy to a retro look.
Start with a lip pencil or use a brush to get a clean line. Trace the cupid’s bow shape first; those peaks are the heart and soul of the retro lip. Audrey Hepburn and Lucille Ball used to draw upper lip shapes that were completely outside the lines, but unless you’re making up for photos, it’s best to keep it subtle. If your upper lip isn’t very full, round your line slightly outside your natural lip line as you move from the bow’s peaks to the outer corners. You can also extend just beyond the lip line at the fullest part of the lower lip if for extra pout. When the line is perfect, blend inward slightly, then fill in the lips with a bright lipstick.
Winged black liner is the defining aspect of the retro makeup look. Liquid eyeliner is the perfect choice to give you this look, but it’s also one of the hardest cosmetic products to master. Beginners usually do better with gel liner and a very small or angled brush. Gel-based pencil liners are a no-fuss option, but the pencil needs to be very sharp to get a clean line.
The most common mistake is to extend a weak, skinny ‘wing’ outside the eye shape. Professional makeup artists draw a thick, bold line and take the line upward at the outer corner of the eye, rather than outward. Try thinking of it as a triangle instead of a line. Draw a line from inner to outer corner of the eye, then a second line from a point just above and outside the outer corner back toward the inner corner, meeting the first line near the center of the lid. Close the triangle with a short line at the outside edge, then fill in the triangle.
If you feel like black liner is overpowering your eyes, you might need to darken your brows for better balance. If you are very fair or have small eyes, or you just want to vary the look, go for a pop of intense color instead of classic black. Midnight blue, forest green, or deep purple are exciting choices.
Add two coats of black mascara or false lashes and the basic pinup makeup is finished. Keeping it simple highilights your architectural brows, strong liner and bright lips. But if you want more, you can add a whiff of blush, white highlighter under your brows, and soft caramel contouring above the eye crease.
Take your new look out on the town with a shapely dress, some glam jewelry and soft curls at night, or pedal pushers, a fitted top and bandana-tied hair during the day. Rockabilly glamour never goes out of style!