Historical Makeup: Recreating Period Looks with a Modern Twist

August 28, 2023

Fantasy,Girl,Princess,Beautiful,Face,,Delicate,Evening,Make-up,,Crown,JewelsThe world of makeup has evolved tremendously over the years, with new products and techniques constantly emerging. However, many makeup enthusiasts still find inspiration in the past, looking to recreate iconic looks from different historical periods. In this blog post, we will explore the art of historical makeup, delving into the techniques and tips for recreating period looks with a modern twist.

1. Understanding Historical Makeup:

Before diving into recreating historical looks, it is important to have a basic understanding of makeup during different time periods. From the pale complexion and heavily rouged cheeks of the Victorian era to the bold red lips and winged eyeliner of the 1950s, each time period had its distinctive features and trends. Researching and familiarizing yourself with these trends will serve as a foundation for successfully recreating historical makeup looks.

2. Adapting Techniques for Modern Use:

While historical makeup looks might be inspiring, it is crucial to adapt them to modern techniques and products. For instance, 18th-century white face powder and lead-based cosmetics are not suitable for today’s use. Instead, opt for light-reflective foundations and highlighters to achieve a luminous complexion, emulating the historical pale skin. Similarly, replace toxic ingredients like arsenic or mercury with safe and skin-friendly alternatives in order to prioritize safety.

3. Embracing Alterations:

While being historically accurate is important, don’t be afraid to adapt and modify certain aspects of the makeup looks to suit your individual style and features. For instance, if an historically accurate style calls for thin brows, but you have naturally fuller brows, consider using makeup techniques like shading and grooming to create a similar effect. This way, you can maintain the essence of the historical look while still incorporating your unique features.

4. Focus on Signature Elements:

Every historical period has certain striking makeup elements that define its era. For instance, the 1920s were characterized by strong brows, bold lips, and smokey eyes. Focus on these specific elements that truly represent the particular time period you are trying to recreate. By doing so, you can convey the essence of the era without overwhelming your whole makeup look.

5. Experiment with Color:

While the majority of historical makeup looks tend to be neutral and natural, don’t be afraid to play with color to add a modern twist. For example, if you are recreating a 1960s mod look, consider using a bright and vibrant eye shadow color instead of sticking to the traditional neutral tones. This will add a pop of modernity and make your look more unique and eye-catching.

6. Matte vs. Dewy:

When recreating period looks, you can choose between a matte or dewy finish depending on the particular era you are emulating. For example, a matte finish suits well for recreating the powdered and pale look of the Victorian era, while a dewy finish works better for a natural and youthful 1970s look. Experiment with different finishes to achieve the desired historical effect.

7. Hairstyling Complements:

While focusing on historical makeup, it is important to consider the overall look, including the hairstyle. Hairstyles often played a significant role in defining the looks of different time periods. For instance, pairing a bouffant hairstyle with 1960s-inspired makeup completes the overall mod look and adds extra authenticity. Research and experiment with hairstyles that complement your chosen historical makeup style to achieve a complete, cohesive look.


Recreating historical makeup looks can be a fun and creative way to pay homage to the past while adding a modern twist. By understanding the makeup techniques and trends of different time periods, adapting them to modern products and techniques, and adding your own personal touch, you can achieve a unique and authentic look that captures the essence of the past while staying true to your individual style. So go ahead and indulge in the magical world of historical makeup and let your creativity run wild!

Got Questions? Let Us Help!

Welcome to Studio FX Hair Design LLC! As a locally owned and operated small business that has been in operation since 2008, we always put our clients’ satisfaction above all else. Our hair salon in Anchorage, AK provides a wide range of hair care and styling options, including but not limited to haircuts, highlights, special occasion styling, color correction, eyebrow waxing, hair coloring and more. We welcome men, women, and kids of all ages in our salon, and use top industry products to ensure fabulous results every time. Next time you need the professional skills and knowledge of a high-quality salon in Anchorage, AK, please give us a call today!

Categorised in: