1920s- The Jazz Age
The Roaring 20s were known for groundbreaking historical events—prohibition, women’s rights to vote, flappers, jazz, organized crime, and the Charleston dance. The 1920s sparked inventions that have shaped society and the economy was booming—so much so that it was normal to be flashy and gaudy. The 1920s were also a time of unique flapper hair and makeup. The women of the age made a name for themselves and did so in fashion and style.
Whether you are a woman getting ready for Halloween, are attending a Gatsby party, or are looking to revamp your retro style, here are makeup and hair ideas and tutorials to look like you stepped right out of the 1920s.
Wavy Hair Bobs
Short hair bobs were the new hairstyle of the Jazz Age. As a woman’s skirt got shorter, so did her hair. Women were free to show their ankles and cut their hair. The way to make your hair Gatsby-party ready is to add defined fingerwaves to your bob.
You will need a lot of gel, a comb, and your fingers to make each hair wave defined. They are not quite curls, so put away your curling iron. Follow this tutorial for the jazziest fingerwaves!
Aside from a short bob, 1920s flappers are known for short bangs. Although some hairstyles have side-swept hair paired with a headband accessory, short bangs would be part of a fingerwave or straight bob hairstyle.
The 1920s bangs should be 1-2 inches in length, compared to the longer bangs we see today. The bang should have a defined straight line all the way across. Use gel or hairspray to keep the hair in the bangs from straying.
Everything about the 1920s is defined. Even the dancing is very stiff and defined. Much the same, hair angles had a defined cut. There were not many with layered haircuts. The angle of the cut was also specific to the 1920s. Although some styles of 1920s hair show a straight cut, other flapper-style haircuts are angled.
To get a 1920s angled cut, go for a longer front and a short back. Another 1920s hairstyle with an angled cut is from one side to the other. A popular way to highlight the angled cut is to shape the hair around your face, with the defined end of your hair extending out towards your cheeks.
Regardless of the angle you choose, make sure the cut is straight and defined to give you the perfect Jazz Age look.
You may be a woman that has long hair you might not be ready to part with (no pun intended!). That’s totally okay! There are 20s hairstyles for long hair too.
You can do anything you can with long hair that you can do with short hair. You can create fingerwaves or curl your hair. You can use accessories just as you can with short hair. However, there is a lot you can do with long hair that you cannot do with short hair.
Try a teased braid with a defined part on top. Or, like the picture below shows, put your hair into a low bun. Be creative with elegant styles of bun, like the twist around the headband you see in the picture.
The 1920s were filled with glitz, glam, and gaudy. The best way to look right from the Jazz Age is to pick out the perfect hair accessories to make your look as glamorous as the 20s.
There are a variety of hair pieces you may choose. A simple headband can be used, placed on top of the hair and across the forehead. You may choose to use a more flapper-style headpiece, with feathers and sequins attached. You may also use glitzy hair clips to keep your 1920s ‘do in place.
This hairstyle is as the 1920s as can be. This is one stylish enough for a Gatsby-style party. To master this look, you will need to get a very strong hold hairspray or gel. In order for the curl to stay in place, you will literally be gluing it to your face. I suggest Got2B Glued or Ultra Glued gel/spray to do the trick.
Style your hair how you’d like it (either keep it slicked back or with gelled-down waves to match the curl in the hairline style). Leave a thin bit of hair from right above your ears free. I would suggest either pulling the rest of your hair back or wear a headband to look like you’re from the 1920s. Next, apply some gel/spray to the piece of hair on one side. Within a few seconds, it should become sticky but not completely dried.
Begin forming the shape you want your hair to take on your face. Apply more gel/spray to keep it together and in place. Repeat on the other side. You can either keep it simple with just a wing of hair dropping into the face or add a swirl to the hair (if you watch The Great Gatsby close enough, you will see a woman at his party with a big swirl of hair on her cheek. It’s so retro and modern at the same time and it’s amazing!).
1920s Rouge Makeup
Along with the defined hair of the time period, the 1920s were also known for red makeup. Red, the color of passion, was mostly used during this decade because it symbolized the passion women were exhibiting. Women were more promiscuous then than ever and rouge-colored makeup made a statement.
A smoky eye can be made into a 1920s smoky eye by switching out the typical black shadow for a red shadow. To get this look, apply a thin line of red eyeshadow on the waterline and use a blending tool and smudge the line. Afterwards, you can apply mascara and explore different options and color combinations for the eyeliner. Check out this one with a gold sparkle wing!
Many decades have used blush to perfect their makeup look. In the 1920s, women used blush to emphasize a smaller face structure and high cheekbones, both valued in the time period. When you apply your blush, smile and use your smile line to determine where to brush. Blend the blush very little to get the defined look the 1920s are known for.
Red lips are part of notorious makeup history—Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Christina Aguilera, and Coco Chanel. Coco Chanel is one of the most famous flappers from the 1920s, and red lips were her look. Choose a matte lipstick or lip stain and apply using a very defined shape for the optimal 1920s look. For the look made famous by Clara Bow (and what influenced the later look of the 1930s cartoon, Betty Boop), apply the red in a defined lip shape on both the bottom and the top, keeping the height of the lips the same but narrowing the width of the lips, creating the image of small lips.
Smoky eye makeup
The only non-defined makeup technique of the 1920s was the smoky eye. To look like you came right out of the Jazz Age, create a darker smoky eye by blending a dark shadow across the entire top lid (not extending all the way to the eyebrows). To create a more modern look, apply dark shadow on the outside of the top lid and blend inwards, creating a shaded effect. Add some sparkle shadow for the glitz of the 1920s.
As defined as their lip shape and hairlines, women of the Jazz Age also had defined penciled eyebrow makeup. Compared to modern eyebrows that are fuller and shapelier, women of the 1920s preferred pencil-thin eyebrows. Many shaved off their eyebrows to pencil in a thin line.
Rather than shaving off your eyebrows to look like you are from the 20s, try using a makeup foundation that matches your skin tone. Blend it into your eyebrows. Then, using a dark shade of your hair color (if you have blonde hair, a dark tan would work; if you have black hair, use a black brow pencil), pencil in a single line. The shape may differ based on your preference, but most 1920s women created a single, smooth arc.
The length of your eyebrow should start straight above the inner eye (use a pencil to hold against your face to determine this). To determine the outside point of the arc, take the pencil and connect the side of your nostril and the outside corner of your eye. Your eyebrow should extend to the point your pencil extends to at this angle. Connect the two dots (inside and outside) with an arc of a single-pencil width.
Mascara worn in the 1920s was free of clumps and defined each hair of the eyelashes. You can wear fake lashes, but you would still need to apply mascara on the bottom lashes. You will need a fairly new tube of mascara, as the more dried out the mascara is, the more clumps will occur when applying it.
If you choose to opt out of the fake lashes, curl your eyelashes and then apply the mascara straight up on the top and straight down on the bottom. Make sure you do not move the brush from side to side, which will create the hairs to stick together. When you are done, take an eyelash brush and run it through your eyelashes, making sure you separate all of the hairs.
Make it defined, make it glamorous
Flappers have a distinct look that is easy to copy in the modern world, as long as you remember to keep your makeup, hairlines, and shapes defined. Use these makeup and hair ideas for techniques to look as if you are on your way to Jay Gatsby’s house in a Rolls Royce Speedster.