Bobby Pin Blog | Vintage hair and makeup tips and tutorials
As a hairstylist, makeup artist, writer, and lover of retro beauty, the Bobby Pin Blog is my outlet for a borderline obsession with vintage beauty practices. Learn facts, tips, and tutorials about retro beauty trends as they relate to above the neck. Be sure to let me know if there is anything you want to know! I will do my best to answer it here.
I’m in the middle of
several new content projects right now and my shelves of vintage women’s
magazines, as usual, are here to inspire me.
Flipping through and reading these great magazine masterpieces is a tremendous experience! The wealth of material you find is both educational… and heartwarming. Imagine spending a gorgeous Summer afternoon in the sun with a glass of tea (or a cocktail) and pages full of your favorite era of fashion, serial fictional stories, and silly vintage advertising copy.
Magazines of the 19th and 20th centuries offered a window to the world for women.
Do you prefer the jazz era of the 1920s? Or do you prefer mod style from the middle of the 1960s? Do you like terrible recipes made from mayo? Family Circle in the 1950s has you covered. Some magazines dating back to the Victorian era can still be found online today!
If you are wondering where to find these gems for your own collection, there are many places to find them.
Vintage Magazines Sale Sources
The quickest place to look is your local antique store. You can stop on your way home from work today.
And then there is of course online on websites like:
There are more if you dig deep online and there is of course Ebay as a resource too.
Titles of Vintage Women’s Magazines
There are a ton of women’s magazine titles to look for. The titles you can search for include:
Lady’s Home Journal
Woman’s Home Companion
Modern Beauty Shop
Charm Magazine (For women who work)
Madame (For women who think)
The Queen (A UK magazine first published in the Victorian Era)
And then of course there are the Movie magazines that are also so fun to read like Photoplay, Modern Screen, Motion Picture, and Silver Screen.
My collection is heavy with vintage salon magazines, but I also love reading the magazines written for the housewife. What is your favorite genre or title of vintage magazine? And when was the last time you treated yourself to a new copy?
Ways women wore false eyelashes in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s…
I have seen what I would call an explosion in the use of false eyelashes by everyday women in the last 10 years. What use to be a special occasion splurge has become an everyday routine. With either false strips or extensions or special eyelash growth serums…big, dark lashes are in.
So I thought it would be fun to look back on some of the history
of false eyelash trends.
Victorian and Georgian Eras
Some of the earliest mentions of women using false lashes were in the Victorian Era. The French demimondaines in the 1860s and 1870s (hedonistic women of the time) wore lots of face makeup that sometimes included false lashes. (1) There are some disturbing accounts of a sort of eyelash transplant through sewing in the 1890s, but I won’t get into the gruesome sounding details on that. (2)
In 1903, Charles Nessler, also known for inventing the first perming machine, started selling boxed pairs of artificial strip eyelashes called “Nestolashes”. (3)
In the early days of makeup, many adventurous girls got their makeup ideas from the movies. Early magazines were still advising girls that makeup should be subtle, but that is not what they were seeing on their favorite movie stars.
During the 1920s, films were still silent…no speaking parts. The actresses, like Bebe Daniels, had to emote through their facial expressions. Long, thick lashes brought attention to their expressive eyes.
A popular (but difficult to execute) style of lashes in the 1920s was beaded eyelashes. The technique consisted of melting a type of cosmetic eyelash coating and applying beaded pieces of it to the ends of the eyelashes often with something like an orange wood stick.
Photo by Man Ray
It was only a matter of time before creative makeup artists put their eccentric spin on false lashes. Circa late 1920s/early 1930s, platinum and golden eyelashes were showcased at a New York City national convention of hairdressers, cosmetologists and beauty culturists.
The drama of eyelashes was tamer by the middle of the 1930s. Actresses no longer relied so much on expressive eyes in the movies since talking pictures had replaced silent films.
Women everywhere in the 1940s were encouraged to be beautiful, but also modest with their makeup. WWII was utilizing much of the industrialized world’s resources and factories, which left very little available resources for makeup manufacturing. False lashes would have been considered wasteful and superfluous.
Image via https://www.shorpy.com/
After the end of WWII, once countries were getting their manufacturing systems back to accommodating consumerism, false eyelashes were manufactured again. In 1947, Eylure in the UK began selling false eyelashes.
The doe eye was the eye of the day in the 1950s. Lashes were an important part of that look. False eyelashes were available in the 1950s, but had not reached the prevalence they would reach a decade later in the 1960s. In the 1950s, women mostly still relied on eyeliner and mascara for thicker lashlines.
Charm Magazine, 1959
False eyelash popularity exploded in the 1960s. Women would pile on 2 or 3 pairs of eyelashes layered on top of each other to get the thickest looking lashes possible.
Makeup on the new supermodels like Twiggy and young stars like Cher featured bold eyelashes in creative shapes.
Makeup companies quickly jumped onto this creative shape bandwagon and manufactured false eyelashes in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors.
Some eyelashes were made in a two-toned or tweed effect —
double eyelashes of two different colors — green and brown, black and blue,
brown and black, green and blue, henna and brown — any combination. (1)
The Bizarre Look…
Makeup artists and trend setters of the 1960s took false eyelashes to a whole new creative level. Rhinestones and feathers and flower petals decorated at the eyelash line.
Are you considering cutting your hair short? Did you recently cut your hair short wanting a major change and now you are left wondering, “Now how do I style this and not age myself or make myself look older that I’d like to look?”
There has been a trend lately of retro girls going short. I have certainly done it more than once. I think it looks really fresh and with the right style, you can be a chic 1950s supermodel or a cool 1960s beatnik.
You can wear short vintage hair without that dreaded “middle-aged” feeling. Here is my vintage short hairstyling advice broken down into 3 style categories.
Full above, Sleek on the sides
Look like you are not trying (even though you are)
1. Vintage Messy Short Hair
My best way to describe this is…imagine you have a day old hair set that is losing it’s tight curl and then you run some pomade through it to break it apart. Does that make sense?
Brushing your curls to perfect smoothness is why it transitions to that older feeling you are trying to avoid. Chaos in the curl keeps it fresher.
And let curls go in some random different directions instead of trying to get that perfect directional wave.
2. Full above, Sleek on the sides (Check your silhouette)
When I teach vintage hair, I go on and on about silhouette. Silhouette is the 2 dimensional outer line of the hairstyle. To keep a short hairstyle youthful, avoid the uniform, round helmet silhouette.
I go for height above the forehead and keep the side of the hairstyle sleek against the side of the head.
If you find that you got a little out of hand and you have too much volume on the sides and you are looking a little helmet head, get some pomade on your fingers and just starting combing the side with your fingers downward or backward or forward or a little of both on either side to get it under control.
3. Look like you are not trying (even though you are)
In this short hair style design, put the curlers away. Grab your round brush. You still want bend in the hair strands. You do not want the spiky ends of a straight iron. THAT’S NOT VINTAGE. Vintage always had bend in the hair.
After you are are all round brush blowdried, run some pomade through it to give it windblown chaos and spray in place.
After the end of WWII, style didn’t really go through major changes for the first couple of years. Women continued to sport about the same style of clothing, hair and makeup. Getting back to life was more about families reuniting and getting use to a life without war. The rationing of cloth and the style-for-work mentality took some time to dissipate.
1947 planted the seeds of fashion change. Christian Dior’s popular and controversial New Look was released in 1947. In direct contrast to the resource conscious and the wear-to-work look so prevalent during WWII, women loved the new feminine look. But Dior also suffered some criticism for it. The amount of fabric this new look used directly contrasted the ration style and some women thought the corseted-waste look was a step back for feminism. Those of use that are such fans of the vintage 1950s dress style know what fashion trends won that fight.
Hair in 1947
This vintage magazine article, “Cross-Country Hair-Dos”, printed in the Des Moines Sunday Register magazine predicts the top hairstyles for the coming season in 1947. Scroll down to read the full article.
My take-away from looking at these is that the silhouettes are very similar to the silhouettes popular earlier in the 1940s, but they do feel “free-er”. The curls are a little looser and they seem less complicated to many styles movie stars wore during WWII.
The images are by Frank Powolny, the famous 20th-Century Fox photographer. Powolny shot many famous images we all know today, including a lot of the studio images of Marilyn Monroe.
A high-flying editor unites the top talent in New York and
Hollywood to bring you these four smart-but-simple hair styles for the new
By Judy Rees
The pictures on this page represent a lot of trouble. They
are the result of combining sophisticated New York, glamorous Hollywood, a
coast-to-coast plane and a traveling editor. The point: to bring you a
forecasting blueprint of the four top hair styles for the coming fall-winter
First move was to poll the experts and pick a hairdresser who could do the job. We needed a stylist with a reputation for smart sophistication. But he couldn’t be fad-happy — he had to be able to create styles for average women and their normal, everyday life. Jacques Paschkes was the answer to all our demands.
The Hairstyle Concept
Mr. Paschkes reached Manhattan via Paris, Rome, St. Moritz and Vienna. Before Hitler, his Vienna salon swarmed with very upper-crust European ladies. Now he’s busy with U.S. socialite clients like Mrs. Vincent Astor and Mrs. Barbara Cushing Mortimer, movie visitors like Gene Tierney and Virginia Mayo and old friends from Europe who arrived with the United Nations.
With that kind of background, Mr. Paschkes was not stumped when we asked him to design a quartet of hair styles guaranteed to please all our lady readers. He drew up his blueprints, tested them in his salon, then handed them to our editor, who took the next plane to Hollywood.
Reason for the trip was the recognized fact that Hollywood has as much to do with setting the nation’s hair styles as New York’s smartest hairdressers. We figured that by combining the best of both, you’d end up the winner. So we turned over the blueprints of the Paschkes designs to Irene Brooks, head of 20th Century-Fox’s hairdressing department. Miss Brooks went right to work, added a few touches of her own, adapted them to four of the loveliest heads to be found on the Fox lot. Results are the Cross-Country hair-dos you’re looking at on these pages.
The Free-er Hairstyle
All members of the quartet carry out Mr. Paschkes’s firm belief that hair styles should be functional. Whatever style you pick, he says, should “mesh in with your activities.” “Remember,” he warns, “your hair-do is not frozen in a mold. It has to stand up under a day’s work, a ride in an open car or a day at the beach.”
Just as important is his tip that you hair-do must conform not only to the outlines of your face and head — but to the dimensions of your figure. “Choose a hair style,” he says, “which meets the test of both your hand mirror and the full-length looking glass.”
Test yourself with any one of the Cross-Country styles. When you’ve selected the one best for you, you or your hairdresser can adapt it to your type by following blueprint and picture. The experts promise results.
I’ve been asked many times where to find the vintage style hair tape. The bad news…nowhere. The good news…there are substitutes available.
But first, what is hair tape for? A Google search for hair tape these days will bring up a lot more about extensions than anything else. That is not what we are talking about here.
The specific product was called Hair Set Tape. Hair set tape mainly helps to hold shorter pin curls from unraveling while setting.
So, these kinds of shorter curls are the ones that do not have the length necessary to hold themselves in shape. The rule of thumb is that the section of hair you are pin curling needs to be long enough to wrap around 1 1/2 times or more to stay with just a clip.
But there are many instances, like with spit curls, in which the hair section only wraps around into 1 full circle or even less.
The problem we face today is that no one makes Hair Set Tape anymore. The last time I saw it was a few years ago at a Sally Beauty Supply. It looks that this tape is no longer being made by anyone.
I tried every avenue I could think of to locate some, but just no one uses it like they use to, so I don’t blame the makers for letting it go.
Thankfully, this tape was really only special because…well it was pink and I am a sucker for pink hair tools. And it was special because it told us right on the packaging that it was for hair styling.
There is a solution to our problem though. That solution is Paper Tape. It has all of the practical problem solving traits of the hair set tape. The adhesive is delicate enough to avoid pulling out your hair and the tape “breathes” so air can circulate and your set can dry. (I have seen instances of basic scotch tape used for this, but that is not going to allow as much air circulation.)
In order to make an easier recommendation, I bought 3 different kinds of paper tape to try out.
I tested 3 different tapes. They each had their pros and cons:
The Nexcare Paper Tape by 3M, the original maker of Scotch Hair Set Tape, has a dispenser as well. Click the link to see it. This tape’s adhesive was a little too weak for me. The hair slipped some underneath.
From the October 1947 issue of Modern Beauty Shop, Carmen Dirigo, a head hairstylist at Universal Pictures, illustrates a 4-Curl Formula she sculpts and pins on the starlets she styles. It is a well written, informative tutorial on a pin curl set that will get you to vintage waves.
Her model in this article is Ann Blyth, known by many of us as Veda, Mildred’s high maintenance daughter in the 1945 movie Mildred Pierce. Mildred Pierce is a must see classic movie and the hairstyles in it are fabulous.
by Carmen Dirigo, Head Hairstylist, Universal Pictures
Posed by Ann Blyth, Universal Pictures Star
Time is a strict taskmaster in the hairdressing department of a Hollywood movie studio, where work must be dovetailed with rigid production schedules. That is why it is important to use the particular routine that is right and speediest for a particular job. Carmen Dirigo, who styles for the stars at Universal, now gives you a behind-the-scenes view of some of her studio techniques in these pictures.
Ann Blyth’s moderately long bob falls in rippling waves, a favorite Hollywood coif of easy-to-do curls
1: Stand-up Pin Curl
1 Block a wide strand and wind it around two fingers. Comb stem up.
2 Wound curl is held in place with pin at base, hairpin across top.
3 Position of the curls shows direction the wave will take.
2: Roll Curl
4 A cylindrical form is used ti shape the open-center roll curl
5 Fewer curls are a reason for the popularity of this quick-drying method
3: Pin Curl
6 Tip of the hair is wound around one finger only to make a firm pin curl
7 Tail comb is inserted under stem of the curl to shape wave ridge close to head
8 For curlier ends, “creep” up strand from the tip
4: Finger Curl
9 Rolling the hair over one finger gives a tight curl
10 Bob pins are inserted in each open end of finger curl to hold curl near scalp
11 Pattern shows stand-up curls in toplock, finger curls around head
12 Clips secure deep waves while another section is being brushed
During the Golden Age of Hollywood, makeup artistry was dominated by men, but women ruled behind the chair. Universal Pictures hairstylist Carmen Dirigo helped sculpt 1940s hair beauty. She worked on over 100 films between the years of 1935-1972, but most of her work was done in the 1940s. She died June 25, 2007.
During the Victorian Era, makeup was often frowned on. It was considered acceptable only if you were on the stage. And, also, it was worn by prostitutes. Later, starting around the Edwardian Era, makeup became more acceptable for women to wear. Vanishing cream companies advertised it as part of a woman’s makeup routine.
The term vanishing cream was probably coined by Pond’s Extract Company during the Victorian Era. Vanishing cream mainly acted as a moisturizer in a woman’s beauty routine. Vanishing just meant that it “vanished” or “disappeared” after your skin absorbed it.
Advertising copy for vanishing creams boasted that it protects against chapping in cold weather and wind and keeps skin looking younger longer. With the growing popularity of the open-top motor vehicles and outdoor sports, copy also claimed to protect against dirt and the sun.
Prior to foundation, women used vanishing cream.
It acted as a base layer for a woman’s makeup powder to stick to. Makeup powders did not adhere to the skin well. These creams acted as a moisture base.
“The term foundation comes from the original use of liquid base cosmetics in the early part of the 20th century. Although they were not always translucent, sometimes with a pink or nude tint, they were not often meant to do the job of coloring the skin.
These lotions and creams were applied to the skin first. Their purpose was to create the base or foundation for a powder to stick to, much like a face primer today. Powder provided the color and coverage to achieve the desired skin tone.
Some heavier foundations existed in the movie industry, but in the 1920s the general public did not use them.”
Where can I get vanishing cream today?
If you want to continue this vintage tradition at home, there are some lovely vanishing creams that some vintage skincare companies are making today. The list below are all made by Etsy shops that are bringing the art of 19th and 20th century skincare back to life.
“The hidden secret to many an older sister’s youthful complexion is Vanishing Cream. The reason why, at thirty, her complexion still compares favorably with that of the debutante is because she has conscientiously protected the girlhood radiance and clearness of her skin and has maintained its delicacy and softness long past the time when everybody prophesied it would be lost.
Begin now to always apply Vanishing Cream before you expose your skin to cold It gives your skin an exquisite finish and at the same time prevents chapping and roughening. It keeps your skin soft and moist, pliable and elastic. In winter, when going from hot rooms to outdoors, from theatres to cars, Vanishing Cream protects your skin from all sudden and extreme changes.
Use it tonight. Watch how readily your skin absorbs it. notice its delightful perfume of jack roses and particularly observe what one application does for your skin.”
All of these vintage actresses look chic in these photos. And their simple vintage hair accessories are for sure helping.
This morning, while going through the coat closet to find something, I came across my little basket of berets and scarves. They do not get a ton of use until it gets a little cooler outside. I am looking forward to getting them back in my morning outfit rotation.
It inspired today’s post of simple vintage ways to wear accessories this Fall and look like you are the chicest woman at the office.
Lulu Guerrero – The patterned cap and matching scarf with the solid top is cute as can be. Lulu Guerrero, one of Jackie Gleason’s billboard girls, was the first African American woman to perform regularly on a network television show. Here is a great article about her.
Norma Shearer – I’m dying a little bit over this solid colored beret and matching sweater with a patterned neck scarf. Norma Shearer was the chicest actress of the 1930s.
Fall! It’s here! The leaves are starting to change here in the Northern Hemisphere. That means Halloween is right around the corner. Then we get to eat gobs of Thanksgiving dinner. Then we get to go shopping and spend way more money than we do the entire year. And then, at least for me in Colorado, I get to stop taking care of the yard for 4 months! What a great time of year Fall is.
It is also when we get to completely change our wardrobe, hair, and make-up. I tried a new hair color last week. It is more Burgundy Red than Orange Red now. And I am going to try experimenting with some new ways to wear my International Convertible Cut too.
From the October 1947 issue of Modern Beauty Shop, here is what they recommend for your hair and make-up for Fall.
Brief and Breezy – For Fall!
Short and casual hairdos are the thing for spinning through Autumn countryside in a car, or for Fall shopping around town, with or without a hat. Crisp breezes can’t blow askew brief locks so carefully shaped to the head. They’re back in place in a jiffy with stroke of the comb.
Fall Frolic is waved away from the face and caught with a ribbon band and bow around the crown. Ends of the crown hair are pulled over the circlet of ribbon and combed toward the face in short waves that stop at the hairline. Nape locks are fluffed.
Fancy Free has a rolled-forward toplock and short ends softly waved to overlap the ears in a brief fringe.
Windswept is cleverly shaped to head and waved in wide sweeping dips in the new over-the-ear effect. The same pattern is repeated on each side of the center part. Nape strands turn up in featherly “duck-tails.”
And moving on to your Fall recommendations for make-up…
Blend the make-up to the costume shades
Coordinating make-up shades are suggested for the brunette, the blonde, the redhead, the white-haired woman…and for the dark skin and light skin types. To achieve perfect color artistry, study the chart and show your patrons the importance of close harmony between make-up and costume color.
The clothing color predictions in the chart below were my guess at what the colors actually look like. The more I look at it, the more I think the Roseflame is totally wrong. I based it on a type of rose that is called the Flame Rose. But then I read the lipstick colors that the magazine suggests wearing with this color which include Pink and Light Pink. That seems odd to me.
According to the chart, these are the predictions for Fall 1947 wardrobe colors from the Textile Color Card Association of the United States (now known as Color Association of the United States). This association is an independent color trend forecasting and color consulting service, known for its textile color swatch book, the Standard Color Reference of America.
I challenge all of my readers to try a new way to style your hair this Fall. And send me a picture! Or tag my on instagram…@laurenrennells
A catchy title for the girl who is looking for a little more excitement in her life in 1938. And on the back it poses the question to the pre-WW2 woman,
How’s Your Beauty Score?
Check up on yourself now to see how you score in a complete beauty-appraisal.
These words might be a little misleading, because I looked through this entire book and there is not one test to take to calculate your beauty score. Oh well. Mid-century copywriters weren’t always thinking through everything. Sometimes they were just writing hyped-up copy to get people to buy things.
Here are a few teasers of what this great booklet has to offer…
In It’s the “Bow” that gets the Beau, the book suggests that
You can shape your lips to flatter your features without actually “painting” them in place. If your face is square, make your lips “square” by putting equal tone-value to the upper and lower lips, and spreading the lipstick out wide. A heart-shaped mouth is most compatible with a long-thin face. Don’t try for the rounded-lip effect of the sweet-girl-graduate unless you can get away with it. Put the accent on the lower lip if you have a long, or large nose, and on the upper lip if you have a pert-upturned nose.
In You can do things with it!:
Now that you have started washing and caring for your hair, you can do things with it-interesting, novel and sometimes almost magical things to enhance the beauty and symmetry of your face.
It continues with hairstyle advice for oval, pointed, square, round, and long face shapes. It also has advice for prominent cheek-bones, a prominent chin and for girls who wear glasses.
The Lovely Hands section has a funny paragraph I wanted to share. When I saw the photographs of the hand exercises, I thought to myself how silly it was. And then this little paragraph put me in my place.
The mention of special hand exercises to the busy woman usually brings a retort about this being as silly as a mailman going for a walk. Second thought, however, brings realization that the routine of daily work is definitely damaging to the hands, while corrective exercises, regularly practiced, will do much to insure their grace and flexibility. You’ll get excellent results from the exercises given on these pages.
Thinking back to the repetitive motion pains I’ve had in the past and hearing many stories of people getting pain from overuse of their electronic devices and things like those little pops, this vintage hand exercise section makes more sense to me.