Retro Re-do: Iconic Makeup Inspiration

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Small anecdote; I recently finished a year long course of film studies that introduced me to many iconic celebrities as well as furthered my appreciation of another handful. What makes these specific actresses so iconic? Their makeup. Of course there’s also their personalized style and confident mannerisms that we all covet, but I couldn’t possibly cover everything I’d want to in one go.

No, I want to geek out with some fellow makeup enthusiasts about the eclectic makeup styles that made up the retro era of film. Maybe we’re on the same page about this; we are if you’re thinking of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn like I am.

After all, If Audrey Hepburn’s commendable cat eye doesn’t catalyze a suppressed giddiness within, I don’t know where your priorities lie.unnamed-1

The Inspiration: Audrey Hepburn’s role as Holly Golightly basically portrays an enigma between classy seduction and a brilliant innocence. The incredible part is that the paradoxical spectrum can be conveyed through one hazy glance. I’m not going to lie, I do credit the impression partly to the makeup team’s superb technique as well as Ms. Hepburn’s natural elegance. It’s only fair once you consider the drastic difference a smoky eye would have made.unnamed

Get the Look: This is the epitome of well-balanced. Hepburn turns down the brow game in favor of a flatteringly angular eye shape. This outcome being achieved by the winged liner—which I might not ever tire of mentioning—and wispy lashes. But how do I make my lashes wispy? There is no better instance to partake in some falsies. Keep an eye out for a well spaced strip (or even individuals!) as opposed to the ‘trendy’ curtain of fibers. Audrey has naturally well pronounced eye sockets, but for the less gifted we can recreate the effect with some taupe-grey shadow in the crease. Steer clear of browns for this look (I would even recommend a cool toned bronzer to emphasize those killer cheekbones) to keep the appearance chic instead of muddy. From there, keep the brows thick and youthful but still opt for a natural air by filling them in with shadow and thoroughly brushing through to evenly distribute the product. Lips should simply stay within the nude scheme with a peachy coral or dusty rose hue.unnamed-2

The Inspiration: One of Marilyn Monroe’s greatest appearances would have to be in the comedy,Some Like it Hot. This flick was low-key revolutionary in how it managed to skirt around censors despite the concept of cross-dressing in the late 50’s. Monroe individually left an equally lasting impression under a different spotlight however with her iconically sultry makeup.unnamed

Get the Look: One word comes to mind trying to describe Monroe’s look, and that word would be lethargic. The trick to her slackened lids being in the composition of eye shadow. It’s really easy to achieve once you consider that it both enhances the shape of the eye and carries off into a contour of the nose. Pack the lid with a creamy nude to visually lift this portion of the eye, then define the crease with—get this—your bronzer.

unnamed-3However, you’re going to continue to lift the lid with the bronzer by continuing straight to the uppermost part of the bridge of your nose, just below the brow. Blend heavily towards the inner corner to create a gradual fade across the eye. Line your tight line (the waterline of your upper lash line) with a black pencil and apply mascara to the top lashes. To emphasize the retro look, apply mascara to only the outermost lower lashes. Add a strong layer of red lipstick and top it off with a lustrously finished gloss and you’re good to go.

Ready to modify your look in light of the era’s revival? Take this inspiration to put a twist on your usual ‘done up’ looks for parties and celebrations.unnamed-4

Hope you have a good week! Xx

I'm Alexea Malaletkin, currently residing in Southern California where I waste weekends either on my couch or at concert venues. I currently work as an editor for my school newspaper and will be majoring in either journalism or English language this fall. I am a food, internet, and rainy day enthusiast with a fervor for makeup and fashion. I draw a lot of inspiration from art, music, and movies-- all of which will most certainly make an appearance in my work here. Keep up with me on Instagram (malaletkin7) and Tumblr (