Make-up: 50s pin-up made easy

This is my first requested post for my lovely friend who is going to an ‘alternative’ wedding this week.  I realise the topic has been done to death in YouTube tutorials and the likes, but they’re of varying quality and sometimes it’s just plain annoying squinting at a video and pausing it to see bits more clearly through the gloom of someone’s badly lit bedroom, while they send you to sleep by telling you the history of when they purchased this or that blusher in a constant monotone.

And then there’s the problem that these endless girls who seem to live in the internet have seemingly an infinite budget for make-up and whip out palettes of eye-shadows you could paint a room in a house with.

So this tutorial is for the normal girl who only owns a handful of products and can beg, steal or borrow the rest.  I’ll identify the key elements to making yourself look ‘pin-up’ and the rest is up to you!

My lovely housemate L has agreed (slightly under protest – you can see it in her eyes) to be my model.  Of course, she’s naturally gorgeous especially in my biased opinion so I’ve got a good base to work with.  It’s worth pointing out that I’m going to go for a medium dramatic look that I think befits an alternative wedding – you want something a bit dressier than daytime pin-up.


Pin-ups typically have perfect porcelain skin that looks all the more striking against red lips and dark curls – or platinum blonde if you’re Marilyn.  Modern make-up counters usually match you to a foundation a shade darker than your own skin which I just don’t suit.  To be honest few people suit colourings that are too far from their natural ones, so if you’re an english rose chances are you’re going to quite suit this look.

Product: Estee Lauder Double Wear in Bone, their palest warm-toned shade


These are neat and not too thin, but filled in and with a nice curve if you can manage it.  Not that far from your natural brows, but better defined. Some girls take this quite far and go quite dark, but avoid this unless your hair’s dark. L is fair, so I’ve stuck to a blonde eyebrow colour and kept it subtle.


Product: Urban Decay Brow Box in Beige Betty



Step one: White or pale beige eyeshadow across whole lid, up until the brows.  We’ve gone with white because that’s what I had.

Product: Lancome Color Focus Quad 350 – white

Contour this with grey (if you’ve used white) or light brown (if you’ve used beige) – shading up to the eye socket about halfway along the eye and then blending the two shades together well.  Remember, this eyeshadow isn’t suppose to be dramatic, just enhance what is already there and I think it’s partly to emphasise the fluttering eyelashes we’ll add later by adding in some shadow.

Product: Lancome Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow in a colour I can’t read anymore, but is a dark, sparkly grey

Of course, winged eyeliner is key to a pin-up face!  On L I have started the line not at the corner of the eyelid but where the lashes start – I think this is more flattering on most people as it doesn’t make your eyes look close together and it again puts emphasis on full lashes.  The line increases in thickness across the eyelid and then finishes in a sweeping point.  It’s easier to draw the line by stopping and checking progress as you go along.  One handy tip is to draw a dot where you want the wing to end and then join it up.

Product: Collection 2000 Fast Stroke Liquid Liner in Black


You can keep these dainty for a more daytime look and just curl and mascara your own, but as I’m thinking of this for a dressy situation where people are taking photos and knowing my friend is a fan of big lashes, I’ve gone with the falsie option.  First I mascared L’s own lashes to get them pointing upwards and then we applied some semi-dramatic falsh lashes on top.  I cut about half a centimetre’s worth of lash off from the inner corner to better follow my 3/4 length wing – you can see the falsie and the line are in quite neat alignment.  You can just use the whole lash though, but in that case I’d suggest starting your wing from further in towards your tearduct.

Product: Eyelure Naturalites Eveningwear 101


This didn’t photograph that well, but you can just about see an apple of pink on L’s cheek here.  You want a rosy glow, not too OTT but not too subtle either.

Product: Benetint Posie Tint (any pink blush will do)


The crux of the pin-up face!

Shape: you should enhance and slightly over-exaggerate what you have for a typical 50s/pin-up lip.  L actually has lovely pouty lips anyway and over-exaggerating them too far would take us into clown territory, but I did slightly enhance her natural bow-shape and slightly thickened her top lip.  A lot of tutorials with red lipstick will go on about lining the lips first, but if you’ve got a good lipstick and are relatively young you don’t need it.  My tip is to use a lip brush, or the tip of your lipstick, to outline the shape you want and then fill it in.

Colour: Red, red, red!  I’ve posted before about red lipsticks and their varying shades and I think you should use the red that suits you for this look.  L has quite neutral tones – slightly warm undertone with a fair amount of cool pink, so she can handle a quite neutral red with slightly cool tones like the one I’ve gone for here.  She’s pale, so I’m staying away from Dita von Dark territory.

Product: Nars Semi-Matte lipstick in Jungle Red

Et voila!  Ready for a glamorous time.

(We didn’t realise Zingy was in shot until it was too late.)



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