Our idea of what’s permissible in make-up has undergone a drastic change in recent years. It is rare to see a female over fourteen without lipstick and powder.
Lipstick should follow the natural lines of the mouth. Colored nail polish is more usual than not, although it is attractive to see well-groomed, healthy nails that have merely been buffed.
Mascara, once used only at night by some women, is frequently worn day and night and in a variety of colours, from blue, green, and purple to various shades of brown or black. Heavy black mascara is often hard-looking, but the others, properly applied (to the upper lashes only in the daytime) and of the non-smear variety, can help the appearance very much, especially that of a person with pale lashes.
Eyebrows, if they need darkening, should be lightly rubbed with an eyebrow pencil the reverse of the hair growth, then brushed back into place, never drawn on. The eyebrow pencil can be used adroitly with an upward stroke, especially at night, at the far corners of the eyes to give them depth and to elongate them, but the line should be blurred with the finger tips.
Eye shadow is perilous stuff. It must be applied with a light touch, if at all. If nature has darkened your lids naturally, that is a cue, often, that you can wear eye shadow. Apply it lightly in the daytime if you wish. Teen-agers should eschew it. If your lids are small and light, shadow often makes you look dead tired. You’ll be better off with mascara.
Rouge, when used (and the older we grow the older it makes us look), is often best not on the cheeks. It can bring a glow to some faces if it is lightly applied above the eyelid, shading toward the temples. A little on the vertical planes of the nose bridge, on the chin or the ear lobes can play nice tricks, but experiment is needed.
It is often more youthful to leave all but the nose unpowdered and to allow a little shine on your face. Pancake make-up, or a good powder base, helps at night to keep make-up fresh, but daylight hours too often disclose its masklike properties.
A pocket-sized magnifying make-up mirror is a requisite for every woman. It should be consulted regularly.
Excerpt from Amy Vanderbilt’s New Complete Book of Etiquette – 1963
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