The 1920’s flapper is an iconic look with a fascinating fashion and make-up history. Born from a decade of decadence, the flapper was fun, exciting, and daring with her style. With scandalous hemlines and bold, short hairdos, the vampy yet glam make-up trend pulled the flapper’s entire look together.

If you are planning a 1920s themed wedding these tips will help you recreate that iconic flapper make-up look; perfect to nod at the centenary and feel glamorous on your big day. There’s also top tips to keep your make-up looking flawless from morning to night!

Simple Matte Base

The 1920’s Great Gatsby make-up look was all about the eyes and lips. Keep the base simple to avoid overdoing it on your wedding day.

1920s style bride with headscarf standing with groom

Image from Unsplash

You want your skin to look perfect but not distract from the rest of your make-up, so skip the disco ball highlight powder and go easy with the blush! The extreme Kim Kardashian-esque contour routine does not mesh well with this look either.

Achieve flawless skin like a twenties movie star with a high coverage foundation and concealer in a matte finish. I love Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation and the matching Double Wear Concealer. It’s a fantastic high coverage formula that provides the essential longevity on your skin for your big day.

Because the eyes and lips are already dramatic, opt for the not-so-blushing-bride look! Swipe a light dusting of a subtle pink blush along the high points of your cheekbones. For this I recommend a touch of Charlotte Tilbury’s Cheek to Chic Blush to bring some life to the cheeks.

Dramatic, Vampy Lips

The flapper make-up look is all about that daring darker lip. Stick with deep reds, purples, and browns, or choose a dark nude to keep it natural.

Bride with vampy lips

Image from Unsplash

Your wedding day lipstick is special. You will keep this tube forever, so I recommend investing in a beautiful lipstick to display on your vanity table. My favourite 1920s-inspired shade is Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Pur Couture Satin Lipstick in 135 Wildly Rouge.

Dark lip shades provide a beautiful contrast against a white wedding gown, but deeper shades have a greater risk of feathering out from the lips. To help, try the translucent powder trick! First, blot your lips using a tissue after applying the lipstick and then hold the tissue over your mouth. Next, grab a fluffy powder brush and tap some translucent powder over the tissue. This will remove the excess moisture from your lips and help keep your lipstick in place all day!

If you want to emulate that authentic flapper look, apply the lipstick in a heart shape just at the centre of your lips to create a smaller looking mouth. However, applying lipstick all over the mouth is much more forgiving, and will stand the test of time when you’re looking back over wedding pictures in 20 years’ time!

Striking, Sultry Eyes

Smudgy, smokey and sultry eyes defined 1920’s make-up, where flappers combined Vaseline and charcoal to get that messy look.

Woman's 1920s flapper make-up with smokey eyes

Image from Pixabay

To achieve the same look, start by sweeping a satin or glossy base all over your eyelids, then follow with a Kohl liner and smudge using a brush close to your lash line.

Eyeshadow was not all that common in the 1920s. Grey tones were most popular, but a lighter brown or nude shade is more forgiving for a bridal make-up look. I recommend using Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion in shade ‘Sin’ (a glossy nude colour), followed by their soft brown matte Eyeshadow in shade ‘Naked’ all over the lid and along the bottom lashes.

Next apply Charlotte Tilbury’s Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in Bedroom Black along the top lash line, then smudge into the eyeshadow for that sultry flapper lid.

Finally, finish off the look with lashings of mascara. I love Benefit’s Roller Lash for a lifted and curled lash effect!

Guest post by Laura Chawke of Makeup Scholar

About the Author

Laura shares beauty tips and tricks, reviews products, and explores the academic research behind beauty and make-up, especially the psychology behind make-up.