1936 Makeup Tutorial Shows Beauty Is in Symmetry

Vintage Fashions uncovers British Pathe video showing ladies how to apply makeup

By on March 2nd, 2012 19:41 GMT

Applying makeup isn't just a guessing game, but rather more of an art. Proof of that is also this video made in 1936 by British Pathe, and uncovered a short while ago by Vintage Fashions.

That all women should apply makeup on their face in such a way as to strive for symmetry is something that stylists have long emphasized.

As it turns out, so did experts back in the days of yore, in order to achieve the perfect Hollywood look.

The video is below. It's not very long, but it more than delivers on what it aims to prove: makeup is an art.

“Making up whether after a tiff or as part of the toilet is an art if only one knows how,” a male narrator says, adding that “makeup is made to measure.”

The clip shows three models with differently shaped faces. A stylist explains how color should be applied to the cheek in strict relation to the proportions between forehead and bridge of the nose and mouth.

To establish them, the stylist uses a wooden compass, marking the reference points on the face of the model with eyeliner.

The narrator explains this cosmetic equation as a means of “making up in make-up what the face lacks in uniformity. It's all rather touching don't you think?”

The tutorial also lays out how lipstick should be applied to the lips, especially in those cases when the mouth isn't shaped as a natural Cupid's bow.

If the lower lip is too “heavy” (“pardon us, ladies”), lipstick must be applied in an exaggerated V-shape, leaving the corners of the mouth untouched.

If the mouth is too thin, the lipstick will be applied over it, especially in the middle part of the upper lip, to shorten the distance between mouth and nose, the narrator explains.

To make things even better, the video also includes a before and after of a model with makeup applied poorly and according to the set of rules presented above.

We can't really tell the difference because of the grainy, black and white image, but we imagine it must have been something to remember.

Makeup tutorial from 1936 shows close attention was paid to symmetry
   Makeup tutorial from 1936 shows close attention was paid to symmetry
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