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Watch 1920s Makeup Recreated By Modern-Day Women

When I think of the 1920s, my mind goes straight to beaded-fringe flapper dresses and finger waves. Oddly enough, I’ve never really thought about 1920s makeup. Happily, some staffers from BuzzFeed gave me a quick four-minute lesson with the latest production for Ladylike video series. Honestly, 1920s makeup was a lot less glamorous than the swingy dresses and the careful coifs. You definitely couldn’t tell how bright red the blush was in black-and-white photos in high school history books.

According to the video, prior to the 1920s, makeup was socially unacceptable and associated with promiscuity. (I definitely would not make it back then.) But, the video followed up by noting that the lack of visible makeup may have been due to how difficult the beauty products were to apply. To put this to the test, four women used products from Bésame’s line of vintage-inspired cosmetics, including their cake mascara and sheer blush, and let iconic actress Gloria Swanson be their inspiration.

If you are unfamiliar with cake mascara, you’ll get to see it in action in the Ladylike video. The mascara could easily be confused with a bar of charcoal soap. However, when you rub a wet spoolie on it, it coats the brush in rich pigment for darkening your lashes. The scariest of the makeup experiment: The women recreated Swanson’s thin, straight brows. One of them even used concealer to obscure parts of her today-shaped arches brows, which are shaped. Spoiler alert: It was not a good look.

You can watch the full 1920s makeup video below. Note: The women in this video often refer to a Devon. That Devon is not me, although I wish it was.

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