Gladys Raggs talks about 50s and 60s Make-up

Want to recreate the faces of the 50s and 60s, but don’t know where to start? We asked a child of the 50s… who immediately
asked the experts.

THE village chemist, I vaguely recall, was Blackrock Pharmacy; the fatal attraction, Rimmel push-up eyeshadows in baby blue and an especially lurid green.

At first I was puzzled. They looked exactly like lipsticks. Who would wear blue lipstick, I wondered, this being years before Goths were a thing.

And then the penny dropped. They were pennies back in those days, too – and I didn’t have enough to buy the shadow. Sneaking into the shop every now and again for a longing look, and raiding my big sister’s make-up bag ahead of clandestine experiments in our double-locked bathroom (pink, duck-decorated wallpaper, matching bath) had to do.

This was the late 1960s and I’d watched in wonderment as my two older siblings moved through Winehouse eye-flicks and windscreen-
wiper falsies to hippy-style transfers and Twiggy peepers. The only constant, it seemed to me, was a frosty pink lipstick to which the younger of the two is still addicted today.

I can’t speak for the 50s, though that’s barely necessary in any case: look at pictures of Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn et al. But the 60s was a decade of radical change – especially for women.

The austerity years following the end of the Second World War were over – women were out in the workplace. Hemlines rose, independence beckoned, domestic shackles were shaken off. It was time to have fun.

Cosmetics and skincare were suddenly within reach, with affordable brands like Max Factor, Maybelline, Yardley and Revlon leading the way – which helped when your earnings were unlikely to climb above a handful of (old) pounds per week, delivered in a square brown envelope.

But what bliss to enter the hallowed halls of Woolworth or Boots and exchange some of them for a pot of creme eyeshadow or a Max Factor Pan Stik to plaster over the dewy teenage complexion.

I’d hastily swipe mine on in the alley alongside our suburban semi, break out the forbidden miniskirt and hope against hope that Mrs Murray up the road didn’t spot and report me.

So how to have a bit of fun for GuernseyRetro and ‘get’ the look? I could do that in a flash and would look startling, no question, but others have more professional expertise.

Beauty therapists at The Day Salon Amelia, Soreia and Jen – always beautifully turned out, with eyes to die for – know exactly how to recreate the faces of the 50s and 60s using today’s products. Here are their top tips.




Leave a Reply