Beauty trends 1880s-1980s: Second Blogiversary Special

Beauty trends 1880s-1980s: Second Blogiversary Special

 

A century of beauty trends, tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines. 

 

The word "trend" implies something modern and not 130 years old, but more on the semantics in a minute.
I cannot believe it is two whole years since this blog began - I feel like a complete noob most of the time. I would like to thank everyone who has read this blog for their support and hope you have liked it here at least for an infinitesimal second, at some point... Thanks also go to ANYONE who has advised, helped and shared knowledge and posts with and for me. I have more colleagues now than I have ever had at any workplace and love that about blogging.
Last year, I celebrated my first blogiversary by showing you some beautiful vintage beauty advertisements - check the post here. It is my all-time favourite post.
This year, I am sharing article-excerpts from women-centric magazines from the 1880s to the 1980s, containing beauty trends (i.e., whatever was trendy at the time), tips, tutorials, and perceptions. All of these are from my Gran's and Mum's collections, carefully scanned under heavy scrutiny after months of begging, bribing, pleading, coaxing and emotional blackmailing, and returned amid many mutterings. Warning: Picture-heavy.

Enjoy the old-world beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions!


Before we get started, the not-so-fine print:
  1. Perceptions of beauty were completely different from what they are today. I only share the articles and neither condone nor oppose what they say, but am just an impartial antique-collecting nerd. 
  2. Almost all of these are now in the public domain and are freely and widely available online. I have not fully scanned anything that could still be copyrighted (including a DC Thomson publication where I'm not sure) and have only scanned quarter-pages. No article has been reproduced entirely and all publications mentioned are now defunct. All of them are British Commonwealth/Empire-centric/based.
  3. These are scanned and, therefore, may not always be straight, or when the page is larger than my scanner, may not contain the whole page (e.g. Good Housekeeping). All copies of the scans shown here belong to my Mum or Gran, not to me. Please click on the individual images to enlarge them. Some of the extremely foxed scans may have been colour-corrected by me for ease of reading.
  4. Sources of the scans are shown in detail towards the end of the post.

 

1880-1890s Beauty

More than makeup, Victorian magazines covered fashion, which was modest (by today's standards).
The articles stressed goodness, inner beauty and God's love as the best beauty tools (See slideshow further below for more). 
Beauty trends 1880s-1980s: Second Blogiversary Special

1900s Beauty

Exercise and physical fitness were prominent in a post-Boer War publication's beauty section. 
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.

1910s Beauty

A decade later, magazines were beginning to acknowledge beauty products - preferably natural ones.
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.

A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines. 1920s Beauty

Magazines featured anti-ageing tips and Helena Rubinstein adverts for skincare products. Other brands advertised at the time include Bourjois, Boots, No7 and Yardley. Check out this sister post on vintage beauty advertisements for more.

1930s Beauty

Magazines were open enough to discuss body types and tips for improving your figure, but slim was definitely in. The images featured here would have scandalised Victorian readers.
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines. A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.


A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines. 1940s Beauty

With the outbreak of WWII, focus was on making SAHMs and housewives feel good about themselves, and to improve their appearances for their husbands' and children's sake! A number of articles dealt with avoiding "matronly spread" and finding time for one's beauty and fitness regimen while running a household.

1950s Beauty

Dedicated pages for skincare and makeup products appeared in magazines, though many bordered on advertorials, naming and showcasing particular brands - Gala, Innoxa and Dorothy Gray.
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.

A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines. 1960s Beauty (right)

Makeup tips were regularly published; sometimes naming brands but without being advertorials. Max Factor, Rimmel, Yardley and Gala of London became popular across the British Commonwealth - my Mum wore Max Factor foundation to her wedding in the 1980s.


A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines. 1970s Beauty (left)

Beautiful bobs (my Mum insisted on short hair for me until I was old enough to take care of it, and I kept it Diana-style until my Masters' was over), bold makeup looks... God, I LOVE this era and the early 80s, looks-wise. Natural makeup looks were also popular. However, these were bolder than today's no-makeup makeup look.
A far bolder evening makeup look is shown in the slideshow further below.

A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines. 1980s Beauty (right)

Can we ever forget Princess Diana's blue eyeliner? The glam-era was at its best through the Eighties. Here is a makeup look featuring green eyeliner and a combination of shimmery neutral eyeshadows. I would love to wear this look today, green eyeliner and all.
More 1980s beauty articles are in the slideshow below. 


There are just too many large photos already, so do watch the slideshow below for more beauty articles from vintage magazines. If you cannot see the slideshow, go here.


 

Which of these was your favourite era? Why? Tell me in the comments below.

 

 

The sources:

Girls' Own Paper 1880s-1890s

The Girls' Own Paper was a magazine from the Religious Tract Society, later Lutterworth Press. Incredibly popular throughout the British Empire, it was devoured by my great-great-gran (could be a 'great' more or less). Thankfully my entire family has the habit of hoarding, and I have about 40 or so of these.
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines. A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.

The Illustrated Girls' Own Treasury 1880s

I could look at the cover of this book forever....
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.

Good Housekeeping 1920s-1930s

No introduction to Good Housekeeping is required. From my Gran's mother's hoard.
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.

 

Heiress Magazine 1940s-1950s

Heiress magazine was my Gran's version of Cosmo, though more conservative.
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.

Various girls' annuals from the 1960s-early '80s

These are from my Mum's collection as a young adult/adult. For some reason, these are also my favourites. IMO the 80s look was great, makeup-wise. Eyebrows were not thinned within a millimetre of their lives; teeth were not whitened or straightened beyond a point; people had some facial hair and blemishes. And even weird, frizzy hair was fashionable.
A century of beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.

Did you like reading about beauty in the days gone by? Which of these was your favourite? Why? Tell me in the comments below. 

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  1. Inge SpeemannsJanuary 16, 2015

    This is such a wonderful post! I reckon I would really enjoy the 1970's beauty era! Love the bold cheeks!

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  2. Excellent post! :) I'm still a little stuck in the 80s ;)

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  3. Wow, this is so cool! I am an Old Hollywood girl and love my porcelain skin, soft curls, and red lippies :)

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  4. Lola SeicentoJanuary 16, 2015

    What an amazing post! I love everything about this! It's so valuable to historicize our notions of beauty!

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  5. Oh wow, how cool! I liked watching The Great Gatsby and all their glam.

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  6. I LOVE stuff like this!!! This was so much fun to read. I could seriously read a post like this every day. Sharing on my FB page for sure!!

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  7. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 16, 2015

    Thank you! I love doing such posts (sometimes more than palettes and lipstick LOL). I did one on vintage beauty advertisements last year, if you're interested: http://www.mybeautyjunction.com/2014/01/vintage-makeup-skincare-cosmetics-advertisements-from-1920s-to-1950s-magazines-good-housekeeping-heiress.html

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  8. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 16, 2015

    I love the 70s-80s style as well and have wanted a Farah Fawcett haircut, but probably can't pull it off LOL.

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  9. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 16, 2015

    Thank you! I love that there was none of this "no-bold-lips-and-bold-eyes" back then.

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  10. Allison @neversaydiebeautyJanuary 16, 2015

    What a fantastic post, Renu! I will come back and spend more time with it. I too love the looks from the 80s, colored eyeliner and all. I need to check out all of the old beauty adverts in your post. I have a couple on display in my bathrooms that I bought when I lived in NYC years ago. Great stuff!

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  11. This was a fun post!! I love seeing the differences throughout the years!

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  12. I can't believe you have allll of them :) plsssss allow me to come and feel these :) so lucky like i always say ...
    coming back to the trend , can you suggest me a good "90's brown lipstick " shade dear ...
    totally enjoyed going through pics and the post , going to bookmark and share

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  13. I honestly love hearing, reading and seeing the history of beauty.

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  14. moxiereviewsJanuary 17, 2015

    I love this post. Love the photos and reading everything. That was so nice of your Mum and Gran!!

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  15. Such a fun read - sometimes it's funny to read the advice given, sometimes it's a little frightening. Makes you wonder what people will think of our beauty advice in 100 years' time!

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  16. Wow, such an in-detail post! Great job on putting this together! This is so fun to read! <3

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  17. I love this post!! vintage beauty has always been a interest of mine, these articles are so awesome to look at!

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  18. erikatheicyoneJanuary 17, 2015

    This was great! Thank you for sharing it.

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  19. FabZilla_KathJanuary 17, 2015

    This my favorite post from you recently. I like the history behind all things beauty! My fave era? 90s no less because I'm of age then, ready to rock any trend w/o anyone questioning my style and preference.

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  20. What a cool post, I love seeing how beauty has evolved over the years and it just goes to show how really it is subjective!

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  21. This is such a fun post, I love seeing the development over the years!

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  22. Such a cool post!

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  23. Cosmetic SanctuaryJanuary 18, 2015

    This is so fun to see!

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  24. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    Thanks! This is my favourite post from me, along with the vintage advertisement collection I did last year - if you'd like to see it, here it is: http://www.mybeautyjunction.com/2014/01/vintage-makeup-skincare-cosmetics-advertisements-from-1920s-to-1950s-magazines-good-housekeeping-heiress.html

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  25. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    Thank you - I haven't had so much fun with a post. I'd love to see the ads you have! We only get Britain/Empire-based ones here and some of the old American ads were so cool.

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  26. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    I love the Old Hollywood look. But flawless skin and soft curls are something I can only dream about :(

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  27. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    Thank you! Unless I let the history-buff-nerd inside me out once in a while, I'll implode LOL.

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  28. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    The 1920s was such fun! I sometimes wish we lived in more exciting times.

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  29. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    It was great fun to do!

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  30. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    Me too; I wonder how it will continue to evolve.

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  31. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    Thanks very much!

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  32. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 18, 2015

    LOL I agree - perhaps cat eyeliner and smoky eyes would sound funny then!

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  33. Happy blogiversary! Great post, it's so cool to look at the history of beauty looks!

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  34. This is such a fun post... I love learning about the history of beauty.

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  35. cindyprimebeautyJanuary 18, 2015

    Fun post!

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  36. Angela ShermanJanuary 18, 2015

    so interesting!

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  37. How fun! I'm glad we've come so far in our perceptions of beauty, but it is interesting to see what was in vogue so many years ago.

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  38. Bailey_AlltheWordsJanuary 18, 2015

    That cover of Good Housekeeping is too adorable! This post is amazing, it's so interesting too see the historical side of beauty.

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  39. Vintage beauty is kinda my favorite

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  40. This is such a fabulous post! :D And congrats on two years of blogging!

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  41. Ayisha OgbaraJanuary 19, 2015

    Wow this post is so informative, thank you so much girl an interesting read indeed!

    www.diamants-au-chocolat.blogspot.ie

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  42. Congrats on the blogiversary! Loved the look at all these older beauty tips and tricks!

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  43. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 21, 2015

    Thank you! They are fun to read!

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  44. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 21, 2015

    Thanks very much!

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  45. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 21, 2015

    Mine, too!

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  46. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 21, 2015

    Thank you! A number of Winter-issues of Good Housekeeping in the 1930s featured similar cute covers.

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  47. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 21, 2015

    Speaking of Vogue, I would LOVE to get my hands on the first-ever issue!

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  48. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 21, 2015

    Thank you! I love looking at older makeup looks!

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  49. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 21, 2015

    I wonder if they'll call today's cat-eyes, smoky eyes and no-makeup looks horrendous in 30 years' time!

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  50. MyBeautyJunctionJanuary 21, 2015

    Me too - who knows what the next big beauty look will be?

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  51. How great is this!?! I love anything vintage and I really enjoyed these. I would love to see even more of these posts! Happy Blogiversay!

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  52. Great post! It's nice to see how the trends change over the years. :)

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  53. This was really interesting!

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