By Elyn Storath

The 1920s was an exciting time for fashion as women simplified their way of dress, abandoned tight fitting clothes, cut their hair short and celebrated life after the tensions of World War 1. Make-up became more daring, more theatrical. Hair was cropped, exposing a woman’s neck. As a photographer, when I set out to create this set of images, I wanted to capture the glamour yet simplicity of the 1920s look, the femininity and the boyishness together. My team member Dianne Murphy worked on the make-up, while Liz Scuderi created the hairstyle. They transformed our model Chrissy Bruzzese into a 20s beauty.

Here is a tutorial for how you can recreate this look too.

Make-up from the 1920s consisted mainly of dark smoky eyes and red lips in a small pout drawn over the natural lip line. For this look, Dianne Murphy took a vintage look and used modern techniques to achieve a glowing look that was still period-appropriate.

For the skin:
Start with a glowing base of healthy skin using a good oil-free moisturiser and a primer (Dianne used Embryolisse Rich Moisturising Creme).

  1. Use a full coverage foundation (MAC Studio Fix used here) to create a flawless base, fixed with powder.
  2. Using a Matte Bronzing Powder (MAC), do a soft subtle contour; make sure this is properly blended. Add a soft highlight on the upper cheekbones (MAC Soft & Gentle).

For the eyes:

  1. Apply brown eye shadow powder over the lid, focusing the darkest brown into the crease of the eyelid. Also apply dark brown shadow below the lower lash line to create a soft smoky eye. (Dianne used a Ben Nye Neutral Palette)
  2. Use white eyeliner in the water line of the eye to achieve the larger looking eyes.
  3. Apply mascara and small natural-looking strip lashes.
  4. Fill in the eyebrows using a shade that matches the roots of the model’s hair, keeping to the natural shape of the eyebrows. (However traditionally the eyebrows were drawn in very thin and high on the forehead)

For the lips:

  1. Apply foundation on the lips to hide the natural lip line. Create a bow/pinched look on the lips using a crimson lip pencil, and draw in a false smaller bottom lip line over the natural lips (Dianne used Ben Nye)
  2. Fill in the lips with a similar shade of crimson lipstick (Dianne used shades from a Maqpro Lip Palette)

For a warmer make-up look:


  1. Add gold pigment powder (Dianne used Mehron) to the eyes.
  2. Lighten the lips to a peachy brown.

Recreating the 1920s hairstyle

During the 1920s this type of hairstyle was created on dry hair. Liz Scuderi (our hair stylist on this shoot) tells us that typically the hair would have been cut into a short bob and wet-set. A setting lotion (similar to gel) would have been applied to wet hair, and the hair combed into alternate directions to create an S shape. It was then pinned in place using finger-wave clips and then dried under a dryer. Our model had shoulder length hair, which had to be pinned up to look like a bob.

To re-create this hairstyle:

  1. Part the hair to the side and give it a good spray with a medium-hold thermal protection spray.
  2. Curl small sections of hair (parallel to the head) all over, starting from the left side of the part and making sure each section is wrapped in the same direction around the curling iron.
  3. Pin each curl to cool before giving the hair a good spray with a strong hold hairspray.
  4. Once cooled, unpin the curls and comb them out using a wide-toothed comb, pushing the hair into the position around the face.
  5. Roll and secure the back section of the hair to create a faux bob.
  6. Once everything is secured in place, give the hair a final spray with a strong hold hair spray and smooth down any fly away hairs.

Have fun transforming yourself into a 1920s free spirit!
Photography and Styling: Elyn Storath (
Make-up: Dianne Murphy (
Hair styling: Liz Scuderi (Hair by Lyz)
Model and Styling: Chrissy Bruzzese

Lisa Harrison
Written by Lisa Harrison
Lisa is the Deputy Editor of Vintage Life Magazine and Publisher at Dragoon Publishing. She is avid bookworm, collector of vintage homeware, loves travel, lazy weekends away and eats way too much cake!