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Napoleon Perdis Headshot

Makeup Through the Ages: A Fresh Spin on Beauty Classics

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I've always been entranced by beauty through the ages -- my vast collection of coffee table books of beauty ads stand as proof. Beauty trends and application tricks have been in existence long before industry icons like Helena Rubinstein or Max Factor. Kohl-rimmed eyes, anyone? Or the ox-blood lipstick that was at the top of everyone's fall 2011 beauty reports? All beloved looks that have been around since Ancient Rome and 13th-century Europe.

I was deeply saddened by the news of Elizabeth Taylor's passing. She was a true icon and an idol of mine. Her style epitomized that Old Hollywood glamor, and she's been the driving influence and inspiration behind many of my campaigns and collections. This really got me thinking about looks that defined that time. I've taken each statement from the 1920s to 1980s and put a new spin on it for now. Who knows what they'll label the defining beauty look of the twenty tens. Block or bleached out brows, perhaps?

For the 20's: I'm crazy about that roaring twenties glamor referenced on Boardwalk Empire. The flapper-era chic look requires a black kohl liner on the eyes, rosy just-pinched cheeks, plump lips and the brows kept thin and long. But I'd hold the flapper bob -- too literal. For a modern variation, while keeping the eyes suitably smoky, use a black pencil liner (like my Eye Pencil in Onyx) scribbled on your upper and lower lash line. Using a medium-sized eye brush, blend the pencil smooth on the lash lines. This creates a smokey effect without battling the black shadow fall out.

For the 30's: The Jean Harlow look was in full effect with pencil thin brows and porcelain painted faces. False lashes also came into play to add drama to the peepers, and a thick application of a scarlet matte red lipstick was a must. My all time favorite lip tip is to line lip last, this acts as a tool to perfect the lip shape and the texture of the pencil helps to keep it all in place. For contoured features, use my Prismatic Eye Shadow Quad #4 on the eyes -- light shades to highlight the lid, brow bone and darker shades to contour the socket. Sweep my Mosaic Bronzer in the hollow of the cheek to sculpt the cheeks in a defining blush.

For the 40's: The Veronica Lake look of this decade was all about the perfectly rounded pout and loads of mascara. Apply it first in several coats to the outer corner of the lashes for length and to emphasize an almond shape eye. For a rosebud mouth shape, give yourself full lips with an elongated cupid's bow and go a little bit beyond your natural top lip line. As for the rest, pin-up beauty was about keeping the face fairly minimal with a powder and long flowing tresses.

For the 50's: Think Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor with sultry scarlet lips and champagne colored eye shadow blended into the inner corners of the eyes to make them shine. Then add an exquisite floor-skimming gown. Another makeup staple of the 50's: liquid liner. To get the look, try my Neo Noir Liquid Liner with a built in applicator. Combine your liner with a seductively arched brow for this unmistakable, era-defining look.

For the 60's: Work a Mad Men vibe and focus on the eyes with vibrant tones of blue and green against a playful flick of eyeliner. Or think Twiggy with her doe eyes and exaggerated lashes, quite a heavily made up look. Combine a highly defined socket line with a pop of color on the lids and a graphic liner on the lash line and your look is almost there. Lashes were a massive statement with some women wearing up to three sets at a time. They were not just limited to the upper lashes -- many women also enlarged the size of their eye by wearing them on the lower lash line as well! Add a soft pink or coral lip, a cocktail dress, some back-combing and you're off!

For the 70's: Disco glam at its best; so whip out all that glitter and shine! Shades of the peacock-like purples, greens or golds were in effect for the eyes. To make this eye statement, dust an iridescent purple shade (like Loose Eye Dust in Violet Femme) across the lid and subtly blend up towards the brow. Finish with a sparkling teal around the inner corners and a glossy nude lip for a perfect Friday night look.

For the 80's: Dynasty... Dallas... The power-suit era went hand-in-hand with bold color and statement making shoulder pads. It was all quite over the top, and the makeup was no exception. Eye shadow wasn't just contained to the eye, but swept onto the temple in a combination of sapphire blue and electric pink. You don't have to be so extravagant in recreating an 80's inspired look, simply make a statement with color and remember to keep a balance with the eyes, cheeks and lips.