When WWI began, beauty advertisers urged women that it was more, rather than less, important to beautify; it was their patriotic duty to keep an optimistic, pretty, and cheery face even when weighed down by the daily reality of war. It wasn’t until the late twenties that makeup really entered the mainstream. By 1929, French Vogue was advertising “Rouge Camelon” lipstick, and in US Vogue, Helena Rubinstein was applauding the “magic that lies in makeup,” and advertising her Cubist Lipstick and Red Raspberry Rouge. (Rubinstein actually started advertising rouge and lipstick in the United States in early 1923, much earlier than in the United Kingdom, where her company’s ads were still strongly anti-cosmetics.) “A Defence of Rouge,” the very first pro-makeup feature in UK Vogue, did not appear until July 1924. The likely reason for America’s early adoption and approval of makeup was, at least in part, due to the immediate impact and success of Hollywood. Compacts, housing powder or rouge, with lipstick often attached, were available in a multitude of designs so that one could match her compact to her outfit. Touching up one’s makeup was now officially acceptable. But there was still a faint undercurrent of caution in some ads: Tangee lipstick, advertised in both the United Kingdom and the United States, warned that “your makeup should enhance your personality but never over-dramatize it.” Another lipstick brand, Michel, promised that “with MICHEL you are not made up. You are made lovely” (UK Vogue, December 1929). Others were more forward-thinking: An ad for Maybelline Eyelash Beautifier from 1929 quotes Milton (“Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes”) and states that it’s “used by leading Stage and Film Stars.” While the first lipstick ads were just finally appearing in the United Kingdom, in the United States, attitudes to makeup had really moved on from the previous thousand or so years, and journalists were writing about what makeup to wear with the latest beauty accessory the suntan.




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