1940’s Face Contouring Tips

1940s Makeup Face Contouring Secrets

1940s  Do’s and Don’ts makeup and hairstyle tips for the oval, oblong, square, round, and triangle face girl from Hollywood make-up artist, Ern Westmore, He reveals secret makeup tricks on how to achieve real 1940’s style and glamor.

Vintage 1940s Face Contouring Tips

Click to Enlarge

Excerpt from Make-up & Beauty – 1940’s Guides.

Ern Westmore – Hollywood Make-up artist

Since the sole purpose of make-up in the 1940’s is to either accentuate natural beauty or to create natural looking beauty, the secret of successful make-up is naturalness, the closest possible adherence to nature’s own handiwork, the coloration and facial delineation intended by nature itself.
Incorrect make-up indiscriminately applied can render the prettiest of women cheap looking and coarse.

Hide your weak spots, and reveal your strong points !

This rule applies to the eyes, the lips, the cheeks or the shape of the face.

Heavy eye shadow and mascara, harsh rouge and lipstick obscure and hide the best features, give the entire face an appearance of artificiality – a ‘ painted look’.


Glamor through the magic of make-up.

Beauty derives from three factors: the color of the hair and eyes, the color and tone of the skin, and the shape of the face. It follows then, that before you can hope to enhance your natural beauty or create the illusion of beauty through balanced hair styling and corrective make-up, you must know what is universally regarded as the ideal type face or the perfection of beauty, and to what extent and in what way the lines of your face deviate from it, if at all.

1940s makeup – The ideal face type.
Vintage makeup face contouring tips

Below you will find an outline drawing if what is known as the classic Oval type face. This is the ideal type and the central aim in hairstyling and in applying make-up is to cause the face to appear as much like it as possible.

What is your face type?

Analysis and make-up of countless faces in the studios of Hollywood have brought to light the fact that there are five basic types of face: oval, round, square,oblong, triangular.
Determine your type by looking intently at yourself in the mirror.
Compare what you see there with the Five Basic Face Types.

Are you lucky enough to have the perfect oval face? Is your face round, triangular, oblong or square? Face yourself in the mirror and in a strong light. Study your features critically. Study the charts.

What next?

All you have to do is to completely remove all old make-up. Now follow the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” given along with the chart that most nearly resembles your own facial type. Results will probably amaze you. You don’t have to take my word for it. Try it and see for yourself.

Oval Face Contouring Tips



Retain the oval outline in your hair style. Keep it simple with a center parting, if you like it that way. Draw your hair back from your forehead.  Keep your hair full and soft at the cheekbones. This softens the facial outline.

Rouge the center of the cheek. Blend it up over the cheek bone toward the temple and carrying it lightly up under the eye. This will help disguise them.

Make up  the mouth full and follow its natural line. Try to attain the full curve of the mouth.


Accentuate the width of the cheek bones by using a close drawn hair line.
Apply your rouge in a circle or a dab.

Rouge too close to the nose. The perfect oval face needs no contour corrections. You may omit rouge entirely if your hair and eyes are dark. Make your eyebrows too thin, too square, or too heavy and don’t start your eyebrows too far back from your nose. Don’t affect a “cupids bow” or “rosebud” mouth.

Oblong Face Contouring Tips



Create width in your face with how you dress your hair. Fill it out at the sides and bring the fullness down to your chin line.
Wear your hair straight on the top of your head. This helps to foreshorten the face.
Apply rouge in a carefully blended circle in the center of your cheeks.
Follow your natural eyebrow line.
Blend your eye shadow directly from the lash up to the eyebrow line.
Extend the corners just a bit and you can have that well known perpetual smile.


Dress your hair high on your head. it accentuates the length of your face.
Part your hair in the center.
Use dips or curls on your forehead.
Put rouge too close to your nose, or too far out on your cheek. Never use rouge with a purplish tint.
Arch your eyebrows too high.
Accentuate the line of the eye up or down with the eyebrow pencil. the lines of the face must be kept horizontal.
Use eye shadow if you have deep set eyes.
Pluck the eyebrow too thin.
Make-up mouth round or in cupids bow.
Makeup the lips in a thin line.

Round Face Contouring Tips



Create your hair full and soft above the ears to create the illusion of length.
Use a side parting. If you use a left side parting, dress the hair high on the right side of your head. This creates length.
Curve the eyebrow naturally. Start it on a line directly above the inside corner of of your eye. Keep it soft and natural.
Wear rouge on the the outer portion of your cheeks. Carry it up to the temple.

Use the darkest tone rouge that blends with your complexion. It will act as a shadow and help reduce the fullness of your cheek and jaw. Do make up your mouth wide.


Slick your hair back.
Wear your hair in round flat curls.
Employ straight bangs.
Have straight eyebrows.
Try a thin eyebrow.It makes your features appear heavy.
Apply an eye shadow that contrasts with your eye color.
Put rouge on in a circle. It accentuates the roundness of the face.
Use a light foundation cream. This makes the face look twice as large.
Over emphasize your mouth.
Make your mouth up round or the cupid bow shape.

Square Face Contouring Tips



Dress your hair soft and lightly with the fullness on the sides, and dress lightly over the jaw.
Keep your hair in soft curls around the face to counteract the squareness of your features.
Place your rouge in a circle under the eye. Carry it back toward the ear.
Follow your natural eyebrow line. Start the eyebrow directly above the corner of the eye.
Make the mouth up as wide as possible. Create a graceful curve to the lip and outline it twice at the corners. This will give you a perpetual smile.


Pull your hair back tightly at the temple. It will accentuate the square appearance of your chin line.
Slick your hair back flat on top.
Use small, tight curls. Never do small things with a square face.
Apply rouge in a square or straight manner. this makes your chin look wider.
Put rouge on your chin.
Affect high arched eyebrows.
Use thin eyebrows.
Use mascara as heavily on your inner eyelashes as on the outer.
Make your mouth up too small. A thin mouth is not in keeping with the square type face.

Triangle Face Contouring Tips



Brush your hair back and up from the temple to create the illusion of width in the forehead.Keep your forehead fully exposed. Use your natural hairline. Dress your hair full at the sides and above the ears. Keep your hair soft and not too full at the jawline.
Start your rouge just back from the center of the cheek. Blend it up to your temple and down, very faintly, over the jawline. Your rouge acts as a shadow and helps to minimize the jaw width.
Start your eyebrows on a line directly above the inside corner of the eye. Arch your eyebrows slightly with a natural curve and keep them soft and natural looking.
Create a natural looking wide mouth to reduce the apparent width of the jawline.


Wear your hair straight or flat on top. The illusion of the triangle is caused by the hairline or the pointed appearance at the top of your head. Straight hair accentuates the pointed forehead and the jawline.
Put your rouge on in a circle above the lip-line. It will make the lower part of the face appear much wider.
Use heavy rouge.
Use straight eyebrows. Don’t make them up too long. Don’t make your eyebrows up in an angular fashion. it will only accentuate the triangle.
Omit the use of mascara.
Arch the upper lip above its natural outline and don’t make it up round or in a cupids bow.

Download direct to your device Makeup and beauty – A 1940s Guide.

1940s Makeup and Beauty

If you’d like to see the master at work himself. Here’s a rare film of Ern Westmore in 1951 giving this very tutorial on contouring for your face type.

2 thoughts on “1940’s Face Contouring Tips”

Comments are closed.