The last weekend was serious, non-negotiable Do Not Disturb time at my house, with hubby, a martini shaker, the television and me bonding over some delectable Mad Men indulgence. I am thrilled to bits over the fact that Season 6 is here… and not just for Don Draper (it is quite a bit about Don Draper but not all!). The women are equally arresting, in all of their outward beauty and inner angst. Plus there is the makeup: if you have ever watched a single episode of Mad Men, you know how totally gorgeous these women look.
There is a whole socio-cultural dynamic to it as well. The ‘60s was a time of transition, with the wholesome mindset of the ‘50s gradually giving way to the rebellious ‘70s. Women were beginning to flaunt their sexiness while still holding on to rigidly moralistic ideals. Makeup, therefore, was both romantic and feminine, dramatic and sexy – and this is the common thread that runs through all the women of Mad Men, in varying degrees. And while office bar carts and typewriters don’t seem to be coming back, these ’60s makeup looks are definitely set for a revival right now. So, whether you’re a Betty or a Joan, a Megan or a Peggy, here are some beauty pointers to help you get the look of your favorite Mad woman. Who knows? You might even end up landing your own Don Draper in the process!
Season 7 of Mad Men is set in the late ’60s, when the flat, matte complexion of earlier decades was starting to give way to a more natural look. However, the glowing, dewy finish of the ’70s was still some way in the distance. To recreate the effect without going down the chalky path, prep the skin with a softening oil like Rodin’s Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil and follow with a medium-coverage foundation; start in the center of your face and work outwards to the jawline. Finally, go all over your face and neck with a powder brush, for a pretty, matte finish.
Another ’60s makeup quirk was the opposite-of-natural-looking blush. To wear this with a 21st century spin, blend a cream blush onto the apples of your cheeks for the I-just-worked-out flush. Try the absolutely apropos Estée Lauder limited-edition Mad Men Collection Creme Rouge in Evening Rose, which even comes in a ’60s-inspired compact.
Eyes were the focal point in the ’60s and the best way to get the Mad Men look is with a black cream or cake liner, applied with a brush (MAC’s 266 Small Angled Brush works superbly). Dip the brush into the pot, then draw a solid black line along your top lash line – the trick is to run the brush right at the lash line, with no skin showing through between them. Then drag the brush across the lid from the inner corner of the eye outward, getting thicker as you go. Resist the temptation to extend the line too far beyond the outer corner of the eyes as reining it in will keep the look updated. Finally, place the angled brush at the outer corner of the lower lash line and create a small black line that sweeps upward, for an effect like Betty’s.
Lots of Lashes
Long, dramatic eyelashes were a makeup staple of the ‘60s. If you’re not handy with falsies, a lash curler and 2-3 heavy coats of coal black mascara (on the top and bottom lashes) will get you fringe that rivals Joan’s fringe. Make sure the mascara gets right into the roots so you get the maximum volume and length.
The heavy lashes and strong liner need to be offset with a muted color on the lids – something that Megan does superbly. Take a cue from her and swipe an eye shadow brush across a pearly white eye shadow. Then sweep it across your lid and up to your eyebrow. White looks too harsh on you? Stick with a beige or nude color that’s one tone lighter than your natural skin tone. What you are looking for is just the barest hint of color.
Whether bold like Joan’s or sleek like Betty’s, eyebrows in Mad Men are prominently arched – just like they were in the ’60s. For a pair that’s not as long and thick, fill them in with a brow powder that is one shade lighter than your eyebrows. Accentuate the arch and extend them a little bit on the ends if your brows.
A deep ruby lip was at its peak in the 1960s so it’s an integral part of Mad Men – as are the heavily-pigmented-no-gloss lipsticks of that era. Don’t want to go red? Simply take any color and go bold… as bold as possible. And since nobody needs a lesson in lipstick application, I’ll just leave you with some recommendations: MAC’s Ruby Woo, Dick Page’s line for Shiseido and Dolce and Gabbana’s The Makeup collection are all super-perfect for the Mad Men look.
High retro hair is definitely having a moment right now, both on and off Mad Men. Gloria Ponce, a former hairstylist on the show, recommends setting hair in hot rollers for at least 25 minutes. After taking them out, place the hair in a ponytail and pin the curls to the scalp. Or, for an easier alternative, simply shake a little bit of the new texturising powders onto the area you want to volumize, then fluff it around at the root with your fingers until you can’t see the powder. After this, tease the spot just a tiny bit with a comb. Finally, take the piece of hair right in front and smooth it over the little mound for a perfectly polished Joan-type look.