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Vintage 1940s Makeup Colour Charts & Guides

1940s vintage makeup charts

A collection of authentic makeup colour charts from the 1940s. There are also some excerpts from brochures, These were produced by the cosmetic brands to guide women with their makeup application and colour choices. Seeing the colours used during this decade is useful for creating genuine vintage makeup looks.


Revlon lipstick and matching nail colours (1940).


Cosmetic brands used patriotism during World War II to promote their bright red makeup products. Red, it could be argued, is the most patriotic of all the colours – and brands never like to miss a marketing trick.

Palmolive’s guide to makeup application and colour advice.

Palmolive’s guide to the colours a woman should wear (1941).


A couple of colour charts and guidance as to what colours to choose from Helena Rubinstein.

women's 1940s makeup colour chart
Colours for all occasions for the brown haired woman from Helena Rubinstein (1945).
Helena Rubinstein colour charts grouped into hair colours (1945).


A nail polish colour chart from Avon.

Avon nail polish colour chart (1946).


“Springtime shades” taken from a Coty advert in Cosmopolitan (1947).


Nail colours from the 1948 Avon catalogue.

From page 10 of the annual Avon catalogue (1948).
Avon colours from March 1948.

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6 thoughts on “Vintage 1940s Makeup Colour Charts & Guides”

  1. One thing that leaps out is the utter lack of women of color in these advertisements as if they did not exist at all. That is one thing that has changed for the better.

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1940s vintage makeup charts