When I sit to put my makeup on, I sometimes try to evoke the look of the beauty icons who inspire me the most. Of late, I’ve found endless inspiration in flapper chic and the biggest stars of that twinkling era. Especially if I’m going out on a romantic dinner date, or a fab night out with my girlfriends – I love decadent, 1920’s-style film noir quality makeup.

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Consider the look of forgotten legend Nina Mae McKinney, who was known as the Black Garbo back in the 1930’s. Flawless. Timeless. Click here to read my Black Voices homage to her.


And behold, my forever inspiration, Josephine Baker. Drink in the stunning photo I found on the amazing Flickr site Discover Black Heritage. To me, Josephine is the definition of gorgeous. I wrote about her for Vogue Black this week, and they’ve posted some amazing photos of her to accompany the article. Click here for that.

If Nina Mae McKinney had any one beauty trademark, it’d be a flawlessly manicured brow. I just got mine whipped into perfect shape at the B Bella Salon. It was one of those perfect walk-in afternoons, and Rosa threaded and waxed my brows into amazing shape! Two thumbs up for B Bella!


Lately I’ve been using MAC’s Brow Set gel to keep the brow situation under control. I hate an over manicured, over darkened, thin, harsh looking brow. That’s how they did it back in the day, but in my opinion, it doesn’t work in today’s day and age. Brow Set in Beguile perfectly matches the color of my eyebrows, and gives me definition without making my brows cartoonishly dark.


When I want a really defined cat’s eye for everyday, I love a bold, strong eyeliner. Right now Avon’s Glimmersticks Eye Liner is giving me everything I need. Rich pigment that doesn’t smudge, lasts for hours AND it’s on sale, so it’s less than $4! Score!


You can’t do Twenties glam without a delicious, dark lip. Right now I’m practically obsessed with Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge in chocolate cherry — it’s a deep red brown that manages to not be too bricky. And I just got my hands on Three Custom’s uber hot new Noir Sheer lipstick, and it’s just as gorgeous as I expected. This lippie looks black when you open it, but when you slick it on, it’s more of a deep burgundy plum that is sheer but buildable. It looks super pretty on, regardless of your skin tone — I’m here to testify that this lipstick is glorious on brown girls, but Twenties glam doesn’t have to end with us! According to Gouldylox, Noir looks equally pretty on pale Irish lasses, just so you know.

Twenties glam also calls for uber long lashes – so look out for a lashtastic post next week!

Got any makeup recommendations for Twenties glam, my bellas? Share with me!


Andrea says:
March 12, 2010, 5:48 am
I've never even heard of Nina Mae McKinney but the women of this era were very glam and true ladies. Great post!
Rochelle says:
March 12, 2010, 6:16 am
Good info. CHeck your email. I also sent you a note about featuring you our radio show. Look forward to hearing from you!
eclectikchic says:
March 12, 2010, 9:32 am
I love the 20's look. I love the pictures and the style of that era.
Robin says:
March 12, 2010, 1:59 pm
I've been totally obsessed with the whole pin-up look as of late. Full manicured brows, neutral or pastel shadow with smoking winged eyeliner (gel) and I've always been a neutral/nude/brown lip girl but you have to have the perfectly lined red lip (gotta be the right red for brown bellas tho). Great post!
Miracle Girl says:
March 12, 2010, 12:58 pm
Loving this post--such style inspiration! I've never tried Three Custom Color products (but I've heard great things..), but that sheer lipcolor looks absolutely divine. *Thinking of partaking in some retail therapy this weekend... :) xx.
MsOverproof says:
March 12, 2010, 4:50 pm
I wonder what hair products they were using back then to hold hair in place. Josephine Bakers hair was always fierce, sculpted AND NOT MOVING! Whatever the were using maybe they need to re-release it. Im a natural but can appreciate hair art when I see it.
Kimmoy says:
March 13, 2010, 11:47 pm
You know, I have always loved the pin-up look and can hardly find any Black pin-up women. Which is surprising because it's one of the few modeling art that embraces women with curves. I absolutely LOVED the movie on Josephine Baker, she was definitely comfortable in her own skin which is admirable. I would love to see more on the pin-up looks from clothes, shoes to the red lips, dramatic eyelashes, and even natural/loc'd pin-up hair-dos. You up for that challenge? ;-)
wildhair says:
March 14, 2010, 1:05 pm
Love both of them I first saw/heard of Ms. Mckinney a few years ago. I had the pleasure running across the movie Hallelujah on TMC. She played a raw vixen and she ran the film. I was shocked to find out that she was still in her teens.
rikyrah says:
March 15, 2010, 12:57 am
they were both so beautiful
Kate says:
May 25, 2010, 5:26 am
I also never heard of Nina Mae McKinney, but post very good. I am from Ukraine, but often went to see you on the blog =) Loved your blog