Vintage beauty is one of those looks I have always associated with unattainable flawlessness. The china doll skin and perfectly sculpted curls often seen on the likes of Dita Von Teese, burlesque dancers, and in stylised TV dramas always look like such a work of art that I couldn’t imagine them on the likes of me. A person who tends to take a more slapdash, hope-for-the-best approach to my appearance.
However vintage style amongst celebrities and on the red carpet has always been evident and its influence seems to be increasing, whether it be a modern twist, full blown 40s style or just a nod in that direction. I began to think if these people are managing it (let alone the ladies of the 1940s who produced this look, without half of the beauty items we now have, every day) then maybe mere mortals such as myself could delve into the art of vintage beauty. So you can imagine my delight when Bethany and Simon at The Vintage Beauty Parlour in Chorlton invited me to take part in a complete vintage makeover experience.
When I arrived with Frankie, my friend and photographer for the day, I thought we’d taken a Tardis there rather than an Uber. The salon had this beautiful old Hollywood look, complete with a black and white tiled floor and Hollywood bulb mirrors. I was presented with a huge book full of hair and makeup styles, and after um-ing and ah-ing for a while I chose the looks I liked and Bethany set to work.
Frankie and I spent most of that morning with our mouths open. Frankie was totally taken aback by Bethany’s talent and the beauty of the parlour (she is an architect student after all) and I was drooling over Bethany’s make-up collection and her unending knowledge. I felt quite inadequate really, learning about how Bethany brushes shoulders and kabuki brushes with famous burlesque dancers, working on sets and even styling Dita Von Teese herself. Add that to her list of awards like the National Vintage Award and publishing her own step-by-step book, you can safely assume I was awestruck.
But what I really took away from the experience, more than anything else, was how accessible vintage beauty really is. It really isn’t the elite, all-or-nothing style like I initially thought, and so it is no wonder that its popularity is continuing to increase. While I’ll admit I spent just over two hours in the chair being completely made up, it has been easy to introduce elements of the look into everyday life; big winged eyeliner, pale foundation and pink blusher have definitely made an appearance in my day to day look since my vintage experience.
So even if you, like me, have perhaps thought that vintage beauty wouldn’t go with your look or that it is too time consuming and complicated – think again! Or if you’ve never considered it as something you’d be interested in, here’s your chance. There is a whole world out there consisting of Youtube channels, books, websites and even how-to classes like those run by Bethany that all provide a more comprehensive understanding of what vintage beauty really means. The thing I have fallen in love with most about vintage beauty is how much you can make it your own, and do as much (or as little) as you like. It is a world that Bethany and Simon opened up to me and one I definitely want to learn more about.
If you want to learn more about The Vintage Beauty Parlour and the services they offer, you can find ‘The Vintage Beauty Parlour’ on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. As well as at: www.bethanyjanedavis.com
Bethany’s book Vintage hair Styles of the 1940s is available from the salon and online, and is a totally comprehensive guide on how to style your hair vintage. It’s a purchase I cannot wait to make!
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