New to Makeup: Vintage vs Pinup

I love both vintage and pinup styles, they’re some of the coolest styles out there. Personally, I’m more inspired by vintage than pinup but enjoy dabbling with both. This post is not meant to trash any of the styles, merely to outline the differences between them to clarify what the different styles mean.

Vintage style makeup aims to capture the essence of specific time periods and often seeks to replicate classic looks without changing them. Pinup is a more modern take on classical styles, often more dramatic than vintage. Personally, I think of vintage makeup as day makeup and save full pinup makeup for special events.

Which is easier for beginners?
Probably vintage, for one reason: Winged eyeliner. Winged eyeliner is a staple of pinup makeup and although pinup looks can be created without winged liner, it’s considered one of the main components of pinup style makeup. Genuine 1930’s and 1940’s looks seldom included a lot of eyeliner but focused on mascara instead.

What are the differences?
In general, pinup makeup is a bit edgier than vintage. The colours are often designed to pop and stand out a bit more than in vintage makeup. Eyeshadow is more commonly used in pinup makeup than vintage makeup and it’s often applied using more modern techniques. The winged liner is the greatest difference, it only saw limited use in vintage times but is embraced by the pinup community. Pinup makeup takes greater liberties with colour in general and isn’t afraid to try new combinations and textures. They’re quite similar when it comes to foundation, but the pinup style seems to favour full coverage matte foundation while the vintage style often features lighter coverage and a powdered finish.

Do I have to pick one or the other?

Of course not, a lot of people’s makeup looks fall on a spectrum. Like I said in the introduction, I often save pinup makeup for special occasions or events. In general, I’d say pinup makeup offers more options while vintage makeup is a bit more ‘strict’. That being said, no one is going to crucify you if you use a lipstick with a texture that didn’t exist in the 1940’s. There are always “puritans” who have the opinion that their way of doing a certain style of makeup is the only way that style of makeup should be done. I typically ignore these people. Makeup is meant to be fun and shouldn’t feel like a burden or be so difficult to navigate that you wish you had a rule book.


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