Retro Foundation Techniques Everyone Should Know


Prior to the 1930s, the trend for American women was a heavily powdered face. A pale powder could create a matte, porcelain finish, which would accentuate the bold makeup looks that became popular in the 20s. In the 30s, however, something changed. Soft femininity reigned supreme, especially on screen where Hollywood beauties were soft, delicate and seductive all at once (via Glamor Daze).

That all changed in the 1930s with the development of a product called Pan-Cake (via Cosmetics and Skin). This foundation was created especially for movie actresses since the newfound popularity of Technicolor made on-screen skin glow and reflect color. Pan-Cake was a “dehydrated cream powder” that provided thick matte coverage. Best of all, it was water repellent, which kept makeup from sweating under hot lights. In 1937, Pan-Cake hit the market and changed the game for makeup bases.

Nowadays, a fresh and clean face is in vogue. However, sometimes a heavy, matte base is where it’s at, and Pan-Cake’s application can be replicated with today’s full-coverage foundations. To apply, first make sure your face is cleansed and moisturized. Next, take a dense makeup sponge and run it under water. Full coverage is achieved with a damp sponge, while more moisture creates a lighter look (via Love to Know). The water lets the sponge glide over the skin to create a truly flawless finish. The original Pan-Cake formula further suggests “[blotting] gently with a tissue” at the end, which removes excess product and any cakey effect (via DesertCart).


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