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Old Hollywood Glamour: Get Shirley MacLaine’s 1950s Look

Who isn’t a fan of the extremely talented redhead actress, Shirley MacLaine? Her films are timeless and so is her look. We spoke with the celebrity makeup artist, Lisa Gibson, who actually did Shirley MacLaine’s makeup! “I did Shirley’s makeup in the late 80’s & have always loved her as an actress. Plus, her classic short, ‘pixie-like’ style is trending again,” said Gibson.

Lisa Gibson shows us how to get the old hollywood look in 15 easy steps:


1. Prep the skin with a matte pore minimizer using fingers to melt into skin. Try: L’Oreal ‘Magic Perfecting Base’ and pat into forehead, down center of nose & chin.

2. Using a concealer, apply a few dots directly on under eye darkness and blend with concealer brush using inward, gentle tapping motion. Add a bit for highlight down center of nose and middle of forehead to catch the light. Try: Lancome ‘Maquicomplet’ in Ivory.

3. For foundation, try a mineral powder type base, like Almay ‘Wake Up’ Hydrating makeup in Ivory. Dust all over, excluding eyelid area, be sure to blend down neck and over ears. “Shirley wears her hair short & ears show, so you want to blend everything.”

4. Blush, a warm peach blush to the cheeks. Cargo ‘Cannes’ in Soft Peach is a great choice. Dust gently starting at mid ear and blend inward to center of eye. Swirl brush to get a natural and blending “blushing effect”. “Starting at the ears insures no mistakes, or nasty blotch of color in center of face, by beginning your touch at the ear. This safeguards against too much and can be easily blended away to hairline if needed.”


5. Prep eyelids with an eyeshadow primer, try Urban Decay Eyeshadow ‘Primer Potion‘ & pat with finger or sponge over entire lid.

6. “MacLaine’s eyebrows are not red, but more of a soft, warm brown shade.” Use a brow pencil like Cargo Brow Pencil in Medium. Arch brow just slightly off center of eye towards the outer edge and thin out the end to a thin, blended line. Start of brows should be slightly round, not square. “50’s Shirley had a thicker brow that was of that time, so don’t be shy to add a bolder brow to create her look.”

7. Using a fluff eyeshadow brush, blend a matte creme tone all over eyelid. I like Bare Minerals ‘Bisque’.

8. Next add soft definition to the eye crease. Use a defining eyeshadow brush to shade the crease a bit from outer edge all the way in. Try Le Femme ‘Taupe’. It’s matte and the prefect color for this look. Blend well. Line just half of the bottom of the eye with a damp eyeliner brush and a slightly darker shade than for the crease.

9. Line upper lid with a black liquid liner, do not extend past natural lashes. Remember the look was a thicker line in the center of the upper lid and stark.

10. Curl lashes and apply 2 coats mascara angling wand towards outer edge of eye to create more volume to outer lashes. “I love Maybelline’s Rocket Volume mascara in black.”

11. Finish with false lashes cut to 3/4 and place on outer edge of eyelid. Add more eyeliner if needed to hide eyelash seam. Ardell lashes in #747 or #110 are good ones.

Shirley MacLaine applying her own makeup on set of the film,
Shirley MacLaine applying her own makeup on set of the film, “Two Mules for Sister Sara.”


12. “The 1950’s Shirley was all about the red, as most were at that time.” Line lips first with a nude tone to have more control. is a good choice.

13. Next apply a true red tone, more orange than blue red. Apply using a lip brush for precision, red must be perfect! “Nars ‘Jungle Red’ is a great vintage look. It is matte and stays put. No messy or bleeding lipstick for Shirley or us!”


14. “MacLaines hair style is pretty simple. It has virtually not changed much since the 50’s.” To recreate simply cut or get a wig styled just to the bottom of ears. Hair is placed in a forward style, towards the face, bangs are cut slightly jagged and hit above the brows. Hair is worn wispy. Style wig or natural hair with a touch of mousse to damp hair, blow dry with natural bristle brush in a forward motion.

15. Finish with medium round brush to shape around face to frame. Add a bit of shine serum to finish & a light misting of hairspray to hold.

Like Shirley does, Rock it like a Redhead!