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The Vintage Guide To London | January 19, 2018

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Make up for your vintage alter-ego: Illamasqua vintage make-up course review

Make up for your vintage alter-ego: Illamasqua vintage make-up course review

Let’s face it, no vintage vixen is complete with out a full face of retro inspired slap.  Sophie Ronald headed to flamboyant make up company Illamasqua to learn the ins and outs of vintage make up artistry.

I went in to the course thinking that I would predominantly be learning how to master Fifties Hollywood glamour with a bold red lip and winged eyeliner, a look that I have fast become addicted to since I first read my Nanna’a Hollywood annuals from back in the day. However I was blown away by the course providing much much more, with a comprehensive overview of make up from the Twenties to the swinging Sixties – well we are a stones throw form Carnaby Street!

At £375 this two day make-up course ‘Building Creativity-Vintage Glamour’ at their Beak Street store is pricey but you do get a lot of tuition and a £98.50 gift set including brushes, lipstick, mascara and eyeliner as well as 20% of purchases on the days.

Day 1 began with a how-to on Twenties/Thirties Silent Movie style with round owl-like eyes and a cupid bow lip, us course attendees got to practise on each other and learnt the subtle difference between the Twenties and the Thirties:  its all about the matteness of the skin and the straightness of the brows dontcha know. We then got to try this look with an Illamasqua twist. As the company is famed for their over-the-top style and alter ego transformations, this was a great opportunity to modernise, embolden or add more colours to the classic prohibition era style. With the popularity of dark cherry toned lips growing, I was pleased to learn the authentic application and what to team it with. This is definitely one for flapper fashion fiends.

Following a great first day, that of course went too quickly for my liking, I trotted home to practise through the night and prep for Day 2. When myself and my course buddies arrived Illamasqua was in the middle of changing their window display for their new Toxic Nature collection, it was like stepping into a luxurious make-upy swamp…until we went back into our classroom which is decked out with light up mirrors and images of Fifties and Sixties icons.

That’s right Day two was all about Forties/Fifties and Sixties. We started of with a how-to on Forties skin (dewy), brows (arched) and lips (with shoulder pads?!) and then set about stepping it up a notch and turning it into a Fifties face with matter skin and oodles of black eyeliner. Our lovely teacher Claire showed us how to use Illamasqua’s ‘skin sketching’ technique (of drawing on to the face with a pale eye pencil first) to achieve the perfect flick on your eyeliner that matches both sides.

In the afternoon we jetted of to the Sixties and worked on a cut-lid look, which was the trickiest to date. It involved so much precision and blending but was a great opportunity to go a bit bolder and a little more daring. I tried (tried being the operative word) to create a Barbarella-inspired eye in mint green with feline flick and drawn on eyelashes, complete with nude lip for a ‘This was the future then’ style. I must admit at this point that I had to quell a small hissy fit when it didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped, however when I stood back it was certainly along the right line and looked great on camera.

By the end of the course I felt like an intrepid time traveller catapulting through the 1900s to learn tricks of 100 years, discover colour and best of all improve my personal skills, I would definitely recommend this two day course to any vintage enthusiast looking to expand their personal style into other era’s or all glamour girls wanting to learn how to create the perfect retro face fit for London’s fashion forward reputation. This course was perfect for all levels of skill, thorough, comprehensive, a lot of fun and it will leave you looking at vintage images with a whole new respect for the time those ladies put in to looking so great!

Head over to to check out the fruits of my labour and to book your spot on the next course.


  1. Wow Sophie, this sounds amazing and you look incredible. I don’t have the budget unfortunately but absolutely love the idea.