Pinup Girl Makeover

Writer Grace Gold, before and after her pinup girl makeover by celebrity makeup artist Tina Turnbow. Photos: Courtesy of Grace Gold | Tina Turnbow

It seems that once one crosses the threshold from girl to woman, more and more makeup rules begin to pile up, with litanies of dos and don'ts.

And you forget to have fun.

So when celebrity makeup artist and New York Times blogger Tina Turnbow offered to give me a pinup-inspired makeover, this beauty junkie's heart skipped a beat.

What woman hasn't been intrigued and inspired by those gorgeous pinups of golden days past? From the Betties (Grable and Page) to Jayne Mansfield and the forever iconic Marilyn Monroe, stars of that era embodied an inherent sense of glamour that went beyond mere physical beauty.

"To me, pinup beauty recalls a time when women made the most of their unique, feminine qualities, embracing them with a confidence that came from within," says Turnbow.

With New York's retro-inspired Nurse Bettie bar (where you can even catch a naughty live burlesque show) as our backdrop, Turnbow went to work creating two different looks on me: a brilliantly bold lip look, and a soft peach alternative.

But our goal was not to replicate the '50s pinup girl.

We wanted to incorporate some of the flirtatious charm into a modern look that you could play with for an exciting date, a night out with the girls, or to inject some refreshing variety into your daily routine.

And above all, we just wanted to have some fun.

"Pinup girls aren't afraid to flaunt, to be colorful, to be confident and fearless. They're adventurous and expressive. I love it because it's not cookie-cutter beauty, it's about enhancing your own special features into the most sensual version what they can be," says Turnbow.

Pinup Girl Makeover

Individual false eyelashes and indigo eyeliner are the secrets to Grace Gold's eye-catching pinup girl look. Photo: Tina Turnbow


Lashes, liner and brows are truly the domain of the pinup girl, as they add the open wide-eyed look that is the sweet-yet-sassy trademark of boudoir photos.

An emphasized arch is at the heart of the foundation, with a tail that doesn't end too far down, so that the outer lashes have room to flutter. Turnbow prefers a highlighting concealer on the brow bone instead of shimmer shadow which can look too obvious, with an illuminating cream smoothed over lids and blended over the tear ducts for a dewy look.

Liquid black winged liner is the classic look, though Turnbow says a more modern take is to use a fine splash of color. "They didn't have the variety of eyeliners we have today to choose from back then. I think all women can wear deep navy eyeliner, it brightens the whites of the eyes and enhances every eye color," advises Turnbow. We chose to rock a deep indigo blue-meets-purple shade.

While strip lashes were bulleted on like armour back in the day, the look is often too heavy and costumey for everyday. Instead, Turnbow used individual eyelashes to emphasize the outer part of the eye, gluing two to three sprigs at the lash line. "Individuals are fun to put on, but don't feel like you need them. You can just pump up your mascara in coats for the same effect," says Turnbow.

Finally, two little tricks made all the finishing difference. Turnbow dipped a stiff tiny brush into concealer, and then cleaned up the area of skin right under the wing of my eyeliner -- which made the angle pop like a firecracker. She then lined my lower rim with Three Custom Color Specialists Clarifier Pencil, which brightened my eyes like a 10 hour night's sleep. Wow!

Pinup Girl Makeover

Striking fuschia lips give this pinup girl makeover a modern touch. Photo: Tina Turnbow


One could hardly imagine Marilyn Monroe without her shock of red lipstick, nor today's resident Hollywood pinup, Dita Von Teese, without that trademark matte ruby lip that contrasts so boldly against her raven hair.

Yet Turnbow says it's more hip to try a shade other than red.

"They didn't change up the color palette back in those days. It was red lipstick, black eyeliner. But now we have all of these amazing lip colors that can give you the same sense of drama in an unexpected way," says Turnbow.

For our bold choice, we went with a striking fuschia, which we balanced with a softer eye and lighter blush.

And as an alternative look, we also experimented with a light peach, which mimicked the youthful hue seen in some cheeky pinups. Having never been able to pull off peach before on my very naturally pigmented lips, I took note when Turnbow mixed a bit of lip balm with concealer, to lay down a color-neutralizing base on my lips first. She allowed that to set while working on the rest of my face, and by the time we got back to the lip, the peach pigment adhered nearly true to color. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fresher it made me look.

Pinup Girl Makeover Tina Turnbow

Celebrity Makeup Artist Tina Turnbow gives writer Grace Gold a luminous glow. Photo: Tina Turnbow


Powder was like a religion to the pinup girl, who kept her complexion completely matte.

"I'm not so sure women these days want that, they don't want cakey and dead, it has to be more alive to be modern. Women these days are embracing the feel of the glow," says Turnbow.

We went for a decidedly luminous look, which I was shocked to see Turnbow pull off on my already oily and porous skin. Josie Maran's Argan Illuminizer was blended on the ridge of my cheekbones, onto my lids, over my tear ducts, and around my orbital bone. A smidge touched above the cupid's bow of my top left made for a sexy pout.

To cut shine that might cloy with the photos, only my T-zone was patted down with translucent powder.

For blush, we used a matching pretty peach shade for the peach lip, and blended it over the apples of the cheeks, both higher up and nearer to the center of the face than I've ever placed blush before. This makes it look like you're flushing -- which, let's just say, can happen in romantic situations.

The deeper lip called for a more traditional pink blush application with a much lighter hand, so as to balance out and not compete with the deeper saturation.

Pinup Girl Makeover

Modern pinup hair and peachy makeup. Photo: Tina Turnbow


Bless those beauties of yesteryear who slept in rollers, cans and whatever else they could find around the house to curl their hair. Pinup hair was exceptionally coiffed and set, in what could only be described as maniac methodical manner.

With the advent of our busier multi-tasking lifestyles, women simply don't have the time nor inclination for that anymore. Plus, hair stylist Frank Rizzieri tells me, it's dated looking.

"To modernize pinup hair, you still want volume and teasing at the crown. But not too much. Just enough to give you volume, while still preserving movement in the hair," says Rizzieri.

"You need a good round brush and old school blow dry, and a nice-sized curling iron to speed things up. A product like Oribe Dry Texture Spray is great for giving you volume that you can more easily mold into styles," adds Rizzieri.

Two other essentials? A smooth finish and a flirtatious bounce. It must look touchable.

Turnbow put down her makeup brush and picked Rsession Tools Pin-Up Girl Kit, and went to work expertly teasing my crown with the comb, and then sweeping my locks into a wrapped ponytail that was held in place with the help of baby bobby pins found in the kit. "My father was a hair stylist," she said, as I watched in amazement.

The front section was left out until the pony was completed, and then teased, smoothed and pinned into a classy front bouffant that was reminiscent of '40s glamour.

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