Since the dawn of the modern cosmetics industry, makeup manufacturers have been selling systems that promised to fix your face in its entirety. But few modern brands are quite so thorough as the offerings of the 1930s that promised to guide you to the ideal face—though the power of science!

Hollywood played an important role in transforming makeup from the domain of scandalous 19th century actresses and courtesans to the mass-market staple of femininity it is today. Max Factor and the Westmore Brothers both parlayed their work in the movie industry into lines sold across America. We decided to try out the Westmores’ guide for everyday women who wanted to morph their faces into something more like perfection—the contouring or even the “Instagram face” of its day. Turns out pancake makeup makes you face feel like it’s going to crack and fall off in a million pieces, but it looks pretty good!

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Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

My grandma was born in the early 1910's, so all of this is what she grew up with. When I was a kid I remember her pointing out an actress who “drew a white line down her nose” to narrow it (grandma was way ahead of the game on contouring!). She also complimented my legs, and encouraged me to keep my full eyebrows (advice that, sadly, I went against in the 90's and rue to this day).

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