'20s-Era “Jazz Bar” Beauty Is Having A Major Moment Right Now

The new take on flapper era beauty has some extra edge.

by Calin Van Paris
Jazz Age beauty is having a major moment right now.

We’re four years into the new ’20s, and the prototypal jazz-age aesthetic is finally making a comeback — reimagined, of course.

The burgeoning trend has infused recent runways with the spirit of old-school, irreverent allure. Feathers, fringe, and fluid flounce brought a 1920s feel to Ferragamo’s fall 2024 collection, with creative director Maximilian Davis calling the decade’s fashion a celebration of freedom. Thin brows — finished in florals — were spotted at Simone Rocha, while Marni’s runway featured bleached brows replaced by arched, penciled delineations.

Add to that the heavy-handed vamp noir lips featured at Valentino’s spring 2024 couture show, and it’s safe to say that the 1920s detailing is back in a big way. (Even makeup artist Pat McGrath’s viral doll-like makeup for Margiela’s spring 2024 couture showed a nod to the period.)

A look back reveals an era worthy of a revamped reboot, a collective want of intimate, dimly-lit establishments (or at least the accompanying feel) supplemented by the beauty looks to match.

The Jazz Age Beauty Aesthetic

Thin, rose-adorned brows at Simone Rocha.Getty Images/Tristan Fewings / Stringer

“When I think of Jazz Age beauty, the words opulent, daring, and seductive immediately come to mind,” says makeup artist Benjamin Puckey, citing Clara Bow and Josephine Baker as the epitome of this glamorous aesthetic. “Think bold matte lips, meticulously penciled brows angled slightly downwards towards the ends to create a melancholic allure, and cheek flushed with rosy hues of red and pink.”

Pencil-thin arches at Marni.Getty Images/Victor VIRGILE / Contributor

For makeup artist Donni Davy, the new Jazz Age comes with all of the original inspiration, plus an edge. “I think of being a creature of the night, dancing, getting messy, being fancy, and other hedonistic things,” she says of an updated jazz bar vibe. These descriptors are best embodied with the help of a smudged noir lip and an ample application of glitter.

“The 1920s look was more about a hard lip line, but a diffused dark lip would be a gorgeous way to modernize the look,” says Davy. “I would also definitely top off a black smudgy smoked-out eye with glitter,” she says, her own Half Magic Glitterpill Eye Paint and Eyeliner providing a worthy option. “Glitter sparkling in a low-light Jazz Age aesthetic is basically what glitter is made for in my opinion.”

Jazz Age eye makeup in Taylor Swift's "Bejeweled" music video, as created by Pat McGrath.YouTube/@TaylorSwift

Taylor Swift’s “Bejeweled” music video featured an aspirational interpretation of this sort of scintillation, a look for which McGrath created 30 gem-encrusted eye moments. “We tried every color and shade of crystal, different wing shapes, various ombré gradations, and all sorts of eyeshadows from my classic Mothership Eye Palettes,” says McGrath. The result is a rich source of inspo perfect to help in honing your own 2020s look, whether you favor onyx cat eyes touched in clear crystals or eye-encasing collections of colorful jewels.

Pat McGrath's ethereal doll makeup from the Maison Margiela Couture show.Instagram/@patmcgrathreal

If glitter isn’t your thing, metallics offer a similar effect. Puckey suggests incorporating gold and silver into your eye makeup approach, topping shadows with eye gloss for extra radiance, and finishing with a spidery lash. “Another idea could be experimenting with colors like emerald green and navy blue to create striking eye looks that evoke the opulence of the Jazz Age,” he says.

One pro tip he offers? A heavy application of kohl liner should supplement any shadows, and be pulled and smudged across the lash and waterlines. Along with lip liner and vampy shades (high-gloss, matte, and shimmer finishes are all welcome), highlighting the cupid’s bow lends to a vintage feel, as does a saturated swirl of blush.

1920s-Era Hair

Luar.Getty Images/Albert Urso / Stringer

Jazz bar beauty extends to hair, too. “An aspect of vintage jazz hair that’s due for revival is a sculpted updo that incorporates wet set type of techniques — it’s one of my favorites,” says hairstylist Evanie Frausto, who considered the era when creating the parade of spit curls and gelled adornments for Luar’s Spring 2024 show.

“I also just really love a very sculpted, small snatched-back updo,” says Frausto, who reaches for Bumble and Bumble’s Bb Gel for such a slicked and sleek moment.

The ’20s Renaissance

Above all, vintage jazz beauty should feel opulent, stylized, and extra. From jewel tones to literal jewels, wet-look lengths to complexion-plastered curls, incorporating 1920s notes into 2020s looks is all about channeling irreverent allure in accessible ways, a feat as a simple swipe of shimmer. Consider even the most minute reference as a visual means of escapism — another hallmark of the original era. As Puckey says: “Jazz Age beauty is like a playful getaway.”