I've always had a deep interest in vintage beauty products. It's partially the fact that I'm a beauty editor, but it's likely also due to the charm and mystique surrounding retro Hollywood icons. (After all, who is Marilyn Monroe without her signature red lip?) Formulas like cake mascara and cream blush have long, fabled histories, and now, thanks to the glory that is YouTube, I know all about how pressed powder was made back in the 1950s.
The video above demonstrates how employees of Charles of the Ritz — a now-discontinued brand that was once owned by Revlon — mixed up various pigments to create a custom powder shade for their clients. You'll definitely learn something from the brief clip, but I advise that you ignore the heartily sexist narration as you watch ("From tram lines to lines women at least are more concerned about, the lines on their faces . . . " Really, dude?).
As the brand representative mixes shades of green, crimson, and lilac to create a soft beige, it's clear that she has an excellent eye for colour . . . and that colour correcting is a technique that has been utilised for decades. After all, blending those hues not only results in a flattering skin-tone tint but also works to even out the wearer's complexion. (Green cancels out redness, lilac negates sallow skin, and red adds life into a dull face.)
If you're dying to get your hands on a bespoke pressed powder of your own after viewing the above video, know that Three Custom Colour, a brand known for whipping up custom cosmetics, can do this for you. Or you can actually snag one of Charles of the Ritz's Loose Powders (£10) online.