Get the Look! Mad Men Makeup

We all love the Mad Men Makeup looks from the 50s and 60s. The makeup artist from the show explains how to get them

By Chere Di Boscio

Who doesn’t love a 50’s makeup look? It has become something of a classic.

Deep red lips, full brows and cat eye flicks define the era, and no one knows how to do those better than Lana Horochowski, the Lead Makeup Artist on AMC’s hit TV show, Mad Men.

Here, in this short interview with Beauty Press, Lana tells us a bit about what it’s like creating vintage makeup looks for the show. And if you want to recreate those looks for yourself, Eluxe’s Makeup Consultant Cara Silverman tells you how to get Mad Men Makeup styles at home – organically, of course! 

Mad Men Makeup

What kind of research did you do to get inspired to create 1960’s looks?

Oh! We ordered so many fashion and vintage magazines. Like when we had to prepare looks from 1968, I ordered the entire year of 1968 Vogue magazines. I would observe the cosmetic advertisements in the magazines those are the most telling of how women were wearing makeup at that time.

The characters have changed a lot over the course of the series. Where does Peggy’s cosmetic transformation come from?

Peggy comes from a religious family, and she moved up in a man’s world really quickly. Peggy never learned how to put makeup on so she’s learning. That’s why her makeup always looks a bit off. Like, when I saw an advertisement from the time era for this makeup palette with various different colours I thought Peggy would totally use all of these colours at once trying to look the best she can.

Mad Men Makeup

How long does it take to apply the makeup on set before shooting?  

For the girls, they’re usually done in an hour and a half to two hours. The guys are fast, 45 minutes and they are ready.

What’s your favourite makeup look from the 1950’s?

There’s nothing more perfect than a matte red lip with a full brow. So clean, simple, and timeless.

What’s most challenging about doing makeup on Mad Men?

Most challenging is the process of finding modern day cosmetics in vintage colors, and, just as importantly, textures that will be believable for our Mad Men world. There are so many colors used then that are so rarely used now. And, even if we find something in the perfect shade, it may be the wrong texture. So often, great colors wind up being too shimmery. Shimmer didn’t even exist in ’60s makeup. But that’s what makes it fun. We work very hard to ensure that the makeup is true to the period.


Finally: Can you explain what’s going on with Pete’s receding hairline?

Pete gets shaved every day, sometimes a couple times a day. Then we paint out the shadow that is still left on the head. His head gets shaved with an actual blade to get a really close shave. Whenever it’s time to shave Pete’s head we yell “SHAVING!” and everyone just clenches tight until we’re done. It takes around 40 minutes to get Pete’s shaved head perfect.


Mad Men Makeup


To achieve a bold, natural red lip, makeup artist Cara Silverman recommends KVD Vegan Beauty’s Red Lip Stain. which is a natural lip product that has been clinically proven to increase lips’ moisture content dramatically.
If you prefer a satin finish on your lips, Cara suggests using butter London’s Plus Rush range, which carries a few varieties of red. There’s bound to be one of these vegan-friendly hues that suits your skin tone perfectly!

Skin tone

For the flawless, naturally pale skin that was popular at the time, you will need a good foundation. Cara recommends Bare Minerals Loose Foundation to have a natural, fresh glow all day and night long.

This 100% natural brightening mineral foundation is a talc-free, loose powder contains an SPF of 15 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Its texture allows skin to breathe, and its healing formula helps to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles while repairing uneven skin tone.


A true, late 50’s look needs a nice, strong brow, and to define the arch and  darken brows a bit, Cara recommends using the MAC Eyebrow Styler. This vegan-friendly pencil is a super-slim brow pencil that glides on smoothly and will last all day thanks to a patented plant-based wax system infused with natural mineral pigments.

Unlike thick wooden pencils that tug and look unnatural, this awesome pencil is four times smaller, so it perfectly mimics actual brow hair for a more natural effect. This dual-ended pencil also features a precision brush to help groom and tame unruly hairs into place.



Of course, thick false eyelashes were a mainstay in the late 60s, as shown by Mad Men’s Megan, but you can just about achieve the look through makeup with  INIKA’s Long Lash Vegan Mascara.

This is an amped up, ultra black mascara that lengthens, curls and magnifies lashes for an intensified look, while instantly increasing lash volume. This long-wearing, vitamin-infused formula emphasises length and volume while conditioning lashes for a dramatic look that won’t dry out, flake, or budge.



Finally, to mimic the Mad Men cast’s very coiffed hairstyles, a good hairspray is needed, but finding an eco-friendly, high-quality spray can be a challenge. Cara strongly recommends Pureology Fanatic Hairspray.

This is made with sustainable ingredients, such as a unique AntiFadeComplex with antioxidant fennel extract, which protect your hair from environmental aggressors. The product does not contain sodium chloride, gluten, TEA, or phthalates. It’s a weightless, ultra-dry, humidity-resistant hairspray that also uses vegetable-based protein Keravis™ to strengthen hair.

All Mad Men images courtesy AMC. Final two images courtesy Beauty Press

Chere Di Boscio
Latest posts by Chere Di Boscio (see all)
Follow by Email

1 thought on “Get the Look! Mad Men Makeup”

  1. Not only is it great to learn about natural and Eco-friendly beauty products, but it is also great to learn about the intricate process and details concerning make-up. People think hair and make-up for TV, film or similar media is easy, but there is a lot of research and thought behind the final result.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow by Email
Scroll to Top