Funny enough, many German magazines promoting beauty featured American film stars and American beauty products! The irony! One such American film starlet was Katherine Hepburn who was featured on the cover of Koralle in 1937 (pg, 105 in Nazi Chic?). Some American beauty products that were advertised included Ponds, Elizabeth Arden, and even Palmolive (pg. 105 in Nazi Chic?). I think this is really interesting but it shows that even German women were interested in American fashion trends and wanting to know ways to look their best (with German or American products!).
|A German Fashion Magazine from 1941. Note the rouged cheeks and lips. She is definitely wearing make up|
Aside from cosmetics, hair products deserve their own discussion. To achieve that blonde curled look that was so popular one could get that look in one of two ways - through nature or through synthetic means. As far as synthetic means so, many women flocked to salons to color their hair blonde and to get permanents to get that curly look. As the war continued, hair products dwindled and salons could no longer offer permanents (pg. 106 in Nazi Chic?). In fact permanents became forbidden but salons still remined open until " . . . the fourth year of the war . . . " as officials turned a blind eye allowing women of means to still get their beauty fix (pg. 106 - 107 in Nazi Chic?).
There is lots of documentation, primary and secondary, available proving that make up was advertised in Nazi Germany. As for its usage, the 1930s saw a great deal of it being sported by women of all kinds even though the regime pushed for it not to be worn (calling women who did use it impure and deceptive). When it comes to the war years its a different story but women either stopped wearing it or reduced its usage not because of ideology but because of the war draining it away as a necessary resource to continue fighting.
One question that I think stumps most of us is the question of who actually wore make up in the war years of WWII in Germany and how many?? How do we answer these questions? Where do we get our evidence to support our answers? With the information we have, how can be accurately represent the German woman in WWII?
I think to answer these questions it will require a lot more research such as looking at primary sources and case studies of average women (if that is who you want to represent). One primary source that I have is a collection of photos of German women and civilians in the form of two large photo albums. I love these examples to study from because these were real life women and people wearing real clothes, real hair styles and doing real things. Much better study material than fashion magazines filled with illustrations of the ideal (although these magazines are still great resources for fashion but I think that is a post for another day). These photos are of real women but sadly these images don't show real life color - real life color is not in black and white. . . These are . . . .Studying these images we cannot know if they are wearing make up - no matter how light or heavy it may be. Regardless of if they are wearing make up or not, I think these women are still so beautiful and are managing to make the best out of the worst. Although we cannot know what they are wearing on their face, we can see their hair.
|Here are some great examples of hair that is not curled, it is smooth but secured in a bun of some sort.|
|A close up. Here you can see another example of hair swept up and secured.|
As far a hair styling goes curled hair was the fashion norm in the 40s even in Nazi Germany. This I can prove with photographic evidence of real women and even in fashion magazines promoting it. In the 1930s hair dying to blonde and getting permanents was a normal scene but by the time we get into the war years that does change. Hair products with chemicals could no longer be used for the average household but now were shifted to sustain the war. Despite achieving curled hair through chemical means leaving the average fashion scene, women are still sporting curled hair. How can this be? Simple. There are lots of means of achieving curled hair with no chemicals such as pin curls and rag curls. Both of these methods can get a gal curly hair with ease if she is not naturally blessed with it. Wearing hair straight and plain was simply not seen (sorry!!) unless it was styled in an up do of some sort. . . . Basically I do not have now any evidence of plain straight hair being worn down in this period unless it was confined in braids or a plain bun. A pony tail? I have not seen any evidence of a pony tail in this period really being worn.
Cosmetics for face hair were advertised before and during the war to women and some women made use of these lovely luxuries if they had the means. For those who did not, they still managed to look their best using the methods that they could. Through out the photos that I have seen they are making some sort of effort. I find it so interesting that these women still appeared to have a desire to look decent and when crafting a period look for a German impression I think that is a point to be considered. Of course, your final impression will decide the details but as a whole care and consideration seems to be taken then as it should now.