As both a fan of Elvis and a lover of all things glittery, glossy, sparkly, shiny, creamy, cakey and powdery (you know, MAKEUP), I suppose it’s only natural that some of my absolute favorite looks of the 1960s would belong to the lovely Priscilla Presley.
You can’t be a gal who likes Elvis without noticing Priscilla and her amazing makeup and hair. Sure, her looks were sometimes a little over-the-top, but that’s precisely what made them so fantastic!
So here--with the help of my good friend, neighbor and hairstylist, Summer Thomas-Lytle--is my interpretation of her wedding-day look, in a wearable version that is (hopefully) easy for most folks to do at home themselves.
Let’s start with the makeup.
Apply your foundation to create a clean, blank canvas. I used Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, which is a lightweight liquid foundation I love for everyday, but you can probably get away with something a little heavier or full-coverage for a dramatic look such as this one.
I like to blend some on my upper lids and under my eyes to create an even base for my eye makeup (some people like to use eyeshadow base instead; it’s really just a matter of preference).
Brows, brows, brows! ‘Cilla was not afraid to go for the thick, dark, overdone brow of the era. I used MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack and a small angled brush to achieve this look.
I also swirled the brush around in some brown matte-finish pressed shadow and smoothed that into my brows as well. If you don’t have a natural arch to your brows, this technique will allow more opportunity to create one by bringing down the natural lower edges of your inner brow line with the product as well as extending the arch area up a little higher than your natural brow line in the same manner.
The thickness of this look will allow for you to fudge the shape to your liking. Be sure to fill evenly and check for symmetry!
LINER, PART I
Next, you’ll want to grab a black liquid eyeliner and draw an angled line beginning from about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch away from the inner corner of the eye (starting near the nose) along the lash line all the way out to beyond the outer corner of the eye. The end of the line should flip up into a wing.
Don’t be afraid to exaggerate the length or thicken the width of this line!
A highly-pigmented, opaque, matte-finish white shadow is what you’ll need for this next step. I used MAC Eye Shadow in Gesso and applied it generously to my brow bones as a not-so-subtle highlight, then brought it down to about the crease.
What Priscilla applied to her lids is a mystery to me, but I went with a shiny (not glittery) tan pigment on the lids and a slightly shimmery golden-white shadow in the crease to join the white and tan.
LINER, PART 2
Lining the bottom lash line is the next step. In this particular look, the lower black line doesn’t join with the top wing--it flings off on its own.
Grab your trusty liquid eyeliner and, beginning slightly back off the corner of your eye so there’s a gap, begin your line. Extend it out beyond the outer corner of your eye and bend the curve of the line slightly downward as you do so.
As for the waterline, there’s a classic 1960s white line breaking up all the black to widen the look of the eye. Take an opaque white eye pencil and, making sure the waterline is dry, line it.
I won’t lie: I do not have all that much experience with false eyelashes. Sure, there are lots of self-adhesive sets for sale at Target, but gals like me with a latex allergy will find they can’t use many of those gorgeous and convenient no-glue-needed varieties (bummer).
Revlon makes a latex-free eyelash glue that can be brushed on any old pair of falsies, so that’s what I did.
I curled my natural lashes slightly, threw on a single coat of mascara (top and bottom) then applied the false lashes as close to my upper lash line as possible. After they were dry I made a few more passes with the mascara to blend natural and false, and beef it all up a bit. I also added a bit more liquid liner around the top and outer edges of the false lashes.
Feel free to exaggerate the line weights, amount of black liner or mascara we’re using here. These are the basics, and when doing a '60s look going off the deep end a little is perfectly alright.
LIPS & CHEEKS
If your pink isn’t pale enough you can pat some opaque white shadow over your lipstick once applied and gently blend until you get a shade you like.
I then blended a warm dusty-pink blush on my cheekbones and used my Chanel loose powder to top it off. If you are going for a loose powder, try to steer clear of all that gorgeous eye makeup!
Now for the hair! I’ll relay the step-by-step process as it was told (and done) to me by the wonderful and talented Summer.
We started with dry hair. If you want to start from wet hair, use mousse or a root-booster and work into the crown area and wherever you want lift. Then blow dry using a round brush.
Get your hot rollers ready! I have the jumbo ones--I think those work well for this type of thing.
Section the hair into three main sections: one from the forehead straight back down the middle and one on each side. Roll three or four big rollers into the center section, starting at the forehead. The hair should be rolled over and back (away from the face) onto these rollers in a stacked pattern. Over-direct the one at the forehead, leaning it a bit toward the front while rolling to help exaggerate the lift.
When those are done, place two rollers on each side section (one beside the other) and once again roll the hair over in the same manner (easy, right?). Give these an opportunity to cool (we waited 20 minutes).
Remove the rollers. Pull each small rolled section forward and lightly tease the layers underneath toward the roots with a teasing comb. Lightly mist hairspray onto the teased sections as you go.
Use the metal prongs at the end of the comb to smooth the top layer of hair over the teased structural layers underneath. This style can be made as high or crazy as you want.
You may have to play with this a bit to get it right, and for those of you who have bangs (like me), the smoothing process can be a bit tricky.
Spray over the whole top to lock it down.
Use a one-inch curling iron to curl up the ends of the hair. Do this in sections all the way around.
And there you have it: a relatively simple way to steal Mrs. Presley’s wedding look.
As soon as we finished putting this together, I felt so spiffy that I immediately began hounding my husband to take me out on the town.
Let me know if you give it a try! Post pictures!