What’s in a Cartoon Girl’s Makeup Bag?

Sorry for that brief delay, a friend was coming to visit and I didn’t have anywhere near enough posts queued up. Onward! The original title was “The Disconnect Between Beautiful Cartoon Girl’s Makeup and a Beautiful Star’s Makeup”, but decided that this title was a little easier to swallow.

I actually draw quite a bit, although not as much as I should nowadays, and I have animated short scenes (nothing fancy). As it is, I have a great interest in cartoons, how they’re timed, set, written, animated. The old cartoons are my favourites to study, and Looney Tunes in particular.

What I find really entertaining is cute cartoon girls. I really like them. The classics like Red and Betty Boop and the more modern Jessica Rabbit and Holly Would alike. What humours me is how most of their makeup would be considered tacky! Let’s look at some cute cartoon girls and see what they keep in their purses.

Disclaimer: I’m entirely aware that these are drawn by people, thousands of times, and thus the designs need to be kept simple! Nobody has time to draw 50 lashes moving smoothly thousands of times, but this post is meant to be a bit cheeky, so take it as such.

Betty Boop


As pre-Hays code Betty is my favourite, let’s go with the original girl, back when she still had dog ears and nose. Can you tell she was made just after the flapper craze? Boop’s makeup is minimal, to the relief of the animators, and reflects a lot of what was popular at the time. Mascara on the upper and lower lashes was quite popular in the ’30s, especially the early ’30s, and she has the signature cupie doll lips of the ’20s. (In the ’30s, they often opted for making them look slimmer and more elegant) No blush, no heavy eyeliner, no eyeshadow. Just the basics. Those eyebrows do look drawn on, though, in more ways than one, so I think it’s safe to say that Boop would carry around a cherry lipstick, lengthening and defining mascara, and a sharp black eyebrow/eyeliner.

Snow White


While a Disney Princess and therefore not as much of a “cute girl” as the others, Snow White has a special place in my heart (while not my favourite Disney movie, Snow White is one of my very favourite princesses – Mulan and Tiana are just in front of her). It helps that she’s absolutely adorable, and a pretty clear picture of what makeup in the ’30s was often like. Her upper lashes are thick with mascara, but her lower ones are bare. She has a taupe eyeshadow on, and I suspect her eyebrows are meant to look plucked, rather than drawn (a bit more innocent of a style). Her blush is a bit of a pinkish peach, and her lips are of a pinky red hue that was quite fashionable at the time. Snow White also shares a common strife with us that most cute cartoon girls don’t: her makeup is totally natural. Her lips and cheeks were born that rosy, her eyelashes that dark, and her complexion that even. Totally! I’m not one for normally giving up another pal’s secrets, but considering this was around 80 years ago, I think she’ll understand.

Let’s say the cartoon gals already have perfect skin and don’t need foundation or concealer. I’d say that for Snow White, she’s stashing a trendy red tube of lipstick (these were still often cherry scented at the time), a good cheek stain, a taupe powder eyeshadow, and a thick, clumping, volumizing mascara. Snow needs to upgrade her mascara, only three or four lashes are ever separate!



Tex Avery’s gal, Red Hot Riding Hood, or just plain Red, is not limited to one outfit like most cartoon girls! She starred in a number of Tex’s shorts, each one following the same sort of plot with the same sort of gags, but she kicked it up a notch by being in a different fashionable attire each time. And check out her cute figure. Red is the cute cartoon girl. Her makeup wasn’t completely limited, either; she seemed to change her blushes around. While she always stuck with the same black eyeliner, blue eyeshadow, and clumpy mascara, sometimes her lipstick would look a bit more orange or a bit more pink, and sometimes her blush would be a subtle peach or a cute pink. Red had style, and knew that keeping an easily recognizable look would be beneficial as an entertainer, but also realizing that keeping things the exact same would get boring!

I suspect Red kept a well-loved tin of baby blue powder eyeshadow with her at all times, a compact with powder to keep herself from looking too sweaty between all that running, a pot of black eyeliner, and one heck of a clumpy black mascara. She might have been ahead of the ball game and used that “apply baby powder to lashes before applying mascara” trick… several times, every day. We will forgive her eyelash error, because they do frame her eyes beautifully. In addition, she probably kept a few tubes of the latest colours of lipstick in her purse (this was around the WWII era, and as an entertainer, she especially had to keep up the morale of our country, and indulged in several tubes), as well as maybe a cheek stain and two cream blush sticks.

Bugs Bunny
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Oh come on. Anyone worth their salt knows Bugs deserves a place on this list; with all his gorgeous and flirty ensembles, Bugs is an honorary cute cartoon girl. What’s more, Bugs isn’t confined to just one cute girl look. The rabbit has style, and changes his more often than he changes rivals. As for his makeup, though, he often keeps it simple, because who has time for full face makeup when you’ve got at least twelve more tricks to pull before the episode ends? Bugs seems to believe pretty strongly in the “eyes or lips” mindset of makeup, with some exceptions, mostly keeping it to red lipstick and mascara or a strong eye colour and no lipstick. Occasionally, we will see Bugs with a shimmery eyeshadow, red lip, and mascara, but he normally keeps it simple. That said, he probably keeps a red tube of lipstick, a full eyeshadow palette, and an ultra lengthening mascara around.

Slue-Foot Sue


I feel like Sue deserves a place on this list. Sure, she only got one cartoon, but it’s hard to not love cowgirls. Her makeup is simple: loads of powder (as they even show in the cartoon), a dulled brown cream eyeshadow, and a red lipstick. Clearly it’s all waterproof, what with the catfish. I wonder where she buys her waterproof powder? Maybe that’s why she’s reapplying it all the time.

Betty & Veronica

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Betty and Veronica have been a part of most of our childhoods, I think. Even MAC released a collection about them! Personally, I think MAC’s collection is much more spot on than the original artists were, for both girls are always drawn with either black/red lips or bubblegum pink lips, and the same heavy black mascara. (Personally, I’m distracted by how much prettier Betty and Veronica are in the first picture, and how well drawn it is in general – not even going into the superior perspective and more dynamic angle, look at how tiny Ronnie’s head is in the newer picture! I’d be looking at her funny too, Betty) That being said, both girls seem light on the blush, if they use it at all, although some of the ’50s comics has them using it pretty heavily. A voluminous mascara for both and a tube of red or pink; I think we both know Ronnie buys high end and Betty buys drugstore, though!

Jessica Rabbit

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I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t know Jessica Rabbit. Roger Rabbit’s wife, Jessica is a voluptuous bombshell with a highly seductive singing career. While her ideal build is what most people remember her for, let’s not forget what’s going on above shoulder level! It’s not hard to guess that she was inspired by Rita Hayworth, and even good ol’ Red up there. In the makeup department, I’d say she takes after Red a bit more, as let’s be honest: a satiny pastel purple eyeshadow and a tomato red lip with red hair, green eyes, and pale skin isn’t exactly the most sophisticated look in the world. I’m not saying it’s a bad look, and it can look gorgeous… but I think it’s a bit easier for ‘toons to pull off than real people. Jessica clearly stores her makeup in her cleavage (along with the booby trap), and it’s just as well, as she only carries two products – maybe three with a natural looking mascara. Anyone else getting an Urban Decay vibe from her eyeshadow, though?

Holly Would


Holly definitely isn’t for kids, but I can’t deny her cute cartoon girl status. She’s another gorgeous babe sporting some arguably tacky makeup, but in this case, it can be excused a little: it was ’92. Chick wasn’t letting go of the ’80s easily, that’s for sure. If you sported platinum blonde hair, pale skin, and deep blue eyes, you might not rock cobalt eyeshadow and coral-pink lips unless you’re trying to evoke some serious late ’60s vibes, but that doesn’t stop Holly. As a matter of fact, nothing stops Holly. So we can praise her bold makeup sense as we peek into her purse and see a matte blue-aster-flower eyeshadow, a well loved nudey coral lipstick, a subtle “natural lash” mascara, and probably some sort of homemade setting spray, because her makeup has some serious lasting power, yo.

Hello Nurse


Hello Nurse is like Red in that she doesn’t have a real name, and instead has to settle with being forever known as an old vaudevillian catcall that the show refers to her as. To be honest, I haven’t seen an episode of Animaniacs since I was a wee lass, but I’ve still managed to see Hello Nurse everywhere. Her makeup is almost identical to Mrs. Rabbit’s, albeit darker, with true purple eyeshadow and deep red lipstick. These modern cute cartoon girls seem to sport only purple or blue eyeshadow and red or pink lips and nothing else! Whatever happened to blush, mascara… or brown eyeshadow? I’d say animators did away with the first two, and the ’90s have left us never wanting to see brown eyeshadow, even during the ’90s.

There are plenty of cute cartoon girls out there, and they may range from one-off objects of lust from ’40s shorts to even the gorgeous wife character like Lois Griffin and Betty Rubble (always better than Wilma!). Let it be known that I didn’t forget about them, I just picked the characters that most closely fit the “cute cartoon girl” image. That being said, if you think there was a main one I forgot, lemme know! I love collecting them.

So, if you were a cartoon girl, what would be in your makeup bag? Would you ever wear what these ladies are wearing, and just that? Or should cartoon girl makeup be left to the toons?


12 thoughts on “What’s in a Cartoon Girl’s Makeup Bag?

  1. Yay! You’re back! I hope you had a good visit with your friend 🙂

    This is such a cool idea for a post, I think this makes it into my list of favorites for sure.
    I forgot that Betty Boop started out looking so different from how she ended up. I love how she always looked made up even in black and white.
    I’m just over the moon about how much thought went into this. Ronnie is definitely a high end girl and Jessica definitely digs urban decay. 🙂
    If I was a cartoon girl, I would use the Miss Manga mascara that gives you only six giant eyelashes. I also liked the gals with the circle of blush so definitely some cream blush and definitely a dark red lip and a gold mirror compact for powder.
    I actually tried the whole Pale blue eyeshadow with a brighter lip thing the other day and it was so awful in real life. It was just so incredibly jarring. That being said, I think the ability to pull off cartoon girl makeup might also depend on the size and balance of your features.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure did! =) He’s actually planning on moving to the city nearby, so that’ll be fun.

      Oh wow, thank you so much! I almost didn’t write it because I didn’t think anyone would want to read it, haha. I probably spent too much time thinking about it!

      Oh yeah, I loved original Betty Boop the most. The lineart was out of this world, and they had a lot of fun making her look goofy yet cute. I actually appreciate how made up she looked, it really reflected the morals of the time: it was only starting from the ’20s that blatantly wearing makeup became acceptable, and women in the ’30s were trying to emulate movie stars, so it became a part of everyday life!

      Sounds like a righteous style, man. That would be fun to draw for sure! Now I’m tempted to actually animate that. 😛

      I definitely agree, and that’s a good way of wording it. It’s not impossible to pull off, but it is pretty hard! And certain makeup styles are definitely more suited to certain looks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t it weird to think about how drastically fashion, makeup and what was acceptable in general, changed between the early 1900’s and the 1920’s? To go from Edwardian style’s to flappers is an enormous change in a very short time frame. How cool would it have been to witness that? How cool would it have been to be the first people to HAVE movie stars to emulate? It’s kind of mind boggling really.

        Dude! You should definitely animate that style! That would be fantastic! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree, and I think about it often. =) The severe moral difference between mother and daughter would be an interesting flipped version of more modern family conflicts!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I really adore Cartoon Girls especially the one’s that I grew up to (special mention to Jessica & Betty)
    This is just opinion but I noticed that every cartoon girl have the same voluptious figure which for me is realistic. I totally agree with you about it reflected the morals of the time.
    Moving on, the make up that would be on my bag is LA Splash Lip Couture Poison Apple as a tribute to Jessica and me being a lover of Red lippies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh definitely, cartoon girls all have a variant on the hourglass figure, except for Betty, Snow White, and a little bit of Red. Betty is pear shaped, Snow is pretty realistic, and Red has a bit plumper of features – aside from the waist.
      Sounds beautiful! =) Red lipstick is a classic I think everyone can pull off, toon or real.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my, I was dying when I saw you included Bugs! He probably has some falsies stashed in his makeup bag, too. 😀

    I enjoyed reading this so much! Hope you’ll do another installation. So many characters to go through!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true! I almost wanted to include alsies. Maybe Bugs just has naturally luscious lashes and the animators only decide to include them when he applies mascara! ;P
      I love doing posts like this, but I’m never sure i anyone would like reading them, so thanks so much! It was great to hear that. =) So true, too many characters… I could probably spend a week on the one-shot generic babes o the ’40s and ’50s cartoons.


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