When thinking about the glamorous ladies of yesteryear, I always imagine them artfully applying cold cream whilst sitting at a vanity, or brushing their hair 100 times before bed. And I kind of love it. These beauty and grooming tips from the 1940s just scream luxury to me, and that's why I think we should bring them back.
That, and the fact they're pretty much the definition of self-care. Even if you barely have a spare moment in your day — which is so often the case these, isn't it? — there really is something to be said for sitting down each morning, and again each night, and spending a few moments taking care of yourself.
"These routines represent a much simpler and slower time," Annie Tevelin, professional makeup artist and founder of SkinOwl, tells Bustle. "In today's world, where things are moving so fast, I love the idea of sitting at my vanity and caring for my skin, chest, and hands."
It's also true that many old school beauty techniques work just as well today as they did seventy years ago. "Some beauty tips never go out of style," says beauty expert Jeanette Zinno. Below, find a few of the lovelier makeup and grooming tips from the 40s, that we should definitely still be doing today.
1. Applying Lipstick Before Leaving The House
Hey, if you want to go to the corner store covered in zit cream, do it. But I think we can all agree it feels good to "do yourself up" every once in a while, à la women of the 40s. As Zinno says, "My grandmother did not wear makeup around the house, [but when she went out] she always put on full color lipstick." And isn't there something so nice about that?
2. Brushing Your Hair 100 Times
Instead of shampooing regularly, many women in the 40s would brush their hair 100 times each night, all in the name of distributing its natural oils and making their strands shiny again. Perhaps a habit worth bringing back?
3. Setting Aside Time For Self-Care
If you rush out the door each morning without taking a moment to glance in a mirror, it might be time to tear a page from the 1940s self-care book and slow down. As celebrity makeup artist Ulla Gaudin says, "All and all, women took more time of their day to care for themselves." And that's something we need more of in life.
4. Sitting At A Vanity
If your apartment allows for it, go full 40s and set up a beauty vanity, where you can sit and take care of your skin, brush your hair, or simply smooth on some hand cream. As Tevelin says, "Every woman had a vanity, i.e. a dedicated area to check in with herself. I think there is a lot to take from this with regards to self-care and self-love."
5. Moisturizing With Cold Cream
Women sure did love their cold cream back in the day, and probably for good reason. "This traditional product has been popular for so long because it really works," Berenice S. Rothenberg, owner and esthetician of Berenice Electrolysis and Beauty Center, tells Bustle. "Use it as a cleanser, a deep-cleaning face mask, or mascara remover conditioner. It leaves skin soft and clean."
6. Using Baby Oil For Silky Skin
Zinno tells me her grandmother was a big fan of this cold cream trick, often applying the likes of Ponds or Oil of Olay to protect her skin. But she also moisturized with baby oil, too. "She used baby oil to moisturize her legs and she put it in the bath," Zinno says. "It's a great multi-use product and no toxins!" Sounds perfect for today, don't you think?
7. Remembering To Exfoliate
Ladies of the 1940s were big on exfoliation, often stooping over sinks and scrubbing their faces with wash cloths. And many had glowing skin, clean as a result. "There were no filters for your camera; your skin either looked good or it didn't," says Gaudin, who recommends exfoliating your skin one to three times a week. "Don't go overboard with this as it might cause more harm than good."
8. Sticking To A Strict Nighttime Routine
For those of us who fall into bed without doing a nighttime routine, let's make like a lady of the 40s and adopt one, ASAP. "Women wouldn't dare go to bed without taking off their makeup, applying simple moisturizers like cold cream, and moisturizing their hands to keep them soft," says Tevelin. It was a time in the evening to remove makeup, but also a time to wind down and get ready for sleep.
9. Keeping Eyebrows Thick And Natural
If there was one thing women weren't doing in the 40s, it was painstakingly plucking their brows. "By the 1940s, women were moving away from the over-plucked, skinny brow trend during the 1920s, and growing them out to achieve a more 'natural brow,'" says Chicago-based makeup artist Marissa Hohner, in an email to Bustle. If you aren't already on the thick brow train, it may be time to grow 'em out.
10. Setting Makeup With Pressed Powder
As Hohner tells me, makeup lovers would set their foundation with loose or pressed powder to ensure long-lasting coverage, which brings to mind the lovely old makeup compacts and powder puffs of days gone by. If there is anything more "40s" than that, please let me know.
11. Going For That Red Pout
While most makeup in the post World Was II era was kept very natural, they did love themselves a full, red lip. "It was usually in some shade of red, whether it was a true red, raspberry, apple, brick, or tomato," says makeup artist Jamie Dorman. And women applied the lipstick to create a pout, even if their lips weren't full naturally. So classy, don't you think?
12. Enjoying The Art Of Getting Ready
Whether it's for a big date, or just another day at work, we should occasionally make a big deal out of getting ready, just like women did so many years ago. "I think women really enjoyed the art of getting ready," Dorman says. "I think even if we just appreciated the ritual itself it would bring a lot of class and style to our whole day."
13. Splashing Your Face With Cold Water
Another trick from the 40s we need to bring back? Splashing the face with cold water. As skincare fan Annabelle Evans says, "Splashing your face with icy cold water (not just from the tap but with ice cubes) will minimize pores and add brightness to your face immediately. This trick was used by movie stars and is still used today to brighten up faces before a photo shoot."
14. Standing Up Straight
For those of us who don't have time to sit at a vanity, we can still bring some old school charm to our lives by remembering to stand up straight. As Zinno says, "Be presentable and take pride in your appearance. Even the simple things make a difference; i.e. have good posture, manicure your nails, brush your hair." Simple as that.
15. Ironing Your Clothes
OK, so not everybody will have the time or patience for this. But if haven't ever ironed your clothes, it may be worth a try. The process is slow, but oh so soothing. And if you haven't experienced a crisp, clean shirt, then you really haven't lived.
And that's the spirit of this, isn't it? Not so much rushing and going for every modern convenience, but instead taking the time to slow down and bring back some lovely traditions from the 40s. So sit down at your vanity, swipe on some cold cream, and enjoy the process.
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