I went to the National Library today to do some research.
And became easily distracted as I'm want to do. By something totally unrelated to the reason I went there in the first place. Ah well!
I happened to pick up a copy of the Australian Women's Weekly magazine published in 1933 and was mesmerised by the life of women 76 years ago. How glamourous it seemed. The magazine only cost 2 pence (for 44 pages) which is hard to imagine today. What value for money it was.
Some of the magazine's beauty tips are also hard to imagine using today. However, given it was published in the middle of the Depression, I thought I'd share some of them with you as they may come in handy in these uncertain economic times (or if you, like me, just like to live a little dangerously).
The Right Exercises for Health and Beauty
With beauty culture at its present high standard, the woman of today is inclined to give precedence to facial cosmetics - those items that appeal most to her sex. There is charm in colors and tints, but too many women impart a radiance to cheeks and lips, then powder, and admire the mirrored reflection, with no real thought of profile or figure.
Remember that physical perfection and facial beauty go hand in hand; there must be harmony in either case, whether natural or acquired (plastic surgery is ok then!). Without physical culture or exercise of some kind, no woman can expect to retain a pleasing symmetry of form. The body beautiful then becomes an attainable ideal.
Here is the picture accompanying this article (apologies for the quality). It's what people used to do before there were gyms. Go on, take the track suit off and go get your ballet costume on. Invite your friends over and play Thumbelina in your garden posing around the nearest tree (yes, pole dancing has been around forever clearly but I'm not sure if the one lying on the grass has expired or is elegantly resting). Remember, a pleasing symmetry of form is your goal.... (meaning a hot body ladies.....tempting isn't it? They did show images of actual exercises but hell we would be here all night....)
Sure way of removing superfluous hair
This preparation is wonderful in its action, destroying hairs completely in a few moments. Many women have merely a down on the face and arms and imagine they do not need hair remover. They hardly realise what a wonderful difference there would be in their appearance if this down, even light as it may be, were removed. Get at any good chemist a packet of pure powdered pheminol (this is probably now used to make nuclear bombs). Mix a little of it into a paste with water, and apply it to the hair growths. Wash off after two minutes and the hairs will have entirely disappeared (notice they don't mention if you still have a face or limbs?) It is ideal for removing hair from the underarms and is a necessity for the up to date woman (oh gosh and we all want so desperately to be up to date women).
There is no excuse for failing hair (truly their very words). No excuse for thin, sick hair or bald spots (listening men???). No beauty of features can make up for a distressing lack of hair growth and the formulae I will give you will put those troubles right. Mix a package of boranium in 1 pint of bay rum, shake the bottle well, allow it to stand for half an hour, add 1 pint of fresh cold water and then strain. Rub well into the scalp and in two weeks time look for new growth, you will not require a microscope to see it. (And if all fails, make a fresh batch, swig it down and drown your sorrows given your life is ruined because of your failing hair).
To renew complexions without cosmetics
If the excessive user of cosmetics only knew the impression her artificiality really makes upon others, she would quickly seek the means of gaining a natural complexion. Let her acquire the Mercolized wax habit discarding makeup entirely, and she will soon have the kind of complexion that women envy and men admire. It is so easy to get a jar of wax from the chemist, and use it nightly like cold cream, washing it off in the morning. Gradually the lifeless outer cuticle (yes, we are still talking about the face) will peel off in tiny flakes, and in a short time you will have a brand new complexion, clear, soft velvety and of girlish colour and texture. (Is this the same as car wax or chemical peels? And did the makeup houses use aggressive marketing to run this little baby out of town).
The all purpose beauty product - Lemons
Don't forget that lemon juice is splendid for removing discolouring marks from the nails. Combined with equal portions of glycerine and rosewater, it also might be used as a bleach for freckles and a tan (he he, they used to bleach their tans in those days). The juice of a lemon in hot water each morning is reputed to decrease weight (um, my grandmother and her mother before her swore by this).
Then there is this amazing advertisement (one of many) about a poor woman who has been cleaning and cooking all day and her husband announces that he has invited the boss home for dinner. She is beside herself because her hands are dry and rough and not 'up to entertaining'. Of course she orders some Solvol by phone and it does the trick. Even the guest wonders how she gets her hands so soft and lovely after all the cleaning she has done. Mmmmm.
Tomorrow I'm heading off to have a quiet word with the Chemist on the whereabouts of these
When I find them, I'm going to set up shop here on Lilly's Life. You are on notice Estee Lauder et al. Lilly's Lovelies Online Beauty Store is on its way. Hell, you should see some of the gorgeous women in this magazine - they had something going on I'm telling you. It's got to be the mercolized wax, the boranium, bay rum and the pheminol. Lethal combination.
I'm going to get the beauty and fashion lowdown no matter how many magazines I have to flip through. I will be back at that library for as long as it takes.....no, don't thank me yet. Wait until you are hairless in the right places, have a pleasing symmetry of form, hands as lovely as a brides, a velvety soft complexion, with a glorious head of envied hair and admired by every man you meet. Then, and only then, can you thank me for my trouble....What do you mean women's liberation? Nah, it never got a mention.....to be continued.
PS. If you have any particular beauty problems, I am willing to find the 1930s solution for you. Actually, I am also keen to see what the 40s and 50s hold too.