Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Body Beautiful


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).

Luscious Hair

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 banned chemicals magic potions. Maybe he might have some leftover stock 'out the back' (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

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.

60 comments:

  1. LOL..I would need the hair tonic.

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  2. @ Tabitha - well I need to send you another goody bag when I have tracked this down. I think some of these things may work better than the stuff we pay fortunes for.

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  3. Are you sure that is an old magazine...cuz I swear thats yoga and ,it's braja, vodka mom, suzy and possibly you in that picture dancing around that tree? ;-)

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  4. I could sure use the facial hair stuff! Especially since the hair growth on my legs is stopping but it's now showing up on my chin!

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  5. Sounds like they were way ahead of their time with ~ the chemical peel procedure! Good stuff, Lilly. No, Royal T doesn't have a website - but they should!

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  6. Hilarious! The Romans used lead as a cosmetic and ended up poisoning themselves... now you tell me people used nuclear powder...

    No wonder I never wear make-up!

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  7. These are some harsh remedies,not to mention they sound dangerous. No wonder women looked old before their time. I like your advertisements, very funny. Have a great week.

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  8. There is no excuse for failing hair. Why is that so funny to me? I'm cracking up.

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  9. Hmm ... well, my first thought there is that nothing much has changed in the last 85 years or so.

    Of course, you might have a problem with the Lilly's Online Beauty Stuff etc... because, these days, if anything actually seems to work for anything at all, some jerk in Health and Safety finds a reason to ban it! (Like, for instance, glue that no longer glues anything because some teenage brats liked the smell of the old stuff that worked).

    Beauty problems? We-ell ... just the one really - being old! Any suggestions? :)

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  10. LOL! I need that hair tonic too! When you find it, make sure you get a truck load! :)

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  11. No doubt, then, that you've inherited your dad's sense of humor. That was hilarious! Thank you for all that hard work!

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  12. You might call this Super Lilly's Online Beauty Stuff . In perfect IT style you can then have an acronym SLOBS..... honestly, I didnt know I had this mean streak in me. Must be that pheminol......

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  13. I'm just going to drink the rum and pretend I'm pretty.

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  14. This is so funny. Car wax, nuclear bombs, I don't know if I was to practice this beauty regime or not!

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  15. sounds awfully pedantic.. but hey! those were the '30s!
    Most of the natural stuff is right on.. I mean about the lemon in warm water (we add a dash of honey too).
    Let me know when you put up your website so I can order online (hopefully you give out special discounts to faithful readers of your blog!!)

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  16. Wonderful post. I love those old magazines...it's so funny to see how women were treated in those times. We've certainly come a long way!
    Have a Great Day, Lilly!

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  17. Good Lord, that poor woman had to make dinner AND worry about her dry, chafed hands? It's a wonder she didn't mix a bottle of pheminol with a bottle of 100 proof whiskey and kiss her cruel world goodbye!

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  18. Your post is too funny as usual. But hey, dont get carried away by Lilly's crazy ideas. All those 1930s beauties may have developed skin cancer for all you know. Those are dangerous (even sounding) chemicals. Not recommended for sampling either. May be you can send these magazines to Elizabeth Arden, Estee L and Channel people. They will find real use of these items.

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  19. Oh yeah, the Mercolized wax habit...don't get me started.

    I have been clean of that damned monkey on my back for 10 years now.

    Don't just say no...say hell no!

    Funny read, Lilly, and your inserted comments were a hoot!

    Peace - Rene

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  20. Yes, indeed, I do believe you inherited your Father's sense of humor! and I love Ugich's title! I must be taking the same stuff! Always a great laugh and always just when I need one!

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  21. Hi Lilly! I suppose I would like some more tips for symmetry of form. Actually, I'm very symmetrical. There's just a little too much . . . symmetry (ahem) in certain parts of me. ;-)

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  22. Hi Lilly! I suppose I would like some more tips for symmetry of form. Actually, I'm very symmetrical. There's just a little too much . . . symmetry (ahem) in certain parts of me. ;-)

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  23. So let me get this straight: all I have to do to achieve "a pleasing symmetry of form" is dance around a maypole?

    I think I may have a new business model for the fitness crowd.

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  24. @ Jeanne - no honey don't go to any troubele. Cancel the maypole and just find the nearest tree....well you know what I mean. To dance, no I think its just posing, around of course...but they did have very boyish figures as that was the look so muscle or fat is not requred to attain the look of the 30s.

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  25. I will be your guinea pig! Seriously. Send me your potions girl, I will take before and after photos for you.

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  26. The sad part is that this is just 76 years ago. This is in some people's lifetimes. I love the artwork though and the design of the 30s. They did have very boyish figures. The focus on beauty has been around since Eve was a girl but I will bet you that some of these products would work better than the ones we have now that are packaged within an inch of their lives and cost a bomb. I am interested in old wives tales like the lemon juice etc. Find me some more of those things Lilly, there's a good girl. And can you also be the guinea pig, well just in case...you know how it is, it's a litigious world we live in..someone always has to go first and you seem like a risk taker.

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  27. How do you find these things? I think nothing much has changed and women are kidding themselves if they think it has. Look at any magazine today and its all about how to be better looking. They may have been a little worse in regards to the sexist language but the message is still the same. You are only worth it if you are great looking. I wonder what magazines 76years from now will be saying. Interesting post as always.

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  28. :) I like the GROUP exercise shot!
    LOL Go girls GO :)

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  29. @ Darsden - honey if I was in that picture and it was yoga, I would be the one lying on the ground pretending I was dead.

    @ Joanie - yes its Gods cruel way of telling us we are middle aged. What, does he think we are stupid? We have mirrors.

    @ Helen - he he chemical peels, so true. Nothing is ever new we just go round and round and brand it as something different.

    @ Lady Fi - you dont have to wear makeup I bet you have porcelin skin - you never see the sun your way do you?

    @ Margaret - yes the advertisements are the best and I fear they will only get worse when I look at magazines from the 40s and 50s. It's so very interesting looking at society through the years.

    @ Summer - you are laughing nervously because you are terrified you have failing hair. Except I saw pictures and know you dont. I am now going to refer to my head of hair as failing. The language they used is so positive.

    @ cjw666 - well the online store will be an undercover operation. I will give the products code names that dont link me to any international chemical ring...just do not tell a soul. Yes I have the answer for you. Ponds Cold Cream - It was everyhere in these magazines. And I agree we really havent come that far in many ways. To think I sewed my first apron (I have ever worn ever) only last week. Its true I have a hankering to be in the 30s now....

    @ Betty - I am with you and I am on this. My grandfather used a mixture of coconut oil and 4711 cologne togeher and put this on his hair. He died in his 90s with great hair. Who knew?

    @ Sujatha - you think I am joking. I am deadly serious...he he

    @ Ugich - you IT and Limerick types are all the same you want to put an acronym and rhyme to everything. Well SLOBS does not sound so inviting. You have to work harder at this but I am all ears as well as mouth. Funny!!

    @ Susan - honey if we all drink rum we would all look beautiful. Rum and coke is still my drink of choice which is why I need the chemical warfare to ward off the damage caused.

    Thanks for all your comments you funny, funny people!!

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  30. witch hazel..oh my stars..my grandmother had it by the tons..and my cousin and i were always using it..we thought it would get rid of freckles and we were covered with them...my grandpa said it might work if we drank it..ahh

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  31. Truly bewildering...

    I loved your little added extras.


    I think I'll try the Boranium and Rum... yum!!!

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  32. Hey, I have lots of excuses for failing hair . . . but I'm lovin' the rum treatment!

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  33. well one thing has stood the test of time...women are forever trying to look their best, and our appearances are important to us.

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  34. I don't know whether to comment or run quickly to apply rum to my head ;)

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  35. My mom had a load of Women's Weekly magazines from the 1960's which, though not as fearsome, had a lot of quaint make-up/ski-and-hair care tips which were very interesting to read.

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  36. Some of these solutions are pretty scary sounding. But then again, 40 years from now don't you wonder what they'll think about what we're doing now? I've got a friend who got her eyebrows and eyelids tatooed so she never needs to use an eyebrow pencil or eyeliner.

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  37. God, what will they be saying about us in 80 years??? I wonder daily about what archeologists will think in, say, 5,000 years when they unearth ancient female remains with round, plastic orbs situated about where the breasts should have been. The riddles that will cause!

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  38. lilly;

    You light up my day...funny stuff. I love the pictures, glamour girls.
    Now how about undereye dark circles. That is my number one( from a list of 100's) beauty problem. I would pay for that solution.

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  39. Let us know what you find! My chemist is fresh out of mercolized wax!
    Pearl

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  40. Great discovery. Enjoyed every bit. Great to be back.

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  41. Hmmm.... we women are always trying to look our best no matter what decade or financial crunch we are in! :)
    Wahoo! This one is for the ladies!

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  42. It is great fun to look back at old magazines. These beauty tips were great! Who knows they might even do the job! Thanks for sharing your find.

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  43. I normally use Wash and Go for my hair. I wash - it goes...

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  44. Mercy! It just sounds so wrong. But at least you can pronounce it. We might be using the same stuff with a different name.

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  45. Ahhh...beauty hurt, even back then, didn't it? The things we DO to ourselves!!

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  46. Amazing...that was a very fun read...and I got a good giggle from your commentary. And now I'm off to do something about my limp hair.

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  47. Lillie - Just thought I'd let you know I'll be thinking of you tomorrow night. I'm going to see Tommy Emmanuel! (yeah, baby!)

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  48. Hmmmm.... The pains women go through all in the name of beauty. Makes me feel glad to be a man.

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  49. I wonder what they did about leg and hair in those days? Did they use the same stuff they used on their face down, or hubbies razor? Most of the time they could cover them up with stockings and suspender belts, (suspender belts, what a thought) but that certainly isn't the case in the yoga picture.

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  50. Hi there! To answer your question, the young man in photo and on sidebar is my one and only grandson, Charlie! A very mature 12 1/2 year old. He has also done some local theatre. Enjoy your weekend Lilly.

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  51. ... one more thing please ~ I have fallen head over heels in love with Des! Please don't be alarmed.

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  52. Facial hair, thanks to menopause. Geesh.

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  53. "(notice they don't mention if you still have a face or limbs?) "
    --LOL!! Well good luck finding those magic err..."potions". Hahah. you are again so funny. The lenghts women go to..! whoa. serious whoa.

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  54. I am quite green that you live so close to the National Library Lilly. I think I'd spend most of my time there if it was me!

    At least these days we do have the internet, but there's NOTHING like the original documents.

    That's what happens with research - one gets waylaid and all sorts of interesting stuff comes up.

    Facsinating
    June also in Oz

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  55. I just can't wait to be able to buy your products!

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  56. I floated about the garden like a prancing pony Lilly. I just have to get a ballet outfit. The neighbours clearly thought I was on drugs. such a refined ladylike way to exercise really. No wonder they all looked like twigs in those days, no food, no muscle building exercise and chemicals to sipe out all their beauty troubles. I for one am in love with the 30s!

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  57. Unbelievable! The interesting thing is that there are still hints of these beliefs floating around...nair, hair bleach, implants, men contstantly saying how natural is best, etc.

    Thank goodness we've evolved slightly, though!!!

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  58. Simplicity , yes we have evolved only slightly though I believe when it comes to all things beautiful. It sure is fascnating though.

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  59. Hi Lily ~ I was going to write a funny comment, but I actually found your post fascinating.

    I remember one remedy for a toothache, which my mother used to use.

    "The most useful remedy for sore, inflamed gums is tincture of Myrrh, which should be massaged throughly with the fingertip into the gums each day. It has an astringent and anti-bacterial action, and regular use will strenghtn the gums. It can slo be used on mouth ulcers."

    I always used to think that the baby Jesus was given Myrrh to cure his toothache.

    :)

    henry

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Thanks for your comments.