Thursday 4 December 2014

1930s Beauty Tips

I collect women's magazines, (amongst other things - wool, vintage patterns, 78s, red lipstick, shoes...). They are predominantly from the 1930s and 40s, and whenever I do a Free Pattern Friday, I get so engrossed in the ads, that I promised to share some of these with you. These are all from a 1936 edition of Home Chat magazine.

I just had to put this first - What the hell...? Did no one realise the deep hypocrisy here? Ahh, smoking. It is making a comeback though, in certain private dance clubs in London. You can't really have an authentic 1930s French cafe/nightclub atmosphere without a little smoking.

Celebrity endorsements certainly aren't new. They were very popular at this time. Only the titled were sought out by cosmetics companies though, followed by Hollywood stars. Interestingly, titled ladies were also asked to endorse knitting patterns in the 1930s. Who wouldn't want to knit a jumper that a Lady might also be knitting for herself?

The Baroness Furnivall was quite happy to promote Ponds Face Powder. I wonder if she had a crumbling mansion to keep up? Or perhaps she relished the publicity? Of course I then had to go and find some on ebay, three in fact, but didn't bid on them as I knew I would not be able to resist trying them - and that would be bad. What I find fascinating is the 'science' they were using - in the form of that huge machine, the 'colourscope', that they used to 'complexion analyse' 200 'girls'. Cosmetic companies in 1936 were already trying to blind us with science.

Deodorant, not a very exciting product, but where would we be without it? You certainly wouldn't want to dance with anyone, for fear of unpleasant odours. And considering that was the second most popular pastime in the 30s, (picture-going the first), you would make sure you used it. I love the way the other ladies are looking enviously at her dancing with the dashing moustachioed gent!

The tiny ad at the bottom right of the page certainly piqued my interest now that I too have curls that do tend to be a bother. Denman products are still very popular, but I've never seen this Curl Comb and Curl Set. I would kill for one. It's portable too - 'you can set your hair in a very few moments in the theatre or restaurant cloakroom'. I'm sure it's not as easy as it claims to be, but I'd give it a good go.

Another curling product, by Carola, claiming they 'curl while you dress'. After seeing this I dug out mine and set my hair with them. (Well, somebody else set it, after taking pity on me struggling with the tricksy things). Ladies seemed very adept at setting their own hair back then. I'm afraid I'd have gone to the hairdressers. Although I might not have been able to afford it. Here is my set with the Carolas. I had somewhere special to go, to celebrate 10 years of djing with The Shellac Sisters

More about this lovely evening soon.

The ad for the free knitting leaflet voucher (above), is pure wish fulfilment. I dream of going to my local wool shop and choosing from a 'wide range' of vintage patterns. Like a kid in a toy shop.

I'll leave you with Vanity Fayre's regular beauty column. This week they give you 'Four Steps to Beauty'. It's essentially a beauty salon review, but includes all the information needed to do it at home. Of course, you'd have to order the products from the salon. Surprisingly, not that much has changed in nearly 80 years. We still use mud masks, and massage, and we are still obsessed with slowing down, (or halting), the ageing process. We've just gone to more extreme lengths trying to achieve it now. 



  1. I enjoyed your look at old adverts, I always find them fascinating. I think they give a really good flavour of how people really lived.

  2. After reading this article, I understood how people follow immense beauty tips to showcase their beauty. Even now, we can get a few beauty products of that time in the Look store. But if we use Look Coupons we can get a huge reduction in price.


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