Part 60: Old Style Beauty Aids

Colin Ella - Part 60 - The Way We Were. Old Style Beauty Aids.
Colin Ella - Part 60 - The Way We Were. Old Style Beauty Aids.

We cannot help but notice these days the tremendous trade in the cosmetics and beauty industries in all their forms.

The craze to look beautiful is very much the rage.

Indeed, I sometimes wonder how the ladies of the mid 1920s managed to look so beautiful, but they did, and there was no shortage of bonny lasses around then.

Beauty aids were not thrust upon them in those days and many women went no further than their own back kitchen for their beauty treatments using methods that cost them little. For example some used to steam their faces over very hot water to flush out sticky pores after which they applied a coating of egg white and allowed it to dry into a face mask. They felt great after its removal - fresh and lovely.

But what other schemes did our grandmothers go in for? Well - they could make their own handcreams, soaps and ointments - the last named being a mix of elder flowers and elder berries simmered with lard or vaseline. Lemons were found very useful and still are, but then the ladies often used the husks mixed with powdered borax and glycerine to make a lotion for softening the skin.

Vaseline was useful for shaping eyelashes before mascara came along. It could also make them look darker. Some of the farmers’ wives made their own soap and one of their recipes included half a pint of paraffin and had as a postscript, ‘While making this soap keep well away from the fire!’

Now, perhaps the commercial pressures to look beautiful are somewhat overdone and especially in regard to our youngsters.

Next week, Part 61: Treasure the Memories.