Women of the past knew a thing or two about beauty. From how to get glowing skin to taming a monstrous mane, they’ve always been innovators when it comes to natural ways to keep themselves well-groomed. Here, we’ve re-explored some of the old, tried-and-true beauty rituals touted by our foresisters.
Check out the tips below for how you can apply old wisdom in new ways for your most beautiful you.
Sea salt in the Bath
Sea salt in the bath.
Sea salt is your skin’s best friend. It can flush away infections and leave skin silky soft. Ladies of the past used to bathe in the exfoliant to get a glowing complexion.
Update it: Try using scented bath salts with a sea salt base, this way you’ll get all the benefits without smelling like chips! You can find plenty options like Dr. Teal's Eucalyptus or Lavender Epsom Salt ($15.96, Amazon).
Baking Soda for White Teeth
Baking soda for white teeth.
Back before we had super advanced toothpaste, baking soda was used to get sparkling pearly whites. Big in the 1960s, vintage beauties would rub baking soda onto their teeth then rinse.
Update it: To make the taste a bit more bearable, try adding lemon and peppermint oil to create a paste, then use it once or twice a week. You can also find toothpaste with baking soda already in it, such as Red Seal Natural Baking Soda Toothpaste ($9.88, Amazon).
Strawberries for a Cleaner Face
Strawberries for a cleaner face.
Now we have access to all kinds of face washes, but English roses in the swinging sixties would blitz strawberries in a blender to use as a cleanser. The pink coloring of the fruit added a natural glow as well as smelling gorgeous.
Update it: Try adding strawberries to a mixture of mashed banana and honey, and apply as a face mask.
Using a white pencil to line the inner water line of the eye is a well-known trick of the trade from Marilyn Monroe. The Hollywood starlet loved her signature sultry eye look to make her blue eyes pop.
Update it: Try dabbing a smudge of pale eyeshadow into the inner corner of your eyes to make them look brighter and wide awake.
Spraying Perfume onto Your Hairbrush
Spraying perfume onto Your hairbrush.
Coco Chanel famously said that women should wear perfume wherever they would like to be kissed. Having a feminine smell was extremely important in those days so women would spritz their hairbrushes with perfume to carry their scent with every swish of their locks.
Update it: Try investing in a perfume designed specifically for hair, like as the kind made by R+Co Fragrance ($20, Amazon), that will nourish your locks while making it smell good.
Using Petroleum Jelly on Eyelids
Using petroleum jelly on eyelids.
The vintage look is all about having dramatic eye make-up. Women would apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly over their eyelids and then cover with neutral skin toned powder all the way up to their brow line, blending a darker shade into the crease for a theatrical impact.
Update it: Use an eyelid primer, like the Milani Eyeshadow Primer ($5.97, Amazon), instead of petroleum jelly for long-lasting vintage peepers.
Cold Water Treatment
Cold water treatment.
Joan Crawford famously splashed her face with ice cold water 25 times every morning to keep her legendary face smooth and taut.
Update it: If you can’t bear dousing yourself with freezing water, try mixing together sugar, warm water, and lemon juice to cleanse your face for a fresh complexion.
Olive Oil Hair Mask
Olive oil hair mask.
A favorite trick of auburn-haired Rita Hayworth: To keep hair looking lustrous, she would shampoo, apply olive oil to the ends, and wrap her hair up in towel for 15 minutes. After, she would rinse with hot water, cleanser, and lemon juice to get rid of any residue.
Update it: If you haven’t got time for all this in the morning, try using an oil-based serum, like Herstyler Argon Hair Repair Serum ($11.99, Amazon) on wet hair, then leave wrapped in a towel while you do your make-up. The serum will absorb into your hair without needing to rinse.
Crushing Rose Petals or Beetroot to Tint Cheeks
Crushing rose petals or beetroot to tint cheeks.
Back in the days of old school romance, a lady’s gentleman caller would always present her with a bouquet of roses. Before they withered, these blushing dames would rub the petals together until they produced liquid, then dab the liquid onto their cheeks and lips for a rosy glow.
Update it: Try mixing the petal liquid with a sheer lip gloss to create a natural color with some extra shimmer to take you through the night.
In the fifties, having thick curly hair was all the rage, but hot rollers were expensive and uncomfortable to sleep in. Pioneering vintage beauties worked around this by rolling damp hair around pieces of fabric, tying up the hair and leaving overnight.
Update it: Use the same trick but spritz your hair with sea salt spray, like Beauty by Earth's Sea Salt Spray ($16.99, Amazon) once in the "rollers" for a more tousled, bedhead look.
Rinsing hair with beer is an old wives tale that some still swear by today. After the liquid evaporates from the hair, a residue of hops and barley is left, giving hair more body and weight.
Update it: If you don’t enjoy smelling like a brewery, try using a deep-conditioning treatment, like ArtNaturals Argan Oil Hair Mask ($12.30, Amazon) on your hair once a week to keep it thick and well maintained.
Even retro beauties suffered from greasy roots! Their savior came in form of talcum powder, which they shook onto hair then ruffled up.
Update it: This tip only works well for blondes. Nowadays, we have dry shampoo, like Batiste Dry Shampoo ($8.06, Amazon) for locks in need of a boost.