The Art of Feminine Beauty

Alas, this is a shorter post than I had planned, for having just composed and typed it all, blogger informed me that I had a ‘conflict’ and wiped the lot! Bah!

I had been writing all about my love of vintage women’s magazines from the 40s and 50s, and beauty books from the same time. I am lucky enough that my library has not only procured for me a copy of The Art of Feminine Beauty by Helena Rubinstein, but the copy they have obtained for me was published in 1930! I love to think of all the other women who have read it, all the different dressing tables upon which it has sat. I wonder if they were young ladies, impatient to put their hair up and wair make up, or brides-to-be wanting to be as lovely as possible on their wedding day. Perhaps women who were beautiful to everyone else, but had one tiny flaw they wanted advice on. I think of whoever it was who bought it new, if they saved up their pennies for it, and wonder which tip they tried out first. How did it come to be bought for a library? And once it was there, how many ladies borrowed it?

One thing I have commented upon before is how nowadays, many cosmetic firms try to scare and bully us into buying their creams for our crows feet and wrinkles and sagging skin, while back then ladies were romanced into buying things to enhance their loveliness. How much nicer is the positive attitude!

Here are a few passages from the book so far:

..beauty is neither wholly the gift of God, nor the gift of the cosmetician. An important part is always played by the desire to be lovely, and the willingness to make small daily sacrifices to achieve it. If you follow the rules for your type and age, you will keep your loveliness to the end of your days.

…a woman’s beauty will be a gracious curve from youth to, shall we say, later youth; for the weight of the years seems to be resting ever more lightly on women’s shoulders.

…there are others who, not considered to be beautiful in their younger days, have in later life developed into recognised beauties. Such women, by intelligent cultivation of their persons, make for themselves a second and even a third youth more lovely and impressive that that of the springtime of life.

…Every intelligent woman who really cares can become at least good-looking. How much farther she goes will depend upon herself.

If you click on the title to this post, you will go to the lovely Fleur De Guerre’s blog, where she details a vintage-inspired skin care routine. I have been following this for a few weeks now, and I love feeling connected to all the hundreds of women before who have stood at their dressing tables, or in front of bathroom mirrors, massaging cold cream into their faces.

I do believe that I shall carve out a few minutes reading time this week, and make a list of tips from Helena Rubinstein to try! I hope that you are all having a glamourous week, and are enjoying the wonderful sunshine which has accompanied the start of September.

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Feminine Beauty

  1. Blogger has done this to me…many times…so frustrating. Once in a great while I manage to retrieve it–sometimes by clicking undo/redo or failing that going back to a previous page. For awhile I even did my post in Works, then copied and pasted into blogger, but that always gave me trouble–spent a ton of time fixing the paragraphs, indents and such.Love your post…I remember my grandmother and her ritual toilette…sitting at her dressing table. And watching her pin curl her hair, I was mesmerized. She had a glass of water and a rat tail comb. She'd use the tail to make a perfect part in her hair, then dip the other end of the comb into the water, comb through the section of hair to dampen it, then rap it around her finger tip, securing it with crossed bobby pins. She always fixed herself up. Never got to see my mom do such. I think the scarcity of bathrooms in homes back in the day forced one to use a dressing table..nowadays most homes have more than one bathroom and most women fix up in front of the bathroom mirror. I do.Lovely to 'see' you again.

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