Beauty is so much more than a pretty face and a well-proportioned figure. It is a look of serenity and well-being; of health and vitality, with a happy head held high because of a profound sense of confidence – an awareness of the fact that you look your very best.
But what every woman needs to know is how to make the most of herself. Until one realizes the workings of the skin, one cannot hope to understand the basic rules of beauty care.
The skin is a living organ, it must breathe. It is not just a bag to hold the bits together. It must be kept clean and glowing. We have only one body, so all of it must be cared for, and the skin first and foremost.
Good blood circulation
As people grow older, the blood circulation tends to slow down, which necessitates massage – whether artificial or by exercise – thus stimulating the blood and the flow of natural oil from the pores to protect the upper layer of the skin.
These pores penetrate through two layers of skin (the outer skin or epidermis and the under skin or dermis). At the end of each funnel-like pore is an opening through which flows the precious oil to nourish the tissues of the outer skin – the epidermis.
We must mention at this point the extreme care we should give to the skin around the eyes, as there is only a thin layer of the dermis in this area. This outer skin is fed by the arteries, the blood circulating from the temples and the nose up to the scalp.
Should the outer skin be removed, you would see these arteries operating. Therefore, it is logical to use a delicate cream when massaging around the eyes, a stronger cream for the face, and an even stronger cream for the neck – but more of this later.
To continue about circulation: Tight garments interfere with skin circulation, also hinder the evaporation of body wastes through the pores. So try not to wear too many tight clothes.
An easy beauty tip, one which we have followed for years: First thing in the morning (and the last thing at night, if you are really keen) drink a glass of hot water with a slice of lemon with the skin on.
This helps to keep bowel actions regular and rid the body of waste matter. So make rule number one, hot water, and lemon morning and night. During the day, when in need of a drink, try it then too.
Skin is like elastic, and you know what can happen to elastic – it stretches. If you don’t exercise your skin it becomes flabby and sagging. And so to exercise and massage.
The skin is a living organ, it must breathe
In this age of new home appliances and cars, the drudgery is taken out of life, but we find ourselves becoming flabby.
The solution is physical exercise. A sport, dancing or long walks are all good, provided you are getting some exercise. Also, a few quick exercises when you get up in the morning will do a lot of good.
Take a deep breath, with arms stretched above your head, then throw them down to touch your toes, holding the tummy muscles in as you exercise. Repeat a few times.
Next, stretch your chin over to the right shoulder while breathing in deeply (hands on hips). Repeat the same to the left shoulder. Just a few minutes of this keeps the skin of the neck elastic.
Massage is so important for bodies, especially the face and neck. To massage you must use a cream, otherwise, you will stretch your skin. Get advice from a beauty consultant on the type of creams that suit your skin.
At night, after cleansing the skin thoroughly, massage face and neck at length.
Start with the eyes. With a little gentle astringent eye cream on your “ring” fingers (the pads on these fingers are the softest on the hand) make three circles on the temples, and looking upward, gently bring these soft-pad fingers toward the nose and carry up to either side of the nose, pausing to press the nerve center under the eyebrows, then lifting up the eyebrows before sweeping hardback to the temples, ending in three more rotaries.
Press the temples for a split second to bring the blood to the surface and rushing to the nose, ironing out wrinkles and crow’s-feet. Repeat three times only.
Next, from the shoulders, sweep your cream-covered hand flat upward to the chin, holding for a second, before repeating the same movement from the other shoulder with your opposite hand. Repeat three times slowly, working around to the front of the neck.
Slide your hands round to the neglected part of your neck where age tells its nasty secrets, and massage the back of your neck, finishing up with concentration on the center neck muscle, the trapeze muscle, which is the one that causes so much tension and head pain if allowed to knot.
Perhaps someone can massage this muscle at the base of your neck for you in circular movements. This ensures relaxation and is a wonderful way to relieve the pressures of the day.
Finally, the all-important furrowed brow. The forehead suffers from overwork and shows every sign of strain and emotion. So, with this massage movement, relax and enjoy the smoothing out of forehead lines.
Open hands and place on forehead, fingers touching. Bring your thumbs onto the temples, pressing slightly. Close eyes and sit up straight. Arching your fingers, all eight touching, run them down from the center forehead to meet the thumbs. Pause and repeat.
Clear the mind of all thoughts as you work, so that when you have finished at least a dozen sweeps, your eyes will want to stay closed. Slip into bed and sleep soundly.
For morning beauty care, wash the face with a good skin soap. With this soap, massage the neck, chin, contour muscles, nose, and forehead.
With a warm facecloth, rub vigorously to remove the soap. Rinse cloth, wipe face and neck again, finally rinsing face and neck in cold water. (After bathing or showering, always splash the body and face with cold water, as cold water tightens the skin and helps keep it supple.)
Pat dry, then immediately smooth moisturizer over the face, throat, and back of the neck.
Never leave your skin naked. When not wearing makeup, especially during weekends, preserve the delicate acid mantle of your skin by smearing it with a good moisturizer.
The body lotion is a must for the rest of your body. Enjoy the luxury of smoothing on lotion or oil, including your legs and feet.
Now for some homemade cosmetic recipes
A weekly face mask is so important to the pores of the face and neck, extracting impurities embedded deep down all week with thick makeup.
If neglected, pores become enlarged, filled with hardened sebum (called blackheads), which if squeezed can become infected. In some cases, acne sets in, sparking off a skin complaint requiring patience and sometimes medical treatment to clear.
A good mask for normal skin is: 1 tablespoon dried skimmed milk powder, ½ teaspoon honey, 1 egg-white mixed in a bowl before adding other ingredients.
Apply thickly to the face and neck, not forgetting the back of the neck but omitting the eye area. Remove after 15 – 20 minutes with a warm facecloth, rubbing the skin vigorously. Splash with cold water and apply skin tonic.
For dry skin, add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of fresh milk to the ingredients.
Immediately after the mask, use a skin tonic on a pad of cotton wool first squeezed out in cold water.
Here is a recipe for skin tonic: ¾ cup rosewater, ¼ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup glycerin.
Shake well and use even on the hands, especially at night.
For that pick-me-up face treatment, when invited out after a day’s hard work, here is one used by famous actresses:
Separate the egg white from the yolk, and without even beating the white, smear it over the face and neck, lie down for about 15 minutes with a pillow under your feet. Rinse egg-white off with a warm facecloth, splash with cold water, and you will be the belle of the ball. This has proved to be a temporary anti-wrinkle treatment as well.
Before all masks, cleanse the skin with a beauty soap. This leaves the surface of the skin bone-dry – necessary for the mask to act immediately, extracting impurities from over-clogged pores.
If you suffer from really enlarged pores, add to four egg-whites a grain of camphor and one grain of alum. Beat until stiff. One of the oldest face masks on record, it is excellent for large pores and acne.
Oranges for acne, and cucumber for clear eyes
Speaking of acne. For the truly sad state of this complaint, rub a slightly squeezed orange over the face the last thing at night for three to four successive nights, and note the results.
Teenagers do suffer so, but mothers should take their diet in hand by cutting out all fried foods. Why not experiment with a family casserole dish?
Meat cooked in a casserole comes out tender as chicken. Leave the lid off for the last 15 minutes to brown vegetables and meat, and you will ever return to the grease of the old-style roast meal.
Buttermilk is another secret for a fine, delicate complexion. An English friend has used buttermilk as a cleanser for as long as she has used cosmetics. Mind you, her foundation was very light, with just a dusting of powder.
It is block powder that creates the plaster-like substance, pushed deep down in the pores. There are times when we need a quick application of this matt powder, but remember to be thorough when removing it at night.
To make eyes sparkle, cut two rings of cucumber, place them over your eyelids as you lie in the bath with your face mask on, or flop on your bed to relax every muscle for the lost energy.
To preserve the acid mantle of the skin, add to your bath water quarter cup ordinary vinegar. No more skin dryness. And if you are chasing the long hot summer, take note of this suntanning recipe: equal parts of vinegar, olive oil, and cold, strong tea.
A lovely skin food with orange is 28g lanolin, 42g white soft paraffin, 42g yellow paraffin ( petroleum jelly), and 7g hard paraffin. Melt them all together, and while still warm, add 14g liquid paraffin and 14g orange juice. Beat well, place in a jar, and use as a night cream.
Now for a diet
For breakfast: that hot water and lemon or weak tea and lemon (no sugar). Boiled or raw egg, grapefruit, and a thin slice of toast.
Mid-morning drink: hot water and lemon.
Lunch: a slimming-roll or biscuit, about 50g cheese, an apple or orange or raw tomato, and a green salad. Tea or coffee with milk.
Afternoon drink: tea with lemon.
Dinner: Lean meat, liver, kidneys, or steamed fish. Cauliflower, boiled beans, leeks, or cabbage. One small boiled potato. Tossed salad, including tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. One orange or apple. Tea or coffee with milk.