Transcriber's Note: Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Dialect spellings, contractions and discrepancies have been retained.
THE WOMAN BEAUTIFUL
MME. QUI VIVE
(HELEN FOLLETT STEVANS)
CHICAGO JAMIESON-HIGGINS CO. 1901
COPYRIGHT, 1899, BY STEVANS AND HANDY
The Woman Beautiful is not a radiant creature of gorgeous plumage and artificial beauty, but a woman of wholesome health, good hard sense, sparkling vivacity and sweet lovableness. Her beauty-creed hangs not from rouge pots and bleaches, but suspends like a banner of truth from the laws of wise, hygienic living. Her cheeks are tinted with the glow that comes from good, well-circulated blood, her eyes are bright and lovely because her mind is so, and her complexion is transparent and soft and velvety for the reason that the true art is known to her. The Woman Beautiful is all sincerity. She doesn't like to sail under false colors and so insult old Dame Nature, whose kindnesses and benefits are so well meant and freely offered.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE COMPLEXION 9 Expression 14 Useless Beauty 16 Washing the Face 20 Facial Eruptions and Blackheads 23 Tan, Sunburn and Freckles 27 Complexion Powders 32 Wrinkles 35 Recipes for the Complexion 39
CARE OF THE HAIR 46 Dressing the Hair 56 Superfluous Hair 63 Recipes for the Hair 65
THE HANDS 68 Bathing the Hands 71 Care of the Finger Nails 73 Recipes for the Hands 75
THE EYES 79 The Girl Who Cries 83 The Eyelashes 86 The Eyebrows 86
THE TEETH 88
STOOPED SHOULDERS 125
THE THIN GIRL 149
THE PLUMP GIRL 154
THE WORKING GIRL 161
THE NERVOUS ONE 167
The Woman Beautiful
The bloom of opening flowers, unsullied beauty, Softness and sweetest innocence she wears, And looks like Nature in the world's first Spring.
Bad complexions cause more heartaches than crushed ambitions and cases of sudden poverty. The reason is plain. Ordinary troubles roll away from the mind of a cheery, energetic woman like water from a duck's back, but beauty worries—well! they have the most amazingly insistent way of sticking to one. You may say you won't think of them, but you do just the same.
It was always thus, and thus it always will be.
Diogenes searched untiringly for an honest man—so they say. Woman, bless her dear, ambitious heart, seeks with unabating energy the ways and means of becoming beautiful.
After all, they're not so hard to find when once the secret of it is known. Like the keys and things rattling about in her undiscoverable pocket, they're right with her. If she will but stop her fretting for a moment, sit down and think, then gird on her armor and begin the task—why, that's all that's needed.
There are three great rules for beauty. The first is diet, the second bathing, and the third exercise. All can be combined in the one word health. But, alas! how few of us have come into the understanding of correct living! It is woman's impulse—so I have found—to buy a jar of cream and expect a miracle to be worked on a bad complexion in one brief night. How absurd, when the cause of the worry may be a bad digestion, impure blood or general lack of vitality! One might just as well expect a corn plaster to cure a bad case of pneumonia, or an eye lotion to remedy locomotor ataxia. The cream may struggle bravely and heal the little eruptions for a day or so, but how can it possibly effect a permanent cure when the cause flourishes like a blizzard at Medicine Hat or a steam radiator in the first warm days of April?
Cold cream, pure powders and certain harmless face washes are godsends to womankind, but they can't do everything! They have their limitations, just like any other good thing. You may have a perfect paragon of a kitchen lady, whose angel food is more heavenly than frapped snowflakes, but you can't really expect her to build you a four-story house with little dofunnies on the cupolas. Of course not. Angel cake is her limit! And that's the way with those lovely liquids and things on your pretty spindle-legged dressing table. They can do a good deal in the beautifying line, but they can't do everything. Give them the help of perfect health and scrupulous cleanliness of the skin, and lo! what wonders they will work!
There is but one way—and it's so simple—of making oneself good to look upon. Resolve to live hygienically. There is nothing in the world which works swifter toward a clear, glowing, fine-textured and beautiful complexion than a simple, natural diet of grains and nuts and fruits. But you women—oh! it positively pains me to think of the broiled lobsters, the deviled crabs with tartar sauce, the pickles, and the conglomerate nightmare-lunches that you consume. And yet you're forever fussing over leathery skins, dark-circled eyes and a lack of rosy pink cheeks. Oh, woman! woman! why aren't you wise?
Here are some rules. They're golden, too:
Eat with wisdom and good sense. That means to pension off the pie and its companion workers of physical woe.
Take a tepid sponge bath every day, either upon arising in the morning or just before going to bed.
Limit the hot scrubbings to one a week.
Exercise with regularity, and dress as a rational human being should.
Drink three pints of pure, distilled water every day.
See that the bedroom is well ventilated, and don't heap up the pillows until you have a mountain range upon which to rest your poor, tired head. A flat bed and a low pillow help toward a fine, straight figure and a good carriage.
Keep your feet warm. Give those pretty round yellow silk garters to the girl you hate, and invest in sensible hose supporters. If your circulation is defective, wear wool stockings.
Don't fret. Bear in mind what Sheridan said:
"A night of fretful passion may consume All that thou hast of beauty's gentle bloom; And one distempered hour of sordid fear Prints on thy brow the wrinkles of a year."
Then rest. Don't, I beg of you, live on the ragged edge of your nerve force. You need quiet, and all you can get of it. We victims of civilization go through life at a breakneck gallop, and it's an immense mistake. Anyhow, those who know say so. And it sounds reasonable.
But, after all, the complexion is only a small part toward the making of a beautiful woman. The hair must be kept sweet and clean and healthy, and the teeth should be white and lovely. It was Rousseau, you know, who said that no woman with good teeth could be ugly. Then the hands and nails must have proper attention. Deep breathing should be practiced daily and the body properly exercised. The carriage must be graceful, the walk easy and without effort, the eyes bright, the expression of the face cheerful and animated, the shoulders and head well poised—but all these are different stories. There's a chapter in each one of them.
Above all, remember this one rule: Don't fret. Don't wear a look of trouble and worry. Above everything else, remember those delicious lines of the immortal bard:
"You have such a February face, So full of frost, of storm, of cloudiness."
And after remembering, refrain.
One of the first things to remember in the cultivation of beauty is expression. Who doesn't enjoy looking upon the young girl, with a bright, cheerful face, laughing eyes and all that? Everybody! And when the grumpy lady or the whiney lady or the lady of woes trots in and sullies your near landscape, how do you feel? Just about as cheery as if she'd come to ask you to attend a funeral!
My dear girls, it doesn't matter if you have got a freckle or two, or if your nose does tilt up just a little too much, if you have a jolly, bright face people will call you pretty. You can count on that every time. Good nature is a splendid beautifier. It brightens the eyes, discourages approaching wrinkles, and brings the apple blossom tints into your cheeks.
Another thing to remember is this: Keep the mind active. There's nothing that will make a stolid, bovine face like a brain that isn't made to get up and hustle. Don't sit around and read lovey-dovey novels or spend your time chatting with that stupid woman next door. Don't forget that life is short and there's not a moment to waste. When hubby discusses the question of expansion just pipe up and show him what you know about it. Don't get into an argument with him, but let him see that you read the papers and that you know a thing or two about passing events.
Then don't stay cooped up in the house. Go out every day, if it's only to the corner market, and if you have to wade through snowdrifts. In short, be up and doing. Don't dwell on past griefs or griefs that have not yet arrived. Study is mental development, and mental development usually means a bright, pleasing expression.
As a general rule, the man of brains and good sense—and he's the only man worth considering seriously—heartily despises the useless beauty. By this I mean the woman who is always togged up and crimped and curled and looks as if she were not worth a row of pins except as a means of livelihood to the modistes and the milliners and the hairdressers! The kind of beauty that I like is the sort that is active, doing, achieving, and working for some good. I believe, and fully too, that we can all appear at our best and yet not look as if we were made of cut glass and Dresden that would crack or break or peel off if the lake winds happened to take a fancy to blow our way. It may sound at a frightful variance from the general preaching of the beauty teacher, but—between you and me and the ice cream soda that we do not drink because it upsets our stomachs and ruins our complexions—I have simply no use whatever for the little girl who puts in the entire day (and half the night) fussing over her complexion, kinking her hair into seventeen little twists and curlycues, and dabbling lotions and things on her nose till you can't rest. A certain amount of all this is necessary, but don't give your life over to it. The waste of time is enough to make one want to be a Patagonian lady whose sole adornments in the beautifying line consist of a necklace of elephant's teeth and a few Patagonian babies. When beautifying gets to the stage where one has no time for mental refurbishing it ceases to be beauty culture, and is simply nonsense and loss of time.
I can spot this class of women a block away. In my mind's eye I can see them fussing and primping for hours before they are ready to don their street clothes and get down into the shopping district for the day's work of pricing real lace and buying hairpins. And I always look around me and think of what a vast deal of work there is in this great, big, sorrowful old world, and what direful need there is of every one pitching in and helping. To me, the useless woman is not a pretty woman. She is an ornament, like the shepherdess on the mantelpiece or the Spanish lady in the picture frame that hangs in the hallway. But the other woman—the pretty and the useful woman—oh, but she is a sight to make old eyes grow young. Her gown is spotless, her hair all fluffy and lovely, her hat just at the correct angle. She steps along quickly, and you know by the very air about her that she is a worker, be she of the smart set or of the humdrum life that toils and spins from morn till eve. Her eyebrows are not penciled, there is not a trace of rouge on her cheeks, but she is a healthy, well-built, active woman, whose very appearance of neatness, sweetness and buoyancy tells all who see her that she is a devotee of the daily bath, the dumb-bells, the correct and hygienic life.
In half an hour any woman should be able to take her plunge, coddle her complexion, dress her hair, manicure her nails, and attend to her teeth. If more time be needed, then the work is hardly worth the while, for life is mighty short, my dears, and things that must be done pile up as the years go by. At night in fifteen minutes the face and hands can be well washed, the hair brushed and combed and plaited, the teeth well cleaned, and the complexion massaged with a little pure home-made cream. Of course, when the hair is shampooed or the nails manicured with particular care, or the complexion subjected to a thorough cleansing by steam or massage, then more time is necessary.
But the gist of it all is this: Let us not spend so much time on the exterior effect that we will forget that which is most necessary to a beautiful woman—the bright, interesting mind, the love of learning things, the desire to be keeping apace with just a little bit of the world's progress, and, best of all, teaching oneself how to live wisely and well. There never was—to my way of thinking—a brainless, silly woman who was beautiful. It takes the light of intellect, the splendor of sweet womanliness, the glory of kindness, unselfishness and goodness to complete a perfect picture of "the woman beautiful."
WASHING THE FACE.
A good old stand-by query is about the simple matter of keeping one's face clean. There is no manner of doubt but that the hard water which we have in the cities is responsible for many complexion ills, and that we must not use it too generously upon our complexions if we long for the colors of the rose and the lily in our cheeks. There is nothing in the world so excellent as rain-water for the skin, but it's a great bulging problem as to how those of us who live in yardless flats and apartments can manage to catch the elusive rain-drops. We might as well hope to lasso an electric car and hitch it onto our back porches for the babies to play in, I think. When city people persist in telling others to wash their faces in rain-water and thus secure beauty everlasting and glorious, I always have a mental picture of a frantic lady with golden locks a-streaming and her eyes brimful of wildness, rushing madly down the street with basins and things in her outstretched hands. It's all right if one has rain-barrels or cisterns, but, after years of perspiring and nerve-sizzling flat hunting, I have failed to find apartments provided with either of these luxuries. With folding beds built in the sleeping apartments and steam radiators with real steam in them, the landlords feel that their duties are done.
But to return to our muttons. Those who cannot have real rain-water should use the harder brand sparingly on their faces. A thorough scrubbing at night before going to bed is an absolute necessity, lest the pores of the skin become clogged with the smoke and dust of our murky atmosphere. A little castile soap and a camel's-hair face brush will assist the cleansing operation. To soften the water, I would advise the following delightful lotion:
Four ounces of alcohol. One ounce ammonia. One dram oil of lavender.
One teaspoonful to a large basin of water is sufficient. To keep the skin free from harshness and on unpleasant terms with wrinkles and turkey tracks, a little pure cold cream should be used. If, in the morning, the skin has not absorbed all the oils of the cream, then wipe away with a cloth just slightly moistened. When at other times the face needs washing, let me suggest that this toilet milk be used. It is also excellent to apply before fluffing powder over the cheeks:
Milk of violets:
Cucumber juice, boiled and cooled, one ounce. Spirit of soap, one ounce. Rose-water or orange flower water, four ounces.
By remembering that there are two tablespoonfuls to the ounce, the measuring will not be at all difficult. If one wishes a stronger perfume add a few drops of violet extract. Whether rose-water or orange flower be used is left to one's own choice. They are equally excellent for the skin.
FACIAL ERUPTIONS AND BLACKHEADS.
With most women, pimples are caused by indigestion or constipation. Unless the body throws off its waste material as it should, the poisonous matter will endeavor to find a way out through the pores of the skin. The face, being the most sensitive, is usually the first part of the body to be afflicted. The remedy for facial blemishes is found in exercise, baths and a careful diet. And that reminds me that I would like to remark right here that the combinations that girls and women get when they order lunches are appalling enough to raise the hair right off one's head, most particularly if one has any idea at all of the general rules of hygiene and health.
It is just as easy to put beautifying foods into your stomach if you will but once make up your mind to it. And what a host of trouble it will save you! Not only in cosmetics, but doctor bills. What you eat is the fuel that keeps the engine of life going. Good food makes good strong muscles, pure blood and a fair, healthy, firm skin. If there are troublesome little blotches on your face then mend your eating ways, even though it breaks your heart to give up those awful and indigestible dainties that you dote on so religiously. In place of the pastries and the sweets and the pickles and the highly spiced dishes, substitute fruit and vegetables. Save all those nickels and dimes that you invest in ice cream soda, and instead exchange them for lemons and oranges that will help drive away the unsightly pimples and red blemishes. If possible, make your entire breakfast of fruit, either cooked or raw. If the apples and oranges and peaches and pears do not make active the digestive organs, then go to a reliable druggist and have this harmless and excellent prescription filled:
Extract of dandelion, one dram. Powdered rhubarb, q. s.
Divide into three and one-half grain pills and take one every night, or oftener if necessary.
A state of nervousness will ofttimes bring a heart-wringing crop of eruptions to the surface of the skin, and this condition is best remedied by plenty of baths, lots of fresh air, exercise, and a stiff but cheerful determination to brace up and not have any nerves—which, by the way, is much easier said than done, as most of us know to our sorrow.
No matter of what order the facial eruptions may be, they must be treated with the greatest gentleness possible. There is nothing in the world worse than rubbing them with a coarse towel, a proceeding strongly advised by the old-fashioned ones who—bless their hearts—are so likely to stick to old-timey notions till the cows come home, no matter what arguments may be brought up to convince them of their mistaken views.
Pimples must never be irritated. Breaking or bruising the skin only adds to its diseased condition and general irritation. If the complexion is unsightly with red blotches, a solution of boric acid in boiling water, used warm, will be an effective lotion. Its application should, of course, be combined with proper living as laid out above, care being taken as to diet, exercise and the tepid daily bath. A good cold cream should also be used. I have been told by many that continuous applications of creme marquise had done away with pimples and blackheads, and it is frequently found that nothing more than a sensible diet and some simple pure face cosmetic is needed. When the skin is merely inflamed—that is, red of color and very tender, there is nothing better than a soothing cream like this. Listerine, witch hazel and eau de cologne are all good as external lotions for pimples. A paste of sulphur and spirits of camphor, which should be put on at night and washed off the following morning, will do good work, provided the beauty patient knows the laws of health.
When there are both blackheads and pimples the latter must first be gotten rid of. When the skin is perfectly free of these, then begin with a camel's hair face-scrubbing brush to do away with the blackheads. Wash the face thoroughly with the brush every night just before going to bed, using warm water and pure castile soap. If the blackheads are very bad add alcohol to the water. That is very cleansing, but as it is also drying, a face cream must be smeared on immediately after the face is rinsed and wiped. For some days it may seem that the pores are large and coarse and open, but they are simply undergoing a cleansing process that in the end will bring a lovely white, perfect skin. Whenever I hear women say that they never wash their faces, but use a cream instead, I always wonder if they really feel clean. I am sure I would not. Fancy the state of our hands were we never to wash them! And the face, having more oil glands, is in still greater need of soap and water. However, let me say right here that no soap at all is better than a cheap scented soap, and unless the very best and purest soaps can be had it is much more desirable to substitute almond meal or something of the sort. Treatment for blackheads calls for the same care of the health as does treatment for pimples.
TAN, SUNBURN AND FRECKLES.
Tan, like borrowing friends, and various other afflictions, is awfully easy to get, but really more than passing difficult to remove. It is delightful to sit on a big bowlder that dots a great, lovely, sandy waste and watch your hands gradually turn from their customary whiteness to a deep burnt orange. One has to have something to show for a trip out of town, one thinks, else the doubting Thomases will arise and give vent to suspicions that one has been merely concealing oneself in an attic or back bedroom. It is pleasant, too, to go fishing, with a dainty, absurd little hat that, although it looks pretty, is about as useful as would be a beaten biscuit pinned to one's tresses. You feel your nose becoming unusually warm, and it begins to tingle and smart as if the pores were filling up with hot sand. All of which is quite in keeping with summer-resort existence, and you are as proud as Lucifer when you trail back to town to show this cerise-tinted evidence of your outing.
But the friends who you thought would envy you giggle and smirk and nudge each other and make suggestions that are supposed to be mirth-compelling. And then and there you decide to do differently next summer. A sunburned nose may be a treasurable possession away from town, but back among the hosts of the city it is a different matter. More than that, it is an affliction.
If the weeks at the seashore or the lakes would only brown the summer girl it would not matter so much. But instead of making the skin a beautiful, poetical olive tint, it usually turns it to a hue which is best compared to the flaunting colors of the auctioneer's emblem. If the girl is reckless, if she runs here and there without a hat, and gives never a moment to the care of her skin, her own mother is not likely to recognize her unless the summer girl soon repents and mends her ways.
What mischief Old Sol cannot do, the brisk winds will contribute. The result is usually a red-eyed, red-nosed, flakey-skinned little woman, whom one would never suspect of having been rollicking through a few weeks of midsummer joys. If her ears are not blistered, her nose is, and if her complexion is not harsh and rough from lack of care, it is bespeckled with freckles and covered with a deep layer of golden brown tan that has distributed itself like patches on a crazy quilt.
There is not one woman in forty who can afford to ignore the ordinary precautions for preserving her complexion during the summer months.
A parasol is the first necessity. A white gauze veil is another, although this can be dispensed with if the skin is not particularly sensitive to sun and wind. Never, under any circumstances, must you bathe your face in soap and water before going out of door or just after coming in. This habit will make the freckles pop out in fine order. After coming in from a tramp or a fishing party bathe the face at once in half a cupful of sweet milk in which a pinch of soda has been dissolved. If this is inconvenient, as it often is when one is a hotel guest and not a cottager, then use a good face cream. Strong soaps containing an excess of alkali are bad enough at any time, but during the hot weather they are particularly trying to almost any skin. Too much care cannot be taken to get proper soaps.
The following sedative lotion applied to the face will prevent its tanning or freckling to any extent, that is, if one takes proper care of one's skin:
Distilled witch hazel, 3 ounces. Prepared cucumber juice, 3 ounces. Rose-water, 1-1/2 ounces. Essence white rose, 1-1/2 ounces. Simple tincture of benzoin, one-half ounce.
After rubbing this into the skin with the finger tips and letting the cuticle absorb it well, apply a pure vegetable powder.
When the face becomes sunburned apply plenty of cold cream. But be sure that it is your own home-made cream, else you may be putting lard or something else on your face, which, in a most amazing short time, will produce a thrifty growth of tiny, fine hairs. And then you will wish you had never lived to see the coming of the "happy summertime."
Lastly, to remove freckles, quickly apply lemon juice with a camel's hair complexion brush. Let the juice dry in and massage with creme marquise.
Whenever women fail for congenial topics of dispute they can always fall back on the old topic of the best face-powder.
"I have used that delightful velvety 'Blush Rose' for years and years," says Mrs. Lovely, "and I think it is simply fine."
"Blush Rose?" shrieks Mrs. Pretty. "Why, I wouldn't use that for a-an-any-thing! My husband's brother-in-law, who worked in a drug store, once told me that 'Blush Rose' had lead and bismuth and ever so many other dreadful, awful things in it. Now, I dote on 'Velvety Carnation.' I know that that is perfectly pure. And it sticks just like your husband's relatives—simply never lets go!"
"'Velvety Carnation!'" repeats Mrs. Lovely. "You poor child. I don't wonder that you have such a time with your skin—" And so on until both charming disputants march airily away, each deciding that the other will soon be in her grave if such foolishness in the choice of a face powder is continued.
Women need not discuss finances or peace policies. They have their own little face-powder question that is good for all time to come, no matter whether we all go and settle in the Philippines or hand these interesting islands back to Spain with a "much-obliged, thank you." I have often thought how thankful we should all be that we are not Dahomey ladies, who have no opportunities for these pleasant little arguments. We may have to put up with a good many discomforts in our life of civilization, but we don't miss quite everything in the way of joys.
The formula for face powder which I am about to give is not only perfectly harmless, but of exceptional medicinal qualities. Nothing is better for an irritated skin than boracic acid, so the girl with facial eruptions can feel perfectly safe in using this powder. Oxide of zinc, in the quantity given, can do no possible injury; many of the manufactured preparations being made almost entirely of this ingredient.
Poudre des Fees (Fairy Powder):
1 ounce Lubin's rice powder. 3 ounces best, purest oxide of zinc. 1/2 ounce carbonate of magnesia, finely powdered. 20 grains boracic acid. 2 drops attar of rose.
When purchasing your ingredients ask the druggist to powder each separately in a mortar. First put your rice powder through a fine sieve, and then through bolting cloth. Do the same thing with the oxide of zinc, the magnesia and the boracic acid before adding them to the rice powder. When all are combined put twice through bolting cloth. After each sifting throw away any tiny particles that remain. It is very necessary that all the ingredients be made fine and soft and fluffy. Add the oil of rose last. By putting in the tiniest suggestion of finely powdered carmine you can get the cream powder, and by putting in still more you will have the rose or pink tint. While blonds, with clear, perfect skins, can use either the white or the pink very nicely, cream is the more acceptable color for brunettes.
5 ounces of talcum. 5 ounces of rice flour. 2-1/2 ounces of the best zinc oxide. 2 drops each of oils of bergamot, ylang-ylang and neroli.
The three main ingredients should be sifted over and over again, and if flesh color is desired, a little carmine must be added, the sifting continuing. Then add the perfumes and sift again, so as to avoid any lumps.
A formula for violet powder is given in the chapter on perfumes.
It doesn't matter whether or not you are afflicted with wrinkles, it's an excellent thing to give them some attention. Freckles are bothersome and provoking, and red noses make us as cross as black cats, but wrinkles!—they are the worst of all, for with them comes the sickening realization that the freshness of one's complexion is beginning to fade, and that youth itself is slipping away.
It is before the lines really appear that they should be considered, for then they're much more easily managed than when they—with their sisters and their cousins and their aunts, to say nothing of grandmas and babies—settle down for a nice long stay. Wrinkles are worse than bogie men, and "they'll git you if yo' don't watch out!"
Wrinkles are unnecessary evils—anyway, until one gets to be a hundred or so. That is, if you are so lucky as not to have troubles enough to keep you awake six nights out of seven, which seems to be the case with most people these days. Even then perhaps you can deceive yourself into believing that life is one big, lovely, roseate dream after all. Worry is a paragon of a wrinkle-maker. And, by the way, did you ever know why?
It is not so much for the reason that screwing up the face traces lines and seams in the skin as it is because the fretting upsets the stomach. It has a most depressing effect on that hyper-sensitive organ. Haven't you often noticed what a finicky, doleful sort of an appetite you have whenever you are indulging in a fit of the blues? The physiological explanation is the very close alliance of the great sympathetic nerves, which make up a little telegraph line more perfect and complete than any yet constructed by man. The poor, worn brain is fagged and tired. This fact is immediately communicated to the stomach, which, in true sisterly fashion, mopes and sulks out of sheer sympathy.
Then, of course, with an unruly digestion, all sorts of complications begin. The eyes get dull, the face thin and sallow, the complexion bad, and the flesh flabby. At that stage the wrinkles, with their aforesaid relatives, sail in upon the scene. And there you are! And—ten chances to one—it's a cheerful time you'll have getting rid of them.
That's why I say you must take them in hand before they arrive, and dole out discouragement to them by correct living and the necessary facial massage.
The skin of the face wrinkles exactly for the same reason and by the same mechanism that the skin of an apple wrinkles. The pulp of the fruit under the skin begins to shrink and contract as the juices dry up, and, quite naturally, the skin which was once taut and smooth, now being much too large for the contents, puckers up and lays itself in tiny folds. It's the same way with the skin of the face. When the subcutaneous fat of the cheeks and brow—which, when we are young and plump and rosy, is abundant—begins to be absorbed and to gradually disappear, then the cuticle straightway starts in to shrivel and fall into minute lines.
So it is wisdom to anticipate the coming of wrinkles and lay plans to ward them off. Live after strict rules of hygiene, as told in the chapters on Exercise, Baths, Sleep, Diet, and Dress. Have a tonic method of living. Invigorate your muscles and the skin of your body by sponge baths and brisk drying with a coarse bath towel. Friction is a great beautifier. Eat only that food which is going to do you some good, and take your exercise with regularity. Add to this a happy, hopeful disposition of mind and a big fat jar of pure, properly-made skin food, then read the chapter on massage and follow the instructions given therein. If any wrinkles or crow's feet come and lodge with you after that, then I'll take off my hat to their perseverance.
RECIPES FOR THE COMPLEXION.
In compounding face creams one cannot be too careful and painstaking. It is much like preparing a salad or a charlotte russe, either of which can be utterly ruined by lack of care—or too much fussing. The creme marquise is especially difficult for the woman who tumbles things together in a haphazard fashion. Unless compounded just so carefully, it will be likely to crumble, but when done according to directions it makes a cosmetic that is absolutely unrivaled. The other creams which follow this formula are more easily made for the reason that they contain less fats and are therefore less apt to separate from the rose-water. The creme marquise is a whiter, harder preparation than any of the others.
1/4 ounce of white wax. 2-1/2 ounces of spermaceti. 2-1/2 ounces of oil of sweet almonds. 1-1/2 ounces of rose-water. 1 drop attar of rose.
Shave the wax and spermaceti, and melt in a porcelain kettle. Add the almond oil and heat slightly, but do not let boil. Remove from the stove and add the rose-water, to which the perfume has been added. Beat until creamy, and put in jars. Cease beating before the mass becomes really hard. Be sure that your druggist weighs the wax carefully, for too much of this ingredient will spoil the creme by making it too firm. This delightful preparation should be applied immediately after washing the face, but can be used at any time. It is absolutely harmless. Get the best materials—and see that your almond oil is the real thing instead of a cheap imitation, which acts almost as poison to the skin.
White wax, 1/2 ounce. Spermaceti, 1/2 ounce. Sweet almond oil, 2-1/2 ounces. Strawberry juice, 3/4 of an ounce. Benzoin, 3 drops.
Take large fresh berries. Wash and drain thoroughly. Macerate and strain the juice through a piece of muslin. Heat the white wax, the spermaceti and the oil of almonds. Remove from the fire and add the strawberry juice very quickly. Beat briskly till fluffy, adding the three drops of benzoin just as the mixture begins to cool. Put in jars and keep in a very cool place. This quantity will fill a three-ounce jar. Apply every night as a cold cream. This is particularly excellent for sunburn.
Orange Flower Skin Food:
Spermaceti, 1/2 ounce. White wax, 1/2 ounce. Sweet almond oil, 2 ounces. Lanoline, 1 ounce. Cocoanut oil, 1 ounce. Tincture benzoin, 3 drops. Orange flower water, 1 ounce.
Melt the first five ingredients in a porcelain kettle. Take from the fire, and add the benzoin and the orange flower water, fluffing it with an egg-beater till cold. This recipe will make five ounces, quite enough to prepare at one time. For those who dislike oily creams it will be found delightful, as the skin absorbs it. The mission of the skin food is to do away with wrinkles. Massage must, of course, accompany its application. For hollow cheeks or dry, rough skin it is unexcelled. Its fattening qualities plumpen the tissues and so raise the lines of the face and gradually obliterate them.
Spermaceti, 1 ounce. White wax, 1 ounce. Oil sweet almonds, 5 ounces. Rose-water, 1-3/5 ounces. Powdered borax, 20 grains. Essence of clover, 5 drops.
Dissolve the borax in the rose-water and add the essence of clover. Melt the white wax, the spermaceti and the oil of almonds, using a porcelain kettle, as tin or iron is injurious to the oils. When melted remove from the heat and add the rose-water (all at once). Then beat quickly with an egg-beater until the mixture is cold and firm. It is impossible for the rose-water to separate from the oils if directions are carefully followed. The recipe given above will fill an eight-ounce jar, so perhaps one-half the quantity should be tried at first.
Camphor Cold Cream: Take one-half ounce each of spermaceti and white wax, melt and add three and one-fourth ounces of oil of sweet almonds, then add one-fourth ounce of camphor, broken into small pieces, and stir until dissolved. Then pour in one and one-half ounces of distilled water in which fifteen grains of borax have been dissolved. Stir until well mixed and beginning to thicken, then add four drops oil of rose, one drop oil of rose geranium, one drop oil of ylang-ylang, two drops tincture of musk, and two drops tincture of civet. Continue to beat until cold.
White wax, 1/2 ounce. Spermaceti, 1/2 ounce. Orange flower water, 2 ounces. Almond oil, 4 ounces.
Melt all together gently and pour into cups to cool. When cold pour off the water, remelt, and pour into jars to keep.
Two tablespoonfuls fine oatmeal.
Boil and strain. When cold add
One dessertspoonful of wine (white Rhine preferred), and the juice of one lemon.
Fluff over the face before going to bed, not wiping it all away. This is excellent for sallow complexion.
Rose Toilet Vinegar: This toilet vinegar is made by taking one ounce of dried rose leaves, pouring over them half a pint of white wine vinegar, and letting stand for two weeks. Then strain, throwing rose leaves away, and add half a pint of rose-water. It can be used either pure or diluted, and is especially good for an oily skin.
Lavender Lotion (to soften water):
4 ounces of alcohol. 1 ounce of ammonia. 1 dram oil of lavender.
Add one teaspoonful to two quarts of water.
A stringent Wash: Place in a half-pint bottle one ounce of cucumber juice, half fill bottle with elderflower water, and add two tablespoonfuls of eau de cologne. Shake well and add very slowly one-half ounce simple tincture of benzoin, shaking the mixture now and then. Fill bottle with elderflower water.
This is very whitening, but its best mission is that of making large, open pores less noticeable and disfiguring.
Oil of sweet almonds, 2 ounces. Fresh cucumber juice, 10 ounces. White castile soap, 1/4 ounce. Essence of cucumbers, 3 ounces. Tincture of benzoin, 38 drops.
Get the juice by slicing the cucumbers, unpeeled, boiling in a little water and straining carefully. The essence is made by mixing the juice with equal parts of alcohol. First dissolve the soap in the essence, add the juice, then the sweet almond oil very slowly, and finally the benzoin. Shake well for half an hour if possible. This is a most effective remedy for tan and sunburn.
CARE OF THE HAIR
Her luxuriant hair—it was like the sweep of a swift wing in visions.—Willis.
Pretty hair can redeem a whole host of irregular features. With little waves and kinks, and clinging, cunning tendrils that lie close to the temples, a "crown of glory" will transform an ordinarily plain woman into one passably good to look upon. If you doubt this, just create a mental picture of yourself in the last stages of a shampoo! Isn't it awful? The damp, straight locks hanging in one's eyes, and the long, fluffy strands, that aren't fluffy at all but as unwavy as a shower bouquet of macaroni, and the tag ends and whisps sprouting out here and there like a box full of paint brushes six ways for Sundays—well, one is always mentally thankful at such times that one's "dearest and best" isn't anywhere around to behold the horrible sight. But after awhile the long, damp tresses are patted and fussed over until they are dry, and then they're combed out and curled up and kinked and twisted, and, oh, my countrymen, what a change is there! The harsh lines of the mouth are softened, the eyes look bright and pretty, the complexion comes out in all its sweetness like the glorious rainbow of a week ago.
It makes all the difference in the world!
But of course you will straightway exclaim: "That's all right to say about those lucky girls who have nice long tresses, but how about us poor mortals whose 'crown' consists of eighteen hairs of eighteen different lengths, and all of them falling out as fast as they can?" To be sure, conditions do—once in a while—alter cases. But I claim, and always will claim—till the day comes when beauty matters won't matter at all—that every woman can have pretty hair if she will take the time and use the good, uncommon sense which seems necessary to acquire it.
You know, and I know, and every other woman knows, that women treat their hair as they treat their watches—to unpardonable abuse. Of course, one's hair isn't dropped on the sidewalk or prodded with stickpins until the mainspring breaks, but it is subjected to even deeper and more trying insults. One night, when the little woman is in a real good, amiable mood, the tresses are carefully taken down, brushed, doctored with a nice "smelly" tonic, patted caressingly and gently plaited in nice little braids. The next night it is crimped until each individual hair has acute curvature of the spine; then it is burned off in chunks and triangles and squares; it is yanked out by the handfuls, it is wadded and twisted and tugged at and built up into an Eiffel tower, and—after a few hours of such torture—the little woman takes out the sixty odd hairpins, shakes it loose, gets every hair into a three-ply tangle of its own, and then hops into bed! When she gets up in the morning she pulls out and combs out more hair than she can make grow in after seven months' careful treatment.
I tell you that is the one great trouble with women. They will not stick to one particular method. If they feel like fussing and coddling they will, but if they're tired or cross or in a hurry to get to sleep, well, they just let their hair take care of itself. One's tresses need regular care just as do plants or babies or people. Make up your mind that you have hit upon the best way to treat your hair and then stick to it, no matter whether school keeps or not.
To disentangle the hair use only a coarse comb, being sure that every tooth is smooth and firm, so that it will not tear or split the silky fibers. The fine comb is a thing of horror, and has no place upon the dressing-table. It irritates the scalp, bringing forth a prosperity year crop of dandruff and attendant unhappiness. Added to this, it splits the hair shafts and injures the roots.
Brushing the hair is sadly overestimated. A dozen or two strong strokes each night will remove the day's dust and dirt, will promote circulation and sweep out flaky matter. The brushing must be done firmly but gently, and not with the violent methods of a carpet sweeping machine. Really, it is simply appalling the way some women dress their hair. A few tugs and yanks with a comb of uneven, unsmooth teeth, a scattering brushing back of scolding locks, some singes here and there with a red-hot curling iron, a twist, a roll, a pat and the application of a dozen hairpins, and the hairdressing for the day is done.
Instead, the comb should be used with gentleness, not dug into the scalp, as is the practice of some mistaken beskirted mortals. There is an old saying to this effect: "Wash the scalp, but not the hair; comb the hair, but not the scalp," which saying, I leave to you, is good enough to paste in one's hat—or rather on the back of one's hair brush.
After the brushing each night it is an excellent plan to part the hair into small strands and wipe off with a cloth slightly moistened. This is a sort of sponge bath which tones and invigorates the growth.
Combs should never be washed, but cleaned with a stout thread. Brushes, however, must have frequent washings in warm ammonia water, taking care to keep the backs dry. They should never be put in the sunlight when wet, but left to dry in an open window.
Curling irons certainly do heaps of damage. Any woman who has ever found herself suddenly bereft of a nice fluffy bang, and in its place a stubby little burned-off fringe, will say that this is true, while those numerous hair-crimping girls who have known the humiliating and painful experience of having a hot curling iron do frolics down their backs can add startling testimony, and, what is more, show disfiguring scars as proof.
If the iron is used carefully and at proper heat, the hair is not injured. But certain it is that when the iron is smoking-hot it kills the life and lovely texture of the hair. Besides, how very ugly and unkempt those burned little ends look! It was surely not of such that Pope wrote:
Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare, And beauty draws us with a single hair.
Soft papers in which the short locks are wound is a good method for the girl who singes her top-knot every time she tries to curl a few little tendrils. Kid curlers are all right, providing the hair does not become entangled in the small ends, and so have to be torn when the hair is taken down. There is a certain secret in the hair-curling process which is too intangible for written description. The hair must not be wound tightly and the effect must be loose, fluffy and natural.
The great necessity for keeping the hair perfectly trimmed is to rid it of the split ends, for hair cannot be nice under such conditions. When the nourishment within each hair shaft does not extend the full length, then the hair cracks into several finer hairs, and one of these perhaps resumes the growth. That leaves a rough, bad shaft. The best way to keep the hair clipped properly is to twist it in rolls and to singe off all the little ends that stick out.
It is almost impossible to state positively how often the hair should be shampooed. Oily hair needs a thorough washing every two weeks, while drier tresses should not be given a bath oftener than once a month. Half the reason for falling hair, or hair that seems never to grow, is caused by improper shampooing. The scalp must be kept scrupulously clean. And I doubt very much whether the soap and soiled water can be thoroughly rinsed out without the use of running water, the bath spray being the most convenient means of getting this. How often, after washing one's hair, one finds a white, sticky substance clinging to the teeth of the comb! This should never be, and the hair must be continually washed until it is fluffy and soft and absolutely without any suggestion of the shampoo. When the hair is very oily a dessertspoonful of ammonia and a pinch of borax should be added to two quarts of warm water. This will soften the water and make the soap more easily rinsed out of the hair. The liquid verbena soap makes a delightful shampoo. Recipe can be found at the end of this chapter.
When shampooing, rub the lather through the strands gently, and with the finger tips remove all the little particles of dust and dandruff which may be clinging to the scalp. And may I gently suggest that you do not go at the task as if you were scrubbing a grease spot out of a rug? You must neither dig the scalp with your nails nor wring out your hair as you would a wash-rag. Try not to get your hair into a more mussed-up and tangled condition than is absolutely necessary. After using the bath spray liberally dry with warm towels, then—if possible—get some one to vigorously massage the scalp. This will almost invariably prevent one from taking cold. Never begin combing out your locks until they are nearly dry. A sun bath of twenty minutes is a good tonic.
Occasionally an egg shampoo is more beneficial than the usual one of soap. This is especially true when one has just recovered from a fever or when one's scalp is in an unhealthy condition or afflicted with dandruff. The rosemary formula is very effective.
Dandruff is nearly always the result of neglect. If the scalp is washed as frequently as it should be, dandruff is not so likely to accumulate, although it is a perfectly natural formation. When the hair is excessively oily or the scalp unusually crowded with dandruff, the weekly shampoo should not be neglected.
Blond hair should always be washed with the yolk of an egg, as that will make it keep its golden tints. Mixing the egg with a pinch of borax and a pint of warm water is a good plan.
Hair dyeing is one of the mistakes of unwise femininity. All dyes containing either mercury or lead are very dangerous. But why should women dye their hair? Goodness only knows. One might as well ask why women fib about their age, or why women shop three hours just to buy a pair of dress shields. There are some questions of life which we are destined never to solve. There is nothing lovelier than white hair. Combine with it a fine complexion and a pair of animated brown eyes and you have as picturesque a beauty as ever awakened emotions in the heart of man. But, nevertheless, women moan and wail over every stray gray hair. They go off downtown and proceed to lug home a cartload of mysterious bottles which they keep religiously away from hubby's investigating eye. I won't tell the result of the experience, for it is too well known. It is a certain episode through which half the women of forty years have passed—sooner or later. When comes the desire to transform those little threads of silver into deeper shades remember the charming lines of Bancroft:
"By common consent gray hairs are a crown of glory, the only object of respect that can never excite envy."
Unknown washes, as well as dyes, do great mischief. Good health, wholesome food and proper care of the scalp are the three most important essentials toward beautiful and luxuriant hair. There are some simple lotions, harmless and easily prepared, which will assist the growth and nourish the roots.
DRESSING THE HAIR.
It has always been a double-turreted wonder to me why romancers are forever harping about heroines with "tresses in artistic disarray." All the tresses in such condition that I have ever gazed upon have looked most slovenly and ofttimes positively waggish. How any one can think that a girl with a tangled braid hanging down her back, a little wad over one ear, a ragged, jagged fringe edging its way into her eyes and half a dozen little wisps standing out here and there in haystack fashion—how one can even fancy that such a head as that is pretty is more than I can explain. Clothes may make the man, but rational hairdressing goes a pretty long way toward making the woman. Observe my lady in curl-papers and my lady togged up for a dinner party. Comment is unnecessary, for you have all seen her—or yourselves, which is quite the same thing.
Those fortunate women to whom straight hair is becoming should never indulge in curls. There is nothing prettier than hair drawn loosely away from the face. It leaves displayed those lovely lines on the temples about which artists and poets go mad. As to the style of dressing one's hair, that must be left solely to one's taste. If the lines of the head, the shape of the face and the hair itself are studied a bit the solution of the most becoming coiffure is very easily solved.
A head that looks like a wax image in a hairdresser's window is certainly anything but pretty. Neither is it artistic, for the correctly crimped and waved side-locks are too mechanically planned to look at all natural. To nearly all women the plainer the mode of hairdressing the more becoming it is. That does not mean that you should comb your hair straight back and wad it into a funny little bump. Quite the contrary. Comb it back if you will, but have the coil loose and graceful. It is very bad for the hair either to be pulled back tightly or to be closely arranged. Ventilation is necessary, and, by the way, caressing and smoothing the hair with the fingers is a good tonic for its growth and beauty.
A few loose short curls about the face seem necessary to the good looks of the majority of women, but the heavy bang was shelved years ago. Wasn't it hideous? But perhaps you are too young to remember. Get out the family album, then, and see for yourself.
There are certain rules for hairdressing that were just as good in Eve's hairpinless age as they will be a hundred years hence. By keeping these rules in mind you can make a picture or a cartoon of yourself, just as you wish. The one thing to remember is that the lines and proportions of the face must be carefully considered and a mode of hairdressing adopted which will lessen and not exaggerate those lines and proportions. Be alert to your defects, and do not forget that what may be essentially appropriate for one woman will be dismally inappropriate for another.
Suppose a woman has a square, heavy jaw. She is just the one who flings defiance at prevailing fashions and clings to the dear old straight bangs deep over her eyes. The heavy chin makes a straight line, the heavy fringe makes another, and the result is that her face is as perfectly square as rules and measurements could make it. Let this deluded lady shake herself together and mend her ways. By making the top of her head appear wider the broad jaws will—according to all laws of reasoning—seem to be narrower. A few dainty puffs towering up prettily and a soft, fluffy fringe left flying out over the ears will not only add grace to the forehead but lighten the heaviness of the lower part of the face. A bow of ribbon or any other perky little headdress will detract from the straight cross lines.
Then there is the woman with the sharp chin, the woman of the wedge-shaped face. She invariably wears her hair over her ears and so elongates the V lines of her chin. By arranging the hair close to the sides of her head and putting it in a soft low coil on the top a much more pleasing effect can be got.
The same rule for the heavy-chinned woman applies to the chubby, fat-faced feminine mortal. The "roly-poly" visage looks less "roly-poly" when the front hair is drawn back and up in pompadour style and the long tresses piled into a nice little tower. The pompadour mode of hairdressing also holds good with the girl whose eyes are set too high. This helps along the old-time idea that the eyes of a woman should be in the middle of her head—that is, that they must be set midway between the bottom of the chin and the top of the hair.
For the women with eyes set too low an exactly opposite arrangement should be adopted. Instead of drawing the hair away from the face, bring it down to it. Part the hair and let it come low on the temples and brow.
I have never seen anything or anybody look much funnier than does a woman with a sharp-pointed nose and a pysche knot. The nose bumps out in the front and the wad of hair sticks out in the back with a similarity that is positively convulsing to any one with half an eye for the humorous. It gives one an idiotic longing to take a measuring rule and find out the exact distance from "tip to tip." Another waggish picture is made by the snub-nosed girl with her hair arranged a la Madonna. These long hirsute lamberquins on either side of her face make the poor little nose appear even smaller, like unto a wee dab of putty or a diminutive biscuit.
Don't caricature your facial defects. Don't get the lines of your head and face "out of drawing." Don't twist your hair up after every new fashion that chances to come along. Study the contour of your head from every side and then adopt that style of hairdressing which at once brings out the good points and conceals the bad ones. The most becoming coiffure is the one that gives the most artistic balance to the face. What will do for the fat, dumpy Miss Plump will make a human joke out of the lank, willowy Miss Slender.
If there is one blemish more than another that gnaws out our very heart supports and gives a good hard case of nervous chills, it is this. What woman can look at another so afflicted without a feeling of deep pity? There is something so masculine and altogether impossible in a bearded lady, even if she be merely a poor imitation of the real exhibited thing.
Unless proper means are taken to abolish it, superfluous hair should be left religiously alone. The more it is pulled out or irritated the lustier and heartier will be the growth that follows. As for cutting it—well! who does not know what the result is sure to be? A challenging Kaiser William mustache, maybe, or perchance a Herr Most style of hirsute trimmings. In applying creams of any sort to the face, it is wisdom to leave the upper lip untouched with the cosmetic, although one may feel perfectly safe in using home-made emollients which do not contain animal fats. Heat, rubbing and friction are all conducive to the pests, and such oils and fats as vaseline, glycerin, olive oil and mutton tallow or suet should never be used. Depilatories likewise should be shunned. The powdered preparations are usually composed either of sulphite of arsenic or caustic lime, and merely burn the hair off to the surface of the skin. It seems quite impossible for any such powder to kill or dissolve the hair roots without injury. The sticky plasters, made of galbanum or pitch, and which are known as "heroic" measures, are equally undesirable, since they are not permanent cures any more than the depilatory powders. The worst feature of these cures is that for every hair pulled out or burnt off a coarser one takes its place, and for every tiny, downy growth a fully developed hair appears. Of course, the plaster removes this soft lanuginous growth with the hardier one, and for that reason should be left severely alone. The tweezers are therefore less objectionable than the plaster, but this is such a painful way of getting happiness that I cannot advise it.
There is no doubt but that electrolysis is the best cure. The only objection to this is that an incompetent operator will cause her patron considerable pain, and will also be likely to scar the skin. A dainty little woman who has been an expert in this work for years tells me that it is not at all necessary for the beauty patient to hold the little handles—I know not the technical term—of the battery, although this causes a little more careful work on the part of the operator. At the same time, it makes the operation less painful, and really not at all hard to endure. The general desire to have the work done quickly causes the scars. If the hairs are picked out here and there and not close together the skin can heal and the rest of the horrors be destroyed at the next sitting. To remove a very prolific growth several "seances" will be necessary. But the result will be clear, unscarred skin, and no future chance of the wee worries coming back to bring heart-hurts and mental agony.
To those who have any timidity at all about the electric needle, there is peroxide of hydrogen and diluted ammonia. Use one as a lotion one night and the other the next. This will often prove a permanent cure, while a better, less noticeable state is certain. The remedy is one, however, that will take time and patience. The superfluous hair will gradually become light-colored and almost white, and the ammonia will, if used persistently, deaden the growth. Do not expect the bleach to take effect right away, for it won't. If the skin is at all irritated rub on pure, thick cream.
RECIPES FOR THE HAIR.
Liquid Verbena Soap: Cut in small pieces one-half pound of pure imported castile soap. Put in porcelain kettle with two quarts of warm water and dissolve by boiling. When cold it should be of the consistency of rather thin cream; if thicker, add more water. Stir in one-fourth pint of alcohol and let stand several days in a warm room. All the alkali and impurities will settle to the bottom of the bottle, leaving the liquid as clear as crystal. Pour off carefully, leaving the residue for kitchen purposes. Perfume with a few drops of oil of verbena, or any scent one may prefer. A small quantity of this used in the shampoo is delightfully cleansing.
Shampoo for Dandruff:
Yolk of one egg. One pint of warm water. One ounce spirits of rosemary.
Follow with thorough washing with liquid verbena soap.
Egg Shampoo: Shake the yolk of an egg in a pint of alcohol, strain and bottle. To a bowl of warm water add two tablespoonfuls of the liquid.
Dandruff Cure and Hair Tonic:
Forty-eight grains resorcin. One-fourth ounce glycerine. Alcohol sufficient to fill a two-ounce bottle.
Apply every night to the scalp, rubbing it in well. This is good for falling hair.
Lemon Hair Wash (for blond tresses):
One ounce salts of tartar. Juice of three lemons. One quart of water.
Apply a cupful to the hair and scalp just before the shampoo.
Quinine Tonic for Oily Hair:
One-half pint alcohol. One-half pint water. Thirty grains of quinine.
Apply every other night, rubbing into the scalp.
Hair-curling Fluid: Mix one and one-half drams of gum tragacanth with three ounces of proof spirits and seven ounces of water. Perfume with a drop or two of attar of rose. If too thick add a little rose-water.
"I take thy hand, this hand, As soft as dove's down, and as white as it; Or Ethiopia's tooth, or the fann'd snow, That's bolted by the northern blast twice o'er."
Pretty hands—like sweet tempers and paragons of husbands—are largely a matter of care and cultivation. Much more so, in fact, than most of us are aware. While tapering fingers and perfect palms count for considerable, the general beauty of the hand lies not in its correct outline so much as in the whiteness and velvety softness of the skin and the perfectly trimmed, well-kept nails. I have seen hands as plump as rotund little butter rolls, with fingers like wee sausages, and I have also gazed upon long, slender hands as perfect of form and proportion as any hand ever put into a Gainsborough masterpiece. And both have been called beautiful. Of course, we all know that the Gainsborough model is perfection, but nevertheless we can content ourselves with the knowledge that really ideal hands are as rare as a few other nice things in this world, and that we can struggle along very well with our good imitations providing we are able to keep them clean and well groomed.
The poets have raved their wildest over the beauty of women's hands from the time when Adam had his first desire to write jingles—if he ever was so silly—to the present day of Kipling's entrancing verse. Shakespeare in his many tributes to the unfortunate young Juliet spoke of the "white wonder" of her hands, and there has probably never lived a versifier who has not, at one time or another, gone into paroxysms of poetry over "lovely fingers," and "dainty palms," and all that. And I don't wonder, do you? for a woman's hand—when it is beautiful—is certainly a most adorable thing. It should be soft and yielding and caressing—with small, dainty joints, a satiny surface and carefully manicured nails of shell-pink tint.
First of all, tight sleeves and very tight gloves must be condemned. Next, relaxation and repose are to be cultivated. A beautiful hand that fidgets continually is not to be admired for anything beyond its ceaseless efforts to be doing. Ben Jonson once said: "A busy woman is a fearful nuisance," and it's more than likely that he had in mind some fussy dame whose nervous fingers were everlastingly picking at things and continually on the wiggle.
The hand can easily be taught to move gracefully. The ordinary Delsarte movements of swinging the wrist backward and forward, of raising the hands high above the head, and the general exercises for the cultivation of gesture and expression are all good and can bring about the habit of spontaneous relaxation and activity. No gestures at all, though, are better than awkward ones.
Large joints are very unsightly. It is said of the Countess of Soissons that she never closed her hands for fear of hardening the joints. Funny, isn't it, to what extremes those old-time ladies went? And yet the Nordauites say we are degenerates!
Of Mme. Crequy it is recorded that "she was a woman most resolute," and in proof of that assertion the chronicler says that if no lackey were within call she opened the doors herself—without fear of blistering her hands! It was the desire for dainty, delicate white hands that first gave nice little boys the task of trotting after stately dames and carrying my lady's prayerbook or fan. Fancy one of those porcelain-like creatures of helplessness hanging onto the strap in a State Street cable car! Perish the thought! And what a jolly time Mme. Crequy would have had could she have indulged in a Christmas shopping scrimmage. After a few tussels with the swing doors that bar our entrance to the big stores, Mme. Crequy would have blistered her hands to the queen's taste and the poultice stage. There's no chance of a doubt about that.
BATHING THE HANDS.
With the hands, as with almost everything else in the strife toward beauty culture, cleanliness is the first great essential. You cannot keep your hands smooth and pretty without an occasional hard scrubbing. Unless the hands are unusually moist naturally, hot water should not be used. Have the bath tepid—just warm enough to be cleansing. Say a fond farewell to all highly-scented soaps and bring yourself down to a steady and constant faith in the pure white imported castile. I doubt very much if there is a soap manufactured which can equal this for its harmlessness and purity. The best way is to buy a large bar, letting it dry thoroughly, and cutting off small slices as they are needed.
Never fail to let the soapy water out of the basin and fill again with a clear rinsing bath. When drying be sure that the towel is not coarse or rough, and that it absorbs every particle of moisture. Very gently press back the cuticle around the nail. A little orange-wood stick or a piece of ivory will assist you when the skin is inclined to stick close to the nail. Let the hands have their most cleansing bath just before you go to bed, and then is the time to apply your cold cream or cosmetic jelly, which—in nearly all cases—is all that is needed to keep the hands soft and nice.
Wearing gloves at night is very uncomfortable and quite unnecessary. Lotions can be put on an hour or so before one goes to bed, and by that time they are usually pretty well absorbed into the cuticle.
If the hands are red use lemon juice, applying cold cream as soon as the juice is dry. For callous spots rub with pumice stone.
CARE OF THE FINGER NAILS.
There has been a great change in manicuring methods of late. The old steel implements of torture are banished, and the ivory instruments have long since taken their place. Steel should never be put to the fingers, except to use the scissors when the nails are too long, or to trim the skin in order to free it from hangnails. The best operators no longer cut away the cuticle about the base of the nail, and the manicure who does that nowadays is not a student of the French method of manicuring, which supplanted every other some time ago. The same effect—and better, in fact—is got by simply pressing back the flesh with the end of an ivory or orange-wood instrument. The gouging and snipping, so irritating to a person of nerves, is thus avoided. However, if you only know how, you can manicure your nails at home and they will look every bit as well as if you trotted downtown and spent half a day and a nice big dollar.
Fill a china wash basin with a suds of warm water and castile soap. Soak the hands for five minutes. With an old soft linen towel push back the skin around the nails. If there are hangnails snip them away carefully. Cutting the cuticle at the base of the nail was a barbaric feature of a new science which disappeared when it became more rational and refined. Never, under any circumstances, must the inside of the nail be scraped with a sharp instrument. Another thing to be avoided is the vulgar application of pink nail cosmetics. Who has not seen a pretty hand made hideous by nails all gummed up with red paste? Oh, yes, and claw-like nails! They, too, have been "called in," now that progress, good sense and civilization go marching on at a two-step pace.
The nails should be trimmed the same shape as the finger tips, and left neither too long nor too short. There's a happy medium that is easily discovered, because of its usefulness, its convenience, and its artistic beauty. A too-highly polished surface is also a vulgarity invented by the old-time manicure. A little powder rubbed briskly on the nail with a heavily padded polisher is a great improvement, but when the nails shine with door-knob brilliancy it's high time to call a halt. As for jagged, uneven nails—there's no excuse for them.
RECIPES FOR THE HANDS.
Cosmetic Jelly: Take thirty grains of gum tragacanth, soak in seven ounces of rose-water for two days, strain through muslin and add one-half ounce each of glycerin and alcohol, previously mixed. This dries in a moment after application.
White wax, one-half ounce. Spermaceti, one ounce. Oil of sweet almonds, four and one-half ounces. Glycerin, one and one-half ounces. Oil of rose geranium, eight drops.
Melt the oils. Remove from fire and beat in the glycerin and perfume. Stir briskly until cold and white.
Benzoinated mutton tallow, three ounces. Oil of sweet almonds, one ounce. Glycerin, two drams. Rose-water, two drams. Oil rose geranium, twenty drops.
Heat the tallow and oil of almonds in one vessel and the other three ingredients in another. Mix the two and stir until cold. On account of the mutton tallow, which might possibly cause a growth of superfluous hair, this cream is not desirable as a face cosmetic. The benzoinated mutton tallow can be made by taking one-half pound of the tallow and one-half ounce of the benzoin, and keeping at a high temperature until the alcohol has completely evaporated. Strain through muslin.
Orris root in fine powder, four ounces. Wheat flour, four ounces. White castile soap, powdered, one ounce. Powdered borax, one ounce. Oil of bitter almonds, ten drops. Oil of bergamot, one fluid dram. Tincture of musk, one-half fluid dram. Mix well and pass through a sieve.
To make the hands soft: Take one quart of warm water, and in it soak one-half pound of oatmeal over night, then strain and add one tablespoonful of lemon juice and one teaspoonful each of olive oil, rose-water, cologne, glycerin and diluted ammonia. Rub into the skin three times a day.
To plumpen the hands: One-fourth ounce tincture of benzoin, eight ounces of rose-water, and four ounces of refined linseed oil. Rub in morning and night. This is equally nice for the neck and arms.
Rose-water, three ounces. Bay rum, 2 ounces. Glycerin, one-half ounce. Borax, one-half ounce.
Blanched bitter almonds, three and one-half ounces. Powdered orris root, three-fourths ounce. Powdered white castile soap, three-fourths ounce. Glycerite of starch, one and three-fourths ounces. Clarified honey, one ounce. Oil of lavender flowers, one-half dram. Oil of bergamot, one-half dram. Oil of bitter almonds, four drops.
Beat the blanched almonds with a small quantity of water to a smooth paste, add the other ingredients, and mix intimately. A solution of cochineal will color it.
"Tell me, sweet eyes, from what divinest star did ye drink in your liquid melancholy?"—Bulwer Lytton.
You would think, wouldn't you, that women would be good to themselves? But they aren't. Not a bit of it! They abuse their complexions with cosmetics as deadly as Mrs. Youngwife's first plum pudding. They "touch up" their tresses with acids terrific enough to remove the spots of a leopard. They paddle around in the rain like ducks in petticoats and overshoes, and then sit down and chat with the woman next door for a whole hour, so that the damp skirts can more properly inaugurate a horrible cold that will settle down and stay for six weeks or more. And their eyes—but that's a story in itself.
An oculist once said that every dot in a woman's veil was worth $5 to the gentlemen of his profession. The eye is being constantly strained to avoid these obstacles in its way, and, of course, it is weakened and tortured. Think of a woman paying $1.50 for something that will, in time, destroy her eyesight just as sure as fate! I leave it to you if she's not a ninny? But women do these things in spite of everything—except when the overworked eyes begin to pain, and then they're glad enough to do almost anything for quick relief.
To keep one's eyes in good, healthy condition, rigid laws must be laid down and carried out, though the heavens fall and the floods descend and everything gets up and floats out into Lake Michigan. You must not read in bed, and you must kiss good-by to that becoming black veil of many dots and spots.
When you crawl out of bed in the morning do not dig your fists into your eyes and rub and rub until, when at last you do open those sleepy "windows of the soul," there is two of everything in the room, and big black spots are whizzing through the air. Pressure on the eyeball flattens the lens of the eye, and is sure to produce myopia, or shortsightedness. If the eyes are not inflamed at all they should be washed every morning in moderately cold water. In case of inflammation an application of hot water and milk in equal parts will be found most beneficial. Dry with a piece of old, soft linen, being sure to wipe inward toward the nose so as not to issue invitations to those horrors of womankind—crow's feet! Great care should be taken to keep all foreign substances, especially soap and other irritants, from the delicate skin of the lids, and particularly from the still more sensitive eyeballs.
Gaslight brings direful havoc to good eyes, especially when the flame is in a mood to flicker and splutter, as gas sometimes does. Take a faint, wavering light and a piece of embroidery and you have as fine a recipe for premature blindness as can be unearthed in a month of Sundays. Sewing in the twilight is equally disastrous, as is the habit of facing the light when writing or reading.
Few women realize the great need of resting the eyes occasionally, and the unhappy result of trying them to the utmost limit. The very moment that the eyeballs ache work should be suspended, no matter how necessary or urgent. Rose-water and plantain in equal parts makes a refreshing wash, and elderberry water is said to be good when there is a disagreeable itching.
If the eyes are hot and watery use hot water which has been poured over rose leaves. Witch hazel, that good old stand-by, is always refreshing and is especially good when combined with camphor water. It is best when applied at night and allowed to dry on the lids. Weak tea, which is the eye tonic of our grandmothers, is also splendid.
A lotion that has been tried over and over again and found excellent for tired and inflamed eyes, is made by rubbing one teaspoonful of pulverized boracic acid in fifteen drops of spirits of camphor and pouring over this two-thirds of a cup of hot water. Stir and strain, and use as needed.
To brighten the eyes, steep good green tea in rose-water, soak bits of absorbent cotton in the liquid, and bind on at night.
For granulated lids—and what is more maddening and painful?—make an alum paste. This is done by rubbing a small piece of alum into the white of an egg until a curd is formed. Apply to the lids upon retiring at night, tying a piece of soft linen over the eyes.
So many girls say that they look a fright in eyeglasses, and ask if they should wear them. Most certainly if the eyes are worn out and failing. An oculist of the very best reputation should be consulted. The fee does not exceed that of the quack, and the eyes are tested with greater thoroughness. Glasses must be chosen with the utmost care, as ill-fitting lenses can make a great deal of trouble. They are worse than no glasses at all. Then, after eyeglasses are put on, they must be changed now and then to suit the changing conditions of the sight. If the eyes are not in a bad state, wearing spectacles for a few months may strengthen them so that the glasses can be discarded. Also, if the oculist knows his business as he should, he can give you much valuable information concerning the care of your eyes.
THE GIRL WHO CRIES.
Now, about the girl who weeps. You don't see many of her these days. Women used to think that big, sad eyes, just ready to send forth a November gale of tears, was quite the proper thing, especially if there chanced to be a man about. Women of experience—and who should really know—say that tears are worn-out weapons for bringing masculinity to time. We later-day mortals go in for everything that bespeaks strength and backbone and a certain amount of strong-mindedness. When little wifey wife begins to snivel nowadays, Mr. Husband doesn't upset the furniture in his efforts to kiss away the tears. He is quite likely to straighten up and say: "Oh, brace up, Pauline!" or else, "Go look in the glass, my love, and see what a beautifully tinted nose you have!"
Yes, these are unromantic days, and there's no mistaking that fact! There's little room for the weepy, wailing woman whose big, inflated ambition is to dampen stunning neckties and deluge nicely laundered shirt-fronts. Of course, women must have their good, comfortable cries once in a while, but if they're wise they will retire to their own rooms and have it out by themselves. This is not quite so satisfactory as the old-time methods, for the reason that loneliness does not inspire an exhibition of woe, and if one doesn't look out one is apt to forget what one is boo-hooing about. But, take it all in all, it's safer and more in keeping with fin de siecle rules and regulations.
It used to be that a man would say: "Well, it breaks me all up to see a woman cry. I just can't stand it!" But now it's different. Instead, he remarks wearily: "Anything but a yowling woman!"
The poets have written lots of lovely things about tears. Notwithstanding that fact, there is an old German proverb: "Nothing dries sooner than a tear," which isn't so bad. And Byron, you know, said that the busy have no time for tears. Which, one must acknowledge, is quite true when one thinks how everybody is up and hustling these days. They're either wearing themselves down to skin and bone trying to earn a living and to reside in a $60 flat with electric lights and a real back yard, or else they're gradually killing themselves in an effort to enjoy life and to have a good, jolly time all around. However, that's neither here nor there. So let's jog along to more timely topics.
Who hasn't bumped into the woman who is woefully wandering around minus her eyelashes? My dear girls, you make the mistake of your life when you begin to snip and clip and tinker with those pretty little curtains that fall over your eyes. If eyelashes are cut in infancy they will grow longer, but when one gets big enough to wear long skirts and to do one's hair up high and wear a little bonnet with jet dofunnies on it, there's not much of a show for eyelashes being made longer by trimming. Touching the lashes with castor oil will increase the growth, and moistened salt is also good.
The eyebrows must be kept well brushed, and by persistent care can be pinched into graceful lines. A heavy eyebrow can be trained with really little effort. The brush should be small and rather stiff and firm. It will at once cleanse and invigorate.
I cannot approve of penciled eyebrows. A professional in the "make-up" art can touch the eyebrows here and there and bring a marvelous change. But for the ordinary amateur it is better left undone. Besides, if coloring is applied, it is only a short time before the hair will fall out. And then won't you look pretty?
Eyebrows that meet over the nose are really very disfiguring, and the cure is so simple that there is no need of this blemish, providing, of course, that one can afford to take the necessary treatment. The electric needle is the only sure and certain cure, and two sittings will be sufficient to remove them for good and always. Be sure that you patronize only the best operator, as you will surely regret it if you don't.
Sage tea, with a few drops of alcohol added, will darken the eyebrows without injury. Cocoanut oil makes an excellent tonic to increase the growth.
"Some ask'd how pearls did grow, and where? Then spoke I to my girl, To part her lips, and shew me there The quarrelets of pearl."
Femininity may be heir to many beauty woes, but ugly teeth is one trouble which is often caused by sheer neglect. How many of us can recall the days of childhood and girlhood without remembering the fibs we told to escape cleaning our teeth? The blessed mothers implored and begged and threatened and fussed, but we went our way joyful and serene, making all due preparations for future unhappiness. But when the girl began to think more about her personal appearance, and less of the frivolities of advanced babyhood—oh, that we were all back at that jolly time of life!—things were very different. The neglected teeth got good attention then, but often the mischief had already been done. I trust that the younger readers of this volume on beauty will remember that this is hopelessly true, and something not to be forgotten—like yesterday's toasted marshmallows or to-day's lesson in political economy.
I have heard it said that too much brushing will injure the teeth, but don't you believe it! The sooner you become accustomed to a moderately stiff brush, that will do its work well and thoroughly, the better. All foreign matter must be constantly removed, else decay will come as sure as fate. A perfect state of cleanliness cannot be unless the teeth have proper and constant attention. By this I do not mean that you must cease all other occupations and take up that of eternal scrubbing. Simply keep your teeth clean. Toothpicks must not be used excessively, cold water should not be applied—or very hot, either, for that matter—and all powders containing gritty substances must be tabooed. It is quite unnecessary for me to add that you must not bite thread or break nuts with your teeth, for all of us have had this bit of information dinned into our ears since the time when "little children should be seen and not heard" made life a worry and a care. I must confess, however, that I have seen women untie knots and do various bits of very remarkable mechanical work in this unique manner. My experience has been so broad in this particular line of observation that the expression "biting ten-penny nails" has never appeared to me to be much overdrawn.
If one seriously desires fine, beautiful, white teeth—and who doesn't?—one must treat them well. Just before going to bed, give them a thorough cleaning, using waxed dental floss to remove any large particles which may be between them. Use only a pure powder, the ingredients of which you know. Be sure that all powder is well rinsed away. See that your brush is kept scrupulously clean. Upon arising in the morning rinse the mouth with diluted listerine. This makes an excellent wash, especially when the gums are tender and liable to bleed. Brush the teeth with tepid water. After breakfast, luncheon and dinner, wash them again, letting the last cleansing be the most searching and thorough. Once in a while it is wisdom to squeeze a little lemon juice onto the brush. This will remove the yellow appearance that often comes, and will also keep your teeth free from tartar.
Every six months visit your dentist and have your teeth thoroughly examined. The smallest cavities should be filled at once, and the pain will be less than when these agonizing crevices get so large that you feel that it's a flip-up between going to a dentist or jumping into the lake. I know that most of us women are cowards when it comes to seances in dentist chairs, but all such things—like house-cleaning and writing letters to folks you don't like, and entertaining your husband's maiden aunt—all these things are heaps nicer when they're well over with. They are the events which we prefer should ornament the past instead of the future.
To Sweeten the Breath:
Alcohol, twelve ounces. Cinnamon, two and one-half drams. Ginger, one-half dram. Essence of peppermint, one dram. Cloves, one-eighth dram.
Mix and leave in infusion for two weeks in a tightly covered vessel; filter and bottle. Put one teaspoonful in a glass of water, and rinse the mouth with this every morning.
Recipe for violet tooth powder appears in the chapter on perfumes.
"Even from the body's purity, the mind Receives a secret sympathetic aid."
The road to beauty has never been better known than it was to the Greek and Roman women of centuries ago, yet they did not begin to have the resources in cosmetic arts that we have now. But they bathed incessantly, believing that cleanliness and health were the vital points in their endeavors to be lovely. They went in for athletic games to a large degree, and thereby hangs the secret of well-developed figures and fine, stately carriage. Creamy lotions for the face, made mostly of almond oil and the oil of cocoanut, were their complexion solaces.
No doubt these beauties of the past centuries had more time than we for their baths and games, but nevertheless let us make a strong, stern effort to follow in the wake of their excellent teachings. Surely they proved the wisdom of them in their own incomparable beauty.
Speaking of baths reminds me of Mme. Tallien, the beautiful French woman, who lived in the time of the first Napoleon. She went in for baths galore. Let me tell you what she did.
She gathered together all the strawberries or raspberries that the corner grocery could supply. These were mashed to a pulp and the bathtub filled. In this Mme. Tallien bathed until the idea of milk and perfumed baths appeared to her fancy. There were many absurd and useless fads those days as well as wise beautifying practices—just the same state of affairs as now confronts us.
How much more rational than Mme. Tallien's notions were the methods of Diana of Poitiers, who, history tells us, was fresh and lovely at sixty-five! She left the berries and things to their rightful place, the breakfast table, and each morning took a refreshing bath in a big tub of clear rain-water. There has nothing yet been found, even in this progressive age of electric elixirs and beautifying compounds, that can equal this old-time aid to loveliness.
With the delightfully convenient bath-rooms, that even the most ordinary apartment or flat has now, bathing is not a matter of trouble and bother, but is, instead, an invigorating pleasure. I believe firmly in the need of the daily bath. Not the thorough scrubbing, mind you, but the quick sponging and the plunge. Let the thorough scrubbing be at least twice during the week, and the five-minute plunges on other days. Certain it is that one is much refreshed by the dipping luxury, and still more certain is the fact that in no other way can the flesh be kept healthy and firm. To those who are robust enough to stand it, the cold bath is very good, but I would not advise it as a general thing for women. For actual cleansing warm water and pure soap are necessary. The shock of cold water immediately closes the pores, and they then retain all the impurities that they should cast out. The temperature of the water for the daily tepid bath should be about seventy-five or eighty degrees, never more than that.
Whether or not the bath should be taken at night or in the morning is a question which each must decide for herself. While it has often been claimed that a bath at night will quiet the nerves and make one sleep sweetly, I have known many persons who found it an utter impossibility, as it caused them to be restless and wide-awake. One reason why the bath before going to bed is desirable is that a soothing emollient can be applied to the face, neck and hands, and thus will the skin be whitened and beautified. After a warm plunge the pores of the skin are opened and in excellent condition to absorb a good skin food or a pleasant cream.