Good Grooming for Busy Women, by Mary Stuyvesant–The Woman Magazine, 1949

I stumbled across this post after I’d posted yesterday’s long read on Facials. Let’s call this a companion post.

Good Grooming for Busy Women
There’s a happy medium between full time glamour and total neglect 

Mary Stuyvesant
Good Grooming Consultant for Pond’s

Whenever beauty treatments are discussed, the average woman’s reaction is, “If I only had the time and money!” She wonders how anyone but a lady of leisure can fit twenty minutes of exercise, a facial and half an hour’s rest before dinner into the day’s routine, to say nothing of manicures, pedicures and setting the hair.


The average woman’s twenty-four-hour schedule is about as elastic as last year’s girdle. The homemaker has breakfast to get, dishes to wash, beds to make and the other well-known household chores–all on top of an early start for the sake of a commuting male. For the career girl, breakfast and a hasty tidying-up job are combined with a mad scramble to check in at the office at nine sharp, looking her smart and efficient best.

Is either of these ladies apt to rise a half an hour ahead of time to bump and bend in the chilly dawn? Will they shut themselves up in the evening after a long hard day and go through a dreary series of “Left, right, down, up?”

You know the answer. The minute you try out a fine uplifting mask that calls for fifteen minutes’ rest and relaxation with a thickly coated countenance, or experiment with beautifying your elbows by submerging them in bowls of warm oil, the doorbell or phone begins to ring or a childish voice pipes up, “What are you doing that for, Mummy? Can I play, too?

This certainly doesn’t mean I believe in doing nothing for one’s face and figure. I think most women can get better results for themselves than can be achieved by a beauty operator who gives them a complete overhaul once a year. Most of us want a few simple methods that don’t consume our time and money–and here are some that I recommend.

Merely practicing good posture does a lot for your figure–and you can work at it whatever you are doing, whether you are standing or sitting. Don’t throw back your shoulders and stick out your chest like a female Mussolini. You’ll only get a sway in your spine and an aching back. And don’t hold your stomach in until you can hardly breathe. Good posture means standing up and sitting up, with the accent definitely on the up.


Pretend that an enormous pencil, pointing straight up, has been fastened to the back of your head and you want to make your mark on the ceiling. The minute you do that, you’ll feel a pull all the way down your back; your chin comes in, your chest comes up and your waist shrinks a bit. Keep your shoulders easy and relaxed, then take a look in the mirror. See how much slimmer you have become? Try this pencil trick whenever possible–standing at the sink, in the grocery store, on the street corner–and before long, you’ll notice that any roll around your middle or budding double chin is vanishing.

Now for the complexion. No one claims that a clean face never decays, but most skin problems come from incorrect or inadequate cleansing. Instead of a casual lick-and-a-promise before dinner, do this: dip a wash cloth in warm water and then place it on your face, over make-up and all. Then, while your skin is still moist and warm, apply cold cream all over, from hair-line to chin. Massage it in lightly, remove with a tissue, then cream again and tissue a second time to get off every bit of lipstick and rouge and powder. Next, dash on cold water and pat dry.

In just a few minutes, you have given yourself a real little facial–the warmth, the massage and then the cold water not only make your face feel wonderfully clean but provide a pleasant stimulation that’s fine for the circulation. Doing this just once a day will keep your skin softer and smoother, as well as preventing flakiness, chapping and fine lines.

Another quick trick to help you put your est face forward is a very brief mask treatment. After your face is thoroughly clean, apply vanishing cream thickly for just one minute. (You can be starting your bath and getting out of your clothes in those sixty seconds.) Wipe the cream off with a tissue, and you’ll find that the action of the cream has brought the blood to the surface and also removed any little particles of dead skin. It’s a perfect pick-up when you are pressed for time and want to make a good appearance.

A show of hands can also have embarrassing results for those of us who have more than a finger in lots of activities. Shining, well-cared-for nails, smooth cuticle and soft white hands usually necessitate constant attention and pampering; but cold weather, hard water, dusting and cleaning keep one in a state of grubbiness that is hard to circumvent.

Of course, some particular females don rubber gloves for their dirty work and, after slathering on lotion, wear special cotton gloves to bed. But to go around in gloves, whether waking or sleeping, always seems like a lot of bother, and a course to be adopted only by extremists.

A much easier method is to plant jars of your favorite hand cream at strategic points–in the bathroom, on your dressing table, by the kitchen sink, and in your desk drawer if you are an office slave. Then, you can apply it early and often, whenever you have washed your hands. Don’t overlook the cuticle–push it back with the towel every time you dry your hands, and give it a creaming at least once a day. If it is kept soft and in its place, you won’t be troubled with splitting and rough edges.

Your nails reflect your own general condition. If they break easily, your system may be in need of calcium, vitamin A or any of the B-complex vitamins. An occasional light buffing is a help, particularly if you are not wearing polish. Of course, flawless polish is a business to keep up, and it’s better to wear none than to have a chipped, half-grown-out polish job on your hands.

Polish will last longer if you give it plenty of time to dry when you first apply it. For quick repairs, follow the same technique as will hand cream, and keep bottles of polish right on hand on convenient shelves.


Tired feet are the bane of all active women. If you have to stand up for long periods, give yourself a little relief every now and then by shifting your weight to the outer edge of your feet, rolling them over as far as possible to take the strain off your arches.

One of the best helps for weary or weak feet is to stand on the telephone directory or a fat dictionary and curl your toes over the edge. Two or three minutes of this a day will strengthen the overworked metatarsal arch–and when that lets you down, you might as well be in the shoes of the Little Mermaid in the fairy story who felt she was dancing on knives! If you can’t remember to bend your toes over a book, of course you can always practice it less conspicuously while lying in bed.

With the current shoe fashions revealing more and more of our feet, it’s a good idea to give them a little beauty care whenever possible. Hand cream is fine first aid for rough heels and pump-bumps, and any foot looks prettier when dressed up with hail polish. Try to combine your pedicure and manicure periods, and go at it feet first, so that your toenails can be drying while you work on your hands.

None of these beauty methods calls for products that aren’t available at your local five-and-dime, and nothing takes more than five minutes to do, so how about giving yourself a little special attention? You’ll find the results very becoming.



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