Beauty While You Work–Making Housekeeping Easy, 1948 (Part 2)

Did you miss yesterday’s post? Here’s part 2!

Techniques for Beauty
Older housewives may laugh at the idea that housework can provide a beauty-building course as a by-product. Here are some beauty-while-you-work routines which will do just that.

Beauty while you dust. No mistake about it, dusting the high spots is wonderful for your figure. The stretching and reaching lifts the chest and slims the waist. Think of this whenever you are inclined to moan about having to dust the tops of pictures, moldings, high shelves, ceilings. Swinging your arms in half circles as you bring the duster or mop down from the high spots gives your upper arms and shoulders desirable extra exercise.
(If you are using a mop, be careful not to overdo.)  Use both hands for your work. This helps to keep your figure symmetrical.

Beauty while you sweep. Pushing the broom, sweeper, or vacuum back and forth, or even washing the kitchen floor, becomes much less of a chore if you do it to music—radio or
phonograph. You’ll find yourself singing or humming as you work. This will not only add rhythm to your work and tend to lighten it, but will remove any grimness which might otherwise creep into your mental attitude as you go about your daily chores. If you consciously try to breathe deeply and correctly as you hum or sing, you’ll be improving your voice at the same time.

And whenever you use a long-handled utensil, don’t allow your shoulders to hump over. Keep your back straight, both for beauty and to lessen fatigue. Bend, as necessary, from the hips, with your weight on your toes and your knees unlocked.

Beauty while you wash. Bending over the wash tubs has its compensations in beauty too. The actual rubbing of clothes helps to develop lovely shoulders and bust lines. The
bending is good for reducing the tummy and strengthening the back. The hot steam which makes you perspire so freely is excellent for the skin. To take advantage of this last, after you finish your washing, dash a little cold water on your face and neck, to close the pores and to give your skin that soft, dewy look.

To prevent the backache that sometimes accompanies wash day, straighten up occasionally and with your hands above your head reach back as far as you can. This helps prevent a dowager’s hump at the back of your neck and gives your throat
a firmer line—as well as relaxes.

By the time you’ve finished your wash you won’t be so interested in hanging it out the beauty way, by squatting lightly for every piece—to promote agility and firmer thighs. Rather, toting your washbasket around on your kitchen table on wheels—or anything else to eliminate effort—will seem like a wonderful idea. The light squatting (really a lady-like sinking to the heels with one foot advanced) can be reserved for less arduous days when a few picking-up exercises are more needed.

Beauty while you cook. Before you can cook, you must prepare the food. If this entails sitting down, here is an opportunity for you to think in terms of perfect posture—as well
as peeled potatoes. Practicing sitting with your hips touching the back of the chair, your chest high and your spine straight, gives you a buoyant feeling and improves your figure as you peel.

At the stove, alternate your stirring, using your left hand as frequently as your right. Here, too, practice your chest up, shoulders relaxed, tummy in, hips “tucked under” posture. And when you taste something hot, blow on it hard … as if you were trying to inflate a balloon. Such blowing is wonderful for offsetting nose-to-mouth wrinkles and firming cheeks.

Beauty while you iron. If you stand to your ironing, don’t sink back on your heels and push your way through the job. Keep your weight balanced on the balls of your feet, your chest up, your knees supple, and let your arms swing freely from the shoulder . . . lightly. The iron should do most of the work. You should merely be guiding it. Properly done, ironing is good for arm beauty. Try ironing with each hand in turn. This is
relaxing.

If you sit to your ironing, sit erectly, bending from the hips. You’ll find this less fatiguing.

Beauty while you clean. Sparkling windows can put a gleam in your eye, if you combine your window washing with some deep-breathing exercises. Taking down curtains, the washing of walls, are both excellent stretching exercises.

The moving and removing of furniture, the picking up of rooms, the polishing of furniture are all good for the roses-in-the-cheek and figure departments. In moving furniture, be sure to keep the back straight, and push against what you guess to be the furniture’s center of gravity. Don’t just push anywhere—at the top or the bottom. And let your legs, not your back, do the pushing. You may avoid a bad strain by remembering this.

When you pick up your rooms in the early morning, you will be fresh enough to use the preferred squatting technique so beneficial to your grace and figure. Never do it when you are overtired. A little goes a long way.

In lifting, don’t let your shoulders and back do all the work. Flex your knees a little and let the straightening of your legs assist with your lifting.

Polishing furniture—the two-handed way—is excellent for the shoulders, back, bust, and upper arms. Keep your chest high and your spirits up as you work.

Under the kerchief you wear to keep the dust out of your hair, wind your pin curls with one row clockwise, the next counter-clockwise, for natural looking waves.

Beauty while you dishwash. Posture is one thing to be conscious of as you dishwash. However, there is something quite different which you can combine with dishwashing nicely. That is the memorizing of poetry for voice training and flexibility of the lips. By propping a book of your favorite poems over the sink, you can add surprisingly to your memory’s store of verses, at the same time as by over-pronunciation and exaggeration of lip movements as you recite, you can keep your lips flexible and soft, and relieve any tendency to tenseness.

Beauty While You Wait
Odd moments through the day, which seem in themselves trivial, can add up to a lot of beauty if you make use of them regularly. Instinctively, you will use many of them for that most beneficial of all beauty treatments—relaxation. In others you can fit most of your beauty check-up and repair jobs so essential to good grooming—with even a little poise-building to make life more interesting.

Relax with your feet up. Doctors for years have been advocating this position. Beauty specialists have recently “discovered” it. You, in the privacy of your living-room or bedroom, can use it to advantage whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Simply get out an ironing board and prop one end up on the seat of the divan, letting the other rest on the floor. Then prepare for laughs. The idea is for you to get on this ironing board and lie on it for as long as your relaxing period allows, letting the blood rush out of your tired feet and back to your head where it can furnish new mental stimulus and food for beauty at the same time. (Nature never intended your blood to be rushing to your feet all the time.) You’ll probably look and feel very awkward the first time you try this, but once on the board you’ll want to go right to sleep. (The getting off will be awkward too. It’s well to try this the first time when you are all alone!)

If you have no ironing board which is detachable, you can simply lie on the floor with pillows under your hips and your feet on the seat of a divan or chair. Try to put enough pillows under your hips so there is a straight, or nearly straight, line from your feet to your shoulders.

For speedier relaxing, pretend you’re a rag doll. One of the quickest ways to take the kinks out of your muscles and thoughts is to sit on the edge of a kitchen chair—or any other straight chair—with your feet planted widely and firmly apart.

Now lean forward limply, letting your hands, arms, and head all start for the floor s-l-o-w-l-y between your outstretched knees.

Once you arrive as close to the floor as you can get, remain in that position for a few seconds, swinging your head and arms slightly as if you really are a rag doll and haven’t a care in the world. There’s something about that loose swinging that seems to make your cares really vanish when you straighten up.

Practice sitting down gracefully. Considering that we rise and sit down millions of times during a lifetime, it certainly is worth a few of your odd moments to learn to do this the graceful way. It’s a real poise-builder.

Models and actresses are taught to approach a chair from an angle, to sit down in it lightly all in one graceful movement, so there is a lovely long line from their shoulder to the tip of the toe facing their audience. The trick is to let your legs take care of your sitting down. As you approach the chair, advance the foot which is to be your back foot as you sit (the foot away from your audience), and let the calf of the same leg “find” the chair.

Then pivot on your feet, keeping your weight on the foot nearest the chair, and drop lightly to the chair, letting your thigh muscles actually seat you. Your ankles are automatically crossed in a graceful position. If you wish to cross your legs, this can be done by crossing your legs above the knees as you pivot—a little more difficult, but quite easy with practice.

As in standing, a slightly sidewise position is more attractive for sitting than a full front face. For poised standing, always advance one foot a bit toward your audience and keep your weight on the forward foot.

Use a little time for clothes checking. In-between moments are just right for keeping your clothes in order. The few seconds or minutes spent in sewing on snaps and buttons, in
pressing and rejuvenating, pay wonderful dividends in good grooming. Keeping the mending basket handy with socks and such cuts down on your regular weekly mending period.

Daily scalp massage pays. To massage your scalp, start at the nape of the neck and rub your thumbs in circles along the hair line, “lifting” the scalp as you work. Let the other
fingers join in the rotating and lifting movements until your whole scalp tingles and looks pink. This not only stimulates the circulation of the scalp, but helps to relieve a nervous headache.

Giving your hair a good 100 strokes following the massage takes but a few minutes more. Have two brushes—50 strokes with each hand goes more quickly and equalizes the upper arm exercise.

Train eyebrows in seconds. Just a few brushings each day, with an occasional tweezing of stray hairs, and your eyebrow grooming is perfect.

If you can give yourself a facial . . . Facials are super de luxe fill-ins for odd moments, if you can give yourself one. If you don’t know how, it’s worth learning. Watch your magazine beauty columns. In any case apply some good emollient cream to your face every day—preferably when you are alone. While tubbing, is an excellent time. After doing some grimy chore when a general clean-up is in order is another good time. But any time when you have a few moments and a clean face, rub in a little cream to soften and beautify your skin. Always use an “up” motion. Remove surplus cream with tissues and a skin lotion. If you have no skin lotion, use soap and water and dry carefully.

Apply a hand lotion or make-up cream afterwards. Leaving a film of cream on your eyelids helps to ward off crepiness and gives a youthful sheen.

If you are not satisfied with your lipstick technique . . . Try using a lipstick brush to get that lighter, more natural look. Practice in your spare moments.

Buff your nails. Whether you wear nail polish or not, your nails require buffing regularly to remain strong and lustrous. This is a good while-you-are-waiting-for-the-water-to-boil habit. If your buffer isn’t handy, you can always rub them on the palm of the opposite hand.

File your nails. Keep an emery board in your apron pocket for nail casualties . . . and to give your nails a daily going over as time allows. Having your hands in water makes
your nails grow very rapidly, you’ll notice.

To save your manicure time later. Removing old polish always takes a few minutes—just about the right kind of time for an in-between beauty treatment. Cuticle care can be
fitted in the same way. So can the repair of chipped polish. While a completely new polish job is always preferable, there are emergencies when a patched one must do. To repair a chipped nail—simply smooth down the edge of the chip with an emery
board, dab on matching polish lightly, and just before it dries, coat the entire nail with colorless polish or “seal.”

And always have a mirror in the kitchen. You know how handy this is for a last minute look-see when the doorbell rings. Have you thought of it as a means of really enhancing
your basic charm? Models and other famous beauties learn to speak and smile charmingly by practicing before a mirror. What better time and place than your own kitchen while you are waiting for the supper to get done?

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