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.

Continue reading “Beauty While You Work–Making Housekeeping Easy, 1948 (Part 2)”

Beauty While You Work–Making Housekeeping Easy, 1948

An interesting approach to traditional housework, here’s Part 1 of 2. Beauty and housework combined!


It’s pleasant to realize that while you are creating and caring for your new home, keeping it at its gayest and loveliest, you can be doing exactly the same thing for your own personal beauty. Yes, actually! Even with those old-time beauty bugbears: cleaning, ironing, scrubbing.

You’ll find some of your beauty-while-you-work routines will be strictly precautionary. (Who wants to wake up some bright morning with “dishpan hands?”) Some will involve techniques of work to reduce fatigue and improve your figure at the same time. Still others will be fill-in beauty treatments to make the most of those semi-idle moments while you wait for the potatoes to brown … or your husband to come home. All will
help you to be as beautiful as a girl should be . . . and to stay that way.

Strictly Precautionary . . . for Hands
Somehow hands have a way of showing lack of care more quickly than any other part of the body. Are yours changing from soft and smooth to red and rough? This is a sign you need gloves, soap, hand lotion, hand cream . . . but quick!

Wear rubber gloves for dishwashing. There is no reason to subject your hands to the aging effects of hot, greasy dishwater. Make rubber gloves a habit. Keep a pair at your sink. And underneath your gloves . . . and always after removing your hands from any kind of water . . . pat on a hand lotion generously.

Wear fabric gloves for cleaning. These gloves should be a little loose, otherwise you’ll find yourself poking the fingers through in no time. Hand cream used before putting on your gloves, combined with the warmth and moisture created by your cleaning, will give your hands a regular softening beauty treatment. When you remove your gloves, massage your fingers from the tip to the palm and work in any hand cream not already
absorbed. This helps to insure graceful fingers. (Practicing this same kind of finger massage after lotioning your hands is a good idea too.)

Wear gloves for outdoor chores. Having a pair of white, washable gloves (clean, of course!) to put on when you hang up wash on a cold day, will save lots of chapping. Dark or cleaning gloves will do for anything else outdoors.

Use soap—but not for the usual purpose. You’ll find yourself washing your hands more times a day than you thought possible in your pre-housekeeping days. So keep a bland—never a harsh kitchen-type—soap over your sink. Whenever you are about
to start a dirty cleaning task—even though you are going to wear gloves—dig your nails hard into the soap, so that each nail is full.

This will keep all dirt out of your nails, whence it is so difficult to remove. (Yes, some dirt will even penetrate your gloves!) Once your work is finished, a nail brush will return your nails to normal—a beautifully clean normal.

Buy large sizes. Hand lotion and hand cream are more economical in the large sizes. Since you will probably use the lotion more frequently—it’s quicker to use—keep a bottle both in your bathroom and kitchen. (Buying one large bottle and pouring it into two smaller ones is a budget-stretching trick.)

Hand cream is sometimes handier. If you are more accustomed to hand cream, you can substitute it for hand lotion whenever you choose. Used consistently, either will help keep your hands soft and smooth. Hand cream is especially effective when you can leave it on the hands for a while and let the skin absorb it as it will—as when cleaning—or at night when you have more time to work it in yourself. For badly chapped hands, hand
cream is preferable. “Lather” it on.

To relax tired hands. After ironing, or any other household chore when your hands get tense, try shaking your hands hard with loose wrists. In other words, “wring your hands.”

You’ll like the results.

Strictly Precautionary . . . for Feet
Many women discover that housework tends to make their feet a half-size or so larger. This is the result of being on them constantly, and is nothing to worry about. Other signs of foot strain—backache, tiny tired wrinkles around the eyes, gen-
eral fatigue—are. Take sensible precautions.

Low heels for housework. Keep your high heels for dress wear. They put too much strain on your metatarsal arch when you are active all day. When your metatarsal gets tired,
you do, too, in a big way. When your metatarsal falls, you’re in for lots of trouble . . . including heavy orthopedic shoes perhaps.

Sit when you can. Conserving your energy—and feet—by sitting down to such “sittable” chores as ironing, the fixing of vegetables, telephoning, the planning of menus, is not laziness. It’s sound health conservation. Another advantage is that you can
exercise and rest your feet at the same time.

To strengthen tired arches. Remove your shoes. Prop your feet up on a chair the same height as the one you are sitting on. Try to bring the toes forward toward you, then point them away—hard! Do this six times. You’ll feel it all along your lower legs as well as in your feet.

Play marbles with your toes. Putting a few marbles on a rug or towel under your bare feet, and trying to pick them up with your toes, strengthens both toes and arches. Trying to pull a towel completely under your feet by “clawing” it with your toes is another foot strengthener.

Rotate your feet for slim ankles. Normally for good sitting posture your feet should be flat on the floor—not crossed. However, to slim your ankles, cross one leg over the other and
rotate the crossed foot, making a little circle first to the right six times, then to the left. Change feet and repeat. This exercise relaxes as well as slims.

Strictly Precautionary—for Figures
If your figure is already lovely, you may know all the tricks for preserving it. If not, here are a few suggestions—some for keeping a perfect figure, others for improving one less

Posture . . . first! Even a semi-perfect figure looks practically flawless when the posture is superb. Carrying a book on the head and walking endlessly without dropping it, was the
old-fashioned finishing-school way, as you know. Today’s perfect posture training is much less obvious and tedious. You can do it anywhere. Just think yourself tall, with your head high and pulled out of your neck . . . your chest high, but arms and shoulders relaxed . . . your rib-cage pulled out of your waist . . . your tummy pulled back toward your backbone . . . and your hips “tucked under” in back, as they are when you flex your knees. (Never stand with rigid knees, always flex them slightly.) Try this posture in front of a mirror and see how much thinner just standing that way makes you look. Practice walking that way. Practice sitting in the same easy, erect way. This is one beauty habit which will pay you beauty dividends all your life— no matter what your age. It’s worth acquiring early.

Eat for beauty. In the chapter on meal planning, you will learn which are the foods required for basic health. By including these in your daily diets, you will be laying the groundwork for a beautiful figure, as well as for lovely hair, skin, pep, and all the other things which make for natural womanly charm.

Because you will be doing lots of tasting as you cook, you many find yourself putting on a little extra weight. You can check this right at the beginning by cutting down on your sweets and desserts. (A bathroom scale is a great help in guarding your figure beauty.)

And drink lots of water! The minimum daily requirement is six glasses a day. It takes this much water to wash away the body’s waste substances, and to give you the clear skin, eyes, and glossy hair you prize.

To keep inches off your hip line. For that flattering less-around-the-hip look, try this exercise once a day. Lie down on the floor. Link your fingers behind your neck. With pointed toes start raising your legs s-l-o-w-l-y to the ceiling. When they have reached an upright position, lower them s-l-o-w-l-y toward the floor. But don’t let them quite touch the floor! Not until they have been raised and lowered five times at least. Ten times is
better. This exercise will bring into play lots of muscles you never knew you owned—but it’s rough on tummy inches.

(To Be Continued…)


Vintage Beauty Exercises for Spot Reducing–Secrets of Charm, John Robert Powers, 1954

Do you have spots that need reducing? I might try a few of these, myself… I’ve got some measurements that could use a bit of trimming!

Continue reading “Vintage Beauty Exercises for Spot Reducing–Secrets of Charm, John Robert Powers, 1954”

Living Room and Bedroom Cleaning Routines–Mary and Russel Wright’s Guide to Easier Living, 1954


Going to be doing some deep cleaning around the house soon, and might try to increase the nonexistent fun factor by putting a vintage spin on things. Pro tip: clear the clutter first (take things straight out to the garbage or the car, in the case of donations), then do the deep cleaning. You can’t clean clutter!

Weekly Living Room and Bedroom Cleaning Routines

1. Bring in “cleaning” basket and two “catchall” baskets or trays (a cart would do for both), and a paper bag.

Continue reading “Living Room and Bedroom Cleaning Routines–Mary and Russel Wright’s Guide to Easier Living, 1954”

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?”

Continue reading “Good Grooming for Busy Women, by Mary Stuyvesant–The Woman Magazine, 1949”

The Plain Facial–Everyday Grooming, Helen Livingstone and Ann Maroni, 1951

This one is a long read, but for the sake of experimentation, I might give this step-by-step instruction set a try. (Minus the bleach pack mentioned at the end. That doesn’t sound like it would be good for my fragilish, almost 40 year-old epidermis.) Happy pampering!

The Plain Facial

The saying that “Beauty comes from within,’ is indeed true. Your diet, the proper amount of rest, exercise, fresh air, and sunshine are all reflected through the skin, Fig. 61. No amount of facial work, make-up, or any other camouflage can hide a poor and unhealthy skin.

The plain facial has many benefits. It cleanses, softens, and freshens the skin. It stimulates the circulation and muscles. A facial at the end of a trying day has soothing and freshening effects beneficial to everyone, young and old, Fig. 62.

Continue reading “The Plain Facial–Everyday Grooming, Helen Livingstone and Ann Maroni, 1951”

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