Vintage Beauty Tips That Still Work

Times may have moved on and technology may have advanced, but sometimes grandma simply knows best. We have researched vintage beauty advice from the early 20th century and collected together tips that remain both true and thrifty.

models learn posture 1925
Trainee fashion models learn how to carry themselves gracefully by balancing books on their heads at a school of modelling and deportment in the West End of London. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images). 1925

1) Always maintain good posture

Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images. 14th December 1936
Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images. 14th December 1936

In the early 20th Century girls were carefully instructed in the art of deportment. However ridiculous the methods may now seem, there is nonetheless real value in maintaining correct posture. It is said that good posture can make you look instantly 7lbs thinner. More importantly, it boosts vitality, confidence and health.

The photo on the left from 1936 shows a school girl from Pengworn Ladies College, Cheltenham learning the art of balancing to cultivate good carriage in walking by balancing a plate on her head whilst standing on one leg on a pole and spinning a hoop with her knee!  Happily these days the preferred method is through general fitness training such as yoga or pilates. By building up core strength and walking tall you will not only look better but function better, protecting yourself from back related injury in the process.

steam facial

2) Enjoy steam facials

Steaming has been popular since Roman times. Among the potential benefits of this vintage beauty staple, facial steaming can help to soften sebum and purify pores. It can also boost circulation and draw blood to the surface of the skin, giving your face a warm, healthy glow. As an added bonus, a drop of lavender oil in the water can help to relieve stress or alternatively a small crystal of menthol can clear sinus congestion.

vintage picture of woman shaving

3) Always keep coconut oil to hand.

Natural oils have always been a vintage beauty essential. Italian actress Sophia Loren swore by olive oil, but for beauty versatility no oil can top coconut oil. It is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, an excellent moisturiser and can penetrate hair better than other oils.

Use it as a cuticle treatment, a skin softening shaving oil, a cheek and brow highlighter and an eye make-up remover. Massage into the hair and scalp before shampooing for deep conditioning and to eliminate dandruff, and once dry rub into the tips of long hair to tame split ends and add shine. Waiting for the kettle to boil? For an instant hand softening treatment mix a spoon of coconut oil with a teaspoon of sugar, massage into the hands and then rinse.

4) Rinse with vinegar

After shampooing and conditioning use a cider vinegar rinse (1 part vinegar, 9 parts water). This will restore the hair’s pH, add shine and reduce a flaky scalp. Add a teaspoon of honey for extra moisture.