10 Vintage Beauty Tips to Use More Often


In the days before modern cosmetics, a wide variety of things were used for their purported beauty-enhancing properties.  While some of these may have been the cosmetic equivalent of snake oil, others really worked and were a lot less expensive than their present-day equivalents. Check out the list of vintage beauty tips to use more often.

Some of these tips date to the 1940s, when shortages of ingredients made cosmetics a ration item.  Other ideas may go back farther than that, to the time when “rosy-cheeked” meant exactly that. To get great skin and hair for a lot less, try some of these tips from yesteryear:

1. Cucumbers

Ladies in old movies are often seen placing cucumbers on their eyes before bed.  The reason is seldom given, so apparently the audience understood this strange ritual.  Of course, they did – cucumbers are a natural moisturizer, keeping skin underneath from getting dry and puffy overnight.  Besides, they perfectly narrow pores, cool your skin and protect it from the harmful rays of the sun. Cucumbers are widely known for its rejuvenating properties as well. Frequently they are used to lighten the freckles. They are sometimes accompanied by petroleum jelly, kaolin, lemon juice and honey but true believers say it’s the cucumbers doing the job. This vegetable is especially beneficial for oily skin and prone to acne.

You can make a variety of beauty aids using a cucumber, for instance, scrubs, masks, toners and hair conditioners. I suggest trying one of the easiest and quickest recipes with a cucumber that you can use even during your break: grate one cucumber, add one tsp. of sour cream for oily skin or honey for dry skin. Apply it over your face and neck for 15-20 minutes, and then wash away with warm water. It will surely help your skin look radiant and fresh.

2. Oil

Using cooking oil as a hair treatment was once all the rage, but has fallen out of practice as fancier, more expensive products have come on the market.  Ladies of the 1940s and ’50s knew the value of a good oil treatment, in which the hair was washed with very hot water and then soaked in oil to promote luster. However, you can make your hair shine by using different kinds of vegetable and fruit oils.  For example, coconut oil is one of the most widely spread oils in Asia and the South Pacific. Argan oil repairs you hair, jojoba oil strengths it, olive oil softens your hair and avocado oil moisturizes the scalp.

If you decide to try this tip, choose the oil suitable for your hair type. Do not put the oil straight on your hair or scalp! Instead, put a couple of oil drops into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to spread the oil. The ends of your hair are usually the most damaged part, demanding the most care. Scrunch it in your hands and repeat the procedure with all the length. Put a couple of oil drops on your palm again and massage the scalp for 5-10 minutes. Then rap the hair in a towel to prevent dripping and wait about 15 minutes. Afterward, mix a little lemon juice with your hair cleanser to remove the oil.

3. Lemon juice

This can also be used to remove difficult stains on the hands and face such as fruit juices. Lemon juice is highly beneficial to your hair and nails as well. You can spend hundreds of dollars on expensive creams to strengthen your nails, purify your skin or lighten your hair. Plus, you can enjoy spa-treatment with the help of your homemade beauty-aids. Lemon juice is perfectly combined with sugar, eggs, natural oils and honey. You should include this product to your beauty-list if you want to forget about blackheads, acne scars and wrinkles. The citric acid can break down most common types of plant juice, and it leaves a pleasant smell. 

When mixed with warm water, lemon juice is a good exfoliator. However, be careful not to cause allergy. Test all the substances you prepare on your wrist and wait for half an hour. If there is no redness or swell, be sure to use it. Since I’m suffering from acne, I use lemon juice to hide the zit. I apply a little bit of lemon juice with cotton swab to the affected area, let it dry and then rinse it with cold water. This quick and easy trick works wonders for me!

4. Beer

Even today, film stars and other professionals swear by the use of beer to give hair body and shine.  Beer is rich in B vitamins, proteins, iron, zinc and magnesium. This beverage is famous for its antibacterial qualities, so it is essential for problem-prone skin. Moreover, it is a great repair for any hair type, especially for color-treated or dry and frizzy hair. It is true that the fats and proteins in beer can give your hair a boost of moisture and texture, but it may take a very thorough washing to remove the smell.

You can use a glass of beer with your usual portion of shampoo or conditioner to absorb the smell. Some girls may like this, others not. Just don’t wash your hair with hot water. It can damage your hair and even cause dandruff. If you prefer using beer only for skin treatment there is one wonderful treatment you can make in 2 minutes. You will need 2 tsp. of olive oil, 2 tsp. of honey, a couple of drops of lemon juice and 2 tsp. of beer. Mix everything and apply to the skin for 10 minutes. Then rinse it with warm water and use your usual day cream.

5. Ragging

Curlers were coming in during the 1940s, but many women still used an earlier method.  Called ragging, it involves wrapping small sections of hair around rolled rags to induce curls.  You have to sleep on it to get the look right, but rags are a lot more comfortable to sleep in than curlers. Moreover, they will never damage your hair as an iron curler. One of the minuses of such method is that your curls may look too twisted and unevenly shaped as you are unable to regulate the size of the locks. It is suitable for those who tend to have a lush hair-dress. Plus, you risk having a headache in the morning if you put the rags too close to your scalp. However, if you decide to try this tip remember that it would be easier to curl clean and a little bit wet hair, though most women think it’s better to curl their hair when it’s a little dirty. I have always heard about it, but I don’t think a dirty hair will look gorgeous, even if it’s curled. I usually use this vintage beauty tip when I need a beautiful hairstyle and when I’m on a tight budget.

6. Eggs

For ages eggs were used in cosmetics as they enrich your skin and hair with vitamins, minerals and proteins. Eggs are compatible with many food items which makes them really multi-purpose product. Combined with different ingredients, eggs become suitable for any type of skin. Eggs can reduce eye-puffiness, narrow pores, moisturize your skin and make it more elastic. For the truly adventurous, eggs can be rubbed in the hair and rinsed. This acts as an inexpensive substitute for conditioners by replacing lost protein in the hairs. But the main point here is to use cold water while washing your hair to remove the egg. Otherwise you risk having pieces of boiled egg straight in your hair-cut. So it is better to mix egg with lemon juice, for example, or natural oils.

As a cure for wrinkles, egg white can be spread on the face, left for a short time and rinsed. It is important to moisturize your skin after such treatments as using pure eggs can cause dryness. If you want to remove excessive tan mix egg white with honey and apply it to your face for 10 minutes. Do not be frightened if the mask emits a bad smell – it happens with uncooked eggs when they start drying.

7. Baking powder

Baking powder has many wonderful beauty benefits. It is nontoxic, cheap and serves perfectly well as a foundation for your homemade beauty-aids. If you are on a tight budget, instead of using high-priced cleansers, mix a tablespoon of baking powder with a cup of water.  The powder will dissolve any residues, which will come off in the rinse. The same effect will be with your hair – use baking powder to clean your hair instead of a dry shampoo. You can also add some to you favorite shampoo to achieve more manageable hair. However, be careful not to use baking powder for your hair too often, otherwise you can overdry it. Once or twice a month will be enough.

You can also prepare homemade natural deodorant with baking powder. Combine 1 tsp. of powder with your favorite essential oil, for instance, lavender oil, and apply it with a powder puff onto your underarms to control your body odor. Moreover, you can make your own perfumed bags to aromatize the room and wardrobe. Fill the bags with 3 tablespoons of powder and drop any essential oil. A marvelous scent is guaranteed! This is one of the most amazing vintage tips to use more often.

8. Rose oil

When the poets of yesterday spoke of their girlfriends’ rosy lips and cheeks, they meant it.  The oil from rose petals has been used since time immemorial for both its color and fragrance, and it gives a more natural look than many modern products. Nowadays beauty products, contain rose oil are quite expensive. But there is a variety of homemade recipes to try with this miraculous liquid. Rose oil is suitable for all skin types, even though it works more wonders to dry, sensitive and aging skin types. You can also improve you cream with the help of rosy oil. Just add several drops of the oil per every tablespoon of cream. Thoroughly mix the ingredients with a stick and put it in a cold dark place.

If you don’t have ready-made oil, simply squeeze rose petals until their juice begins to come out, then dab it on cheeks, lips or anywhere else a glow would be nice. If you have oily skin type, try to avoid using pure oil on your T-zone – this area doesn’t need too much moisture. Rose oil can also be used in aroma therapy, as it produces a wonderful sedative effect.

9. Baking soda

Baking soda is well-known for being a staple in every kitchen and it has many long-time uses, and still works these days on many beauty and health tasks. When moistened and placed on your toothbrush, bicarbonate of soda works as well as any toothpaste, cleaning the teeth, freshening the breath and promoting gum health. Baking soda can perfectly act as a dry shampoo. Do not waste money on expensive dry shampoos as the effect will be the same! If you add a teaspoon of powder to your shampoo you will get a magnificent volume.

Baking soda mixed with honey is also a great helper against acne. Once a week I suggest washing your teeth with a natural whitening mixture: take 1 strawberry, 1 tsp. of lemon juice, 1 tsp. of baking soda and mix – this will be enough for your whole family! Baking soda can serve as a cheap substitution for your scrub. Just add it to your face cleanser to make a paste and rub your face with it for a few minutes. If you wish you can use soda as a nail cleaner, for pedicure, or to fresh your mouth. As you can see, baking soda is a must for every woman.

10. Petroleum jelly

This is still one of the best skin moisturizers on the market.  Despite all the hype surrounding more expensive products, good old petroleum jelly will combat wrinkles, relieve dryness and heal chapping as well as any of them.  Use it as a general moisturizer and texturizer for your lips, eyes, face skin, hands and feet or hair and you will never be disappointed with the results. Petroleum jelly produces a special coat on your skin which helps to keep it moisturized. It possesses tremendous healing, softening and rejuvenating qualities. Vaseline can serve as an improvised substitution for many cosmetic items: lip balm, eyebrow gel, elbow and knees cream, for make-up removal, hair conditioner, highlighter or scrub! Furthermore, it is a great foundation for other homemade beauty-aids. Though, I should mention that it’s not the best variant for oily and acne-prone skin. Its thick texture can clog up pores and cause an inflammation. Mix Vaseline with essential oils, powders, kaolin or your cleaners and the results will surpass your hopes!

A fancy bottle does not make a good product, and many skin and hair products are bought more for their look than for any real quality of their contents.  One should not assume that an old-fashioned product is inferior to a modern one, when the difference may simply be marketing.  Old products were used because they worked, and they still do.

To see the kind of results to be gained from homespun beauty and health aids, one only has to look at some of the famous examples.  Greta Garbo swore by petroleum jelly as a moisturizer, and Bette Davis slept with cucumbers on her eyes every night.  Rita Hayworth attributed her lustrous auburn hair to an oil treatment after every wash.  More recently, Christie Brinkley has advocated using beer as a hair treatment.  She points out that since it works just as well with stale beer, it’s a good way to get rid of your leftover brew after a party.  Does this qualify as recycling?

Before paying a fortune for cosmetics and moisturizers, try using something old-timey that might work just as well. You can stay rosy-cheeked with a lot less expense. Do you know any other vintage beauty tips?