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February 1, 2013

Vintage & Modern Beauty

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The next pantry beauty technique came from Katharine Hepburn, who was said to make her own exfoliant with a few drops of water, some lemon juice, and granulated sugar. Without the exact recipe, I doctored my own formula and gently massaged it into wet skin on my face and neck. The mixture is magic. My skin felt so smooth that I started making "I'm ready for my close-up" jokes — a lens wouldn't need Vaseline coating to make my skin look flawless.

Speaking of Vaseline, screen stars were obsessed with the stuff. Greta Garbo put petroleum jelly under her eyeshadow, and Bette Davis used a layer of it under cucumber slices to de-puff her eyes. I tried both and can endorse only the cucumbers (especially chilled), an oldie but a goodie for calming inflammation. I understand that Garbo was after a wet look, but these days we have cream shadows that do the trick and dry to a creaseless finish. The tackiness of wearing Vaseline around my eyes lent that unpleasant sensation of sunscreen about to run into them. And as the day went on, it started melting with my body heat.

Luckily, makeup has come a long way. I know because I tried several more tips from The Westmore Beauty Book, attempting to pencil in more dramatic eyebrows (thin, into a pointy arch) and lips (drawn fuller, especially on top) and spackling on heavy foundation to create the perfect "canvas" on my face. In short, I resembled a slightly angry drag queen. But I braved the look for drinks with a friend, who told me that from across the bar, I looked like Bettie Page ... and up close, I looked like a person hiding under an inch of paint. I left early, self-conscious and feeling like my face was suffocating under the layers of opacity.

The screen sirens of yesteryear had some great ideas about grooming — spend the time to take care of yourself, DIY treatments can be great, don't use wire hangers, and always leave the house feeling pretty. As for the rest, I'll stick with my modern conveniences — but I'm keeping the sock bun.

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