Since we are now spending more time at home, I thought it would be fun to do a video about DIY at-home beauty treatments inspired by old Hollywood.
Mae West was ahead of her time because she swore by coconut oil and applied it to her face and neck to keep her skin soft and youthful. A reporter who visited her at home in 1974 noted that she “talked at length about the benefits of putting coconut oil on her face”—and found the then-83-year-old dressed in a pink trouser suit and platform heels, lugging an exercise bicycle out of her dining room. Mae West also recommended babu oil, stating that “Then you’ll keep your soft skin. That’s how I kept mine. I always use baby oil. But it has to be warm, and you have to have a man put it on you.”
Elizabeth Taylor would take a hot bath after she applied a full face of makeup before an event to set her makeup and give her skin a dewy glow. In her 1987 book Elizabeth Takes Off, she also outlines a series of home exercises that she liked to do twice a day, including the “Face Saver” which she wrote “helps promote better tone through your neck and jaw by reducing tension in your upper spine, neck, and head. I always look more relaxed and rested after I do ten.” Stand straight and tall, clasp your hands behind your neck at the base. Exerting smooth, steady pressure, try to push your head and neck back while resisting with your clasped hands.Push/resist for a count of five. Repeat ten times.
The Italian bombshell’s 1984 book Women And Beauty Sofia Loren suggests that “Beauty gets you noticed, intelligence and wit demand recognition, but charm will make you memorable.” Sofia recommends having a DIY spa night at least once a week. “If you have a family, a good way to schedule your spa is to pick a night that features their favorite television show. Make it clear to everyone that on that evening, during that show, you are not to be disturbed. Do not feel guilty about doing this.” Sofia suggests that you start with some stretching exercises, putting on soothing music, slathering on a moisturizing face mask, and then settling into a warm tub spiked with salts, oil, or powdered milk. While marinating, pumice heels and elbows, brush your whole body with a body brush, push back your cuticles with a washcloth, and shave. Rinse with cold water, apply body lotion or oil while the skin is still damp, then give yourself a pedicure. “By the end of your spa,” she writes, “you will be ready for a glass of wine or a cup of tea. And you’ll be irresistible.”
Rita was known for her beautiful red hair and her famous hair flip in the film Gilda. Rita kept her hair soft by saturating it with olive oil after washing it and wrapped it in a towel for 15 minutes before rinsing it with hot water and lemon juice.
Joan Crawford was notoriously known for plunging her face in ice water 25 times every morning. She wrote in her 1971 book My Way of Life, after making a not-so-subtle dig at Hollywood-beloved facialists such as Erno Laszlo, “I can accomplish most of what these experts do right in my own bathroom or kitchen. So can any woman. The best beauty preparations cost only a few cents, and I frequently find them in my refrigerator. If they sound too simple to be effective, just try them.” Joan claims that she used to wash her daughter’s hair with raw eggs instead of shampoo. Apparently, it was a trick she used from Katherine Hepburn. “Some people use eggs beaten up with a jigger of rum; others mix an egg with red wine.” Joan’s favorite face masl was a blend of gelatin beaten with witch hazel, baking soda, and a whole egg. For her hair, she used mayonnaise, olive oil, eggs, and lemon juice for 15 minutes. “Rinse it off with cool water. Cool‑or, you’ll have scrambled eggs on your head.”