20 Old Hollywood Beauty Tips That Will Make You Say WTF
Don't try this at home.
2. Marlene Dietrich insisted on having real gold dust sprinkled on her wigs to make them shine more on camera.
According to the book Max Factor: The Man Who Changed the Faces of the World, "Marlene Dietrich insisted on having compressed gold, costing $60 an ounce, sprinkled onto her wigs to give them an onscreen sparkle. A Max Factor employee once combed $24.32 worth of gold dust from a fake Dietrich 'do."
3. Fannie Ward credited her "unfading youth" to hanging upside down for half an hour every day.
4. Turns out John Wayne had three wigs with him at all times. He'd rotate them (based on their length) to make it look like it was his natural hair.
According Max Factor: The Man Who Changed the Faces of the World, Wayne would "wear the shortest one for three or four days before switching to the slightly longer one. After another few days, he's wear the longest one, managing to create the illusion that he needed a haircut. Then he'd start all over again, making it look like he'd just visited a barber."
5. MGM studio execs wanted Judy Garland to lose weight, so they put her on a strict diet of chicken soup, black coffee, and 80 cigarettes a day.
According to Aubrey Malone's book Hollywood's Second Sex: The Treatment of Women in the Film Industry, 1900–1999, MGM studio execs put Judy Garland on a diet that severely limited her caloric intake. She was also put on diet pills, which led to a life of pill addiction.
6. Frances Starr did 20 somersaults every night to keep a youthful complexion and help with indigestion.
7. Some actresses believed that laying on their backs and tying a silk stocking around their head (from chin to forehead), would prevent their facial muscles from sagging.
8. Rita Hayworth dyed her hair and endured a year of hairline electrolysis to look less "ethnic."
As Hollywood's Second Sex: The Treatment of Women in the Film Industry, 1900–1999 explains, Hayworth changed her name from Margarita Carmen Cansino (she was of Spanish descent) to Rita Hayworth. She also dyed her hair, and raised her hairline, all because she needed to look less "ethnic" for Hollywood.
9. Putting table salt in your cleanser and slapping your jawline was the secret to great skin in 1940, according to director Ida Lupino.
10. Howard Hughes believed slowing down when driving over a speed bump would prevent boobs from sagging.
As Hollywood's Second Sex: The Treatment of Women in the Film Industry, 1900–1999 explains, billionaire director Howard Hughes consorted with a group of actresses, but they were required to follow a few strict rules: Hughes' women had a curfew, they could only go shopping once a week, and their families had to make an appointment to see them. He also instructed their drivers to slow down when going over bumps, because he believed it would prevent their boobs from sagging. LOL, this guy.
11. According to a beauty column in 1941, placing a piece of tape between your eyes stops you from frowning. This is basically the old-timey version of when a random dude tells you "you should smile more."
12. Royle also encouraged women to amp up their beauty routines by sprinkling salt on their bodies and rubbing it off with a sponge.
13. Joan Crawford made her eyes ~sparkle~ by cleaning them twice a day with boric acid.
According to her book My Way Of Life, Joan loved DIY face masks and always made sure to keep her eyes clean and clear by washing them twice a day with boric acid and cold water. "Place pads soaked in witch hazel or boric acid over your eyelids and put on your favorite music," she recommended. Honestly, don't do this.
14. Director Victor Fleming made costume designer Walter Plunkett tape Vivien Leigh's breasts to make her cleavage more exaggerated.
Another gem from Hollywood's Second Sex: The Treatment of Women in the Film Industry, 1900–1999 recalls that "Plunkett was forced to have Leigh's breasts taped and thrust upward to give her a bodice-ripper look. Leigh was furious but could do nothing."
15. Actor Gloria Grahame stuffed her upper lip with paper or cotton to make it appear fuller.
And her costars would sometimes find out about it mid-kiss! According to the book Gloria Grahame, Bad Girl of Film Noir: The Complete Career, she believed a "puffier upper lip was somehow sexier."
16. In 1947, Modern Screen magazine's beauty editor advised that the secret to soft skin was to clean your face and apply Pond's Cold Cream from hairline to collarbone, twice.
"First, dip a face cloth into warm water and press it gently against face and neck — makeup and all," she recommended. "Next, without drying your face, apply Pond's Cold Cream from hair-line to collarbone, smoothing it on in little spirals. Tissue this off thoroughly. Then cold cream once more and tissue off again. Last of all, splash cold water onto your face and pat dry."
17. Billie Burke, famous for her role as the good witch Glenda in The Wizard of Oz, swung from her door frame like a pendulum to stay young.
18. According to Screenland Magazine, delicately scented, shiny hair was all the rage in the 1930s. And it helped attract men.
Screenland advised against using eau de cologne because it could turn hair gray, and suggested dark-haired ladies could keep their mane shiny by using henna: "A drop of scent in the rinse-water at shampoo time will give it a lingering evasive aroma that makes strong men stronger in your favor."
19. Clara Bow restricted her diet to only 500 calories a day and rolled around the ground in tight clothing to lose weight.
According to the book Hollywood Diet and Fitness: Vintage Secrets, Bow's contract had a "weight clause" that stated she couldn't go over 118 pounds.