By Suzanne Norquist
For centuries, women have gone to great lengths to be beautiful. No one wants wrinkles to age their face. Or crow’s feet to accent their eyes. Or a double chin. Or a skinny face.
In the early 1900s, massage techniques and creams to solve these problems abounded.
Consider this advertisement for Pompeian Massage Cream. It challenged the reader to find the forty-year-old chaperone among the group of young women. She held onto her youth and beauty through regular massage with this cream.
The 1910 book Health and Beauty Hints by Margaret Mixter devotes an entire chapter to face and neck massage.
A woman could rub gently and use a flesh-making cream to increase the roundness of the cheeks. Alternatively, she could rub vigorously and use an astringent lotion to remove a double chin or extra flesh through friction.
If only it were that easy.
All that friction explains why witch hazel was an ingredient in the massage cream recipe at the beginning of the chapter. It could dull the pain.
A face massage took at least fifteen minutes. Although, a massage to reduce a double chin took half an hour.
“With attention, the homeliest neck may be made pretty.”
One didn’t even need to buy a book to stay up on the latest beauty tips. Newspapers dispensed similar advice.
In 1907, the Las Animas Leader included a Woman’s Realm section. It shared a variety of articles for women, even beauty tips. It recommended a cheerful disposition and a massage with good skin food (which appears to be a skin cream) to reduce wrinkles. It suggested “expert facial specialists” would use electricity. Yikes!
Barber parlors also offered facial massages to beautify the complexion.
An exciting array of creams promised results. In the February 4, 1894 edition of the Pueblo Chieftain, I found an advertisement for Mrs. Harold’s Marshmallow Cream. It would fill in the hollows in the cheeks and around the eyes. “It is magical in its results and so harmless you could eat it.”
My favorite find was a “machine,” which was basically a rubber straw with a suction cup on the end. A lady would put the cup on her face and suck through the straw to create a vacuum, which was a way of massaging the face to get rid of wrinkles.
“The cup is moved from the center of the face outward and upward while sucking.”
Another device for sale was a massage ball because “No woman wants crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles.” It could make all parts of the face beautiful.
As much as I laugh about these old beauty tips, I must remember what we do today in the name of looking young. When I Googled “massage for double chin” for this blog, I found that I could purchase chin straps with massagers from many big box stores.
Nothing much has changed.
”Mending Sarah’s Heart” in the Thimbles and Threads Collection
Four historical romances celebrating the arts of sewing and quilting.
Mending Sarah’s Heart by Suzanne Norquist
Rockledge, Colorado, 1884
Sarah seeks a quiet life as a seamstress. She doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers, and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?
a Free Preview, click here: http://a.co/1ZtSRkK
She authors a blog entitled, Ponderings of a BBQ Ph.D.