Wartime Beauty Tips

The best way to save money on beauty products is to follow some of the money saving beauty tips from the forties. These women knew how to economise as part of the war effort at home, however they still found ways to look glam on a budget. Some of these tips are redundant today because their are so many budget beauty brands that are cheaper and easier than, say, mixing charcoal and Vaseline to make mascara and applying it with a brush. But they’re still handy to know.

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Everybody knows of the famous drawn on seam trick (where women who couldn’t afford stocking would draw on a line down the back of their legs to look like a seam of a stocking). However that’s not the only thing these women did to give the look of smooth nylons.

Soaking teabags in warm water and then applying the tea coloured water to the legs would give the effect of tanned tights. Gravy browning was also used, but this seems less appealing.

Vaseline was a 40s woman’s best friend. Used under the eyes at night to reduce bags, or on the eyelids in the day to create a fresh faced look, it was the pillar of ever makeup bag. Vaseline was also used to soothe sore hands after a hard day working in the factory.

To keep hair glowing, women would rinse their hair in vinegar (brunettes) or lemon juice (blondes) after a wash. A homemade conditioning treatment of eggs or oil also worked wonders.

Despite austerity, glamour was encouraged in women. It supposedly helped ‘perk up’ the country, according to MPs. Although this is terribly sexist, women had their own reasons for wanting to glam up. Freedom. It was a mode of self expression in a world on the brink of oppression. Hitler didn’t like made up women, so British women made themselves up as much as they could.

If there was one thing to help achieve this look, it was red lipstick. When this was hard to find, women would stain their lips with beetroot.

You have to admire these women for their creativity and defiance. Even more so the ones doing all these things whilst also flying war planes and getting little to no credit for it. Keep fighting, women!

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