Friday, March 11, 2011

Attention all vintage beauty lovers!!! Must-read how-to manual!

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Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, from 1953
When I think of beauty and glamour, I automatically think of Hollywood's Golden Age, and the stunning ladies who filled the new, larger-than-life, CinemaScopic, technicolor screens with their striking beauty. The famous Monroe-Grable-Bacall comedy,  How to Marry a Millionaire, was the first film to be shot in CinemaScope, which was a new widescreen filming process pioneered by 20th Century-Fox. Upon reviewing the film and it's new, widescreen formatting, The New York Herald-Tribune commented:  "The big question, 'How does Marilyn Monroe look stretched across a broad screen?' is easily answered.   If you were sitting in the front row, you would probably feel as though you were being smothered in baked Alaska."

Of course, Marilyn is probably the most recognized (and commercialized) of all Hollywood's beauties, but there were many others ladies who exhibited uniquely-glamorous qualities of their own--and proved that gentlemen didn't always prefer blondes. Consider the following:
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The epitome of the classic, brunette bombshell--Jane Russell,  in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, from 1953
(Who else could have played opposite Marilyn Monroe?!)

 One of Hollywood's most glamorous red-heads--Rita Hayworth, in the film Tonight and Every Night, from 1945.
(There's a reason Madonna sings "she gave good face..."!)

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 The stunning, petite, and violet-eyed Elizabeth Taylor, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, from 1958

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The "Sweater Girl"--Lana Turner, in Mr. Imperium, from 1951
(Yes, I know she's blonde, but you can't talk about screen sirens without mentioning her!)

 The lovely Maureen O'Hara, whose notable films include The Quiet Man,  McLintock! and The Parent Trap

Of course, the list could go on and on...  I just love-love-love these glamorous looks! As I also love anything makeup or beauty-related, I set out a while ago in search of a vintage beauty guide which would teach me all the tips and tricks employed by the masterful makeup artists of that time (i.e. the Westmores, Ben Bye, Whitey Snyder, Max Factor, etc.) Not that I have expectations of actually achieving these looks, but it could be awfully fun trying! (Yes--I'm a 26 year-old who still likes to play in her makeup...and I'm finally not ashamed to admit it!)

So, in my on-going search for these beauty guides, I came across a gold mine of information contained in a book written by the infamous Westmores:

Westmore Beauty Book -- A Complete 1950s Guide to Vintage Makeup, Hairstyling and Beauty Techniques 

I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly informative this book is--and what's more-- it was written by the Westmores as a do-it-yourself, how-to, at-home guide, so it is very user-friendly.  The Westmores were some of the Hollywood's most respected makeup artists and wrote this guide so that everyday women could enjoy the same knowledge and know-how of the famous screen sirens that they so admired. The information included is extremely comprehensive and will teach you everything you need to know about achieving the most aesthetically-pleasing you; topics include:  face shapes, skin types, facial symmetry, shaping, shadowing and contouring, color selection, makeup application, makeup removal, hair styling, hair dyeing, exercise, facial massage, at-home facials, manicuring, personalized beauty questionnaire and follow-up, and how to establish a beauty routine. It also has very practical beauty information as well and isn't solely focused on transforming you into some kind of glamour goddess. (The intention of the manual isn't to force you into the movie star look, but to give you the tools you need in case you should want to try it out.)  Really, I cannot over-stress HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! It is a vintage-glamour-loving fanatic's dream!! I only wish I could find more like it, so if you know of one, please,  please let me know about it! =)

(Images from Wikimedia Commons)


  1. Intriguing...Do they have recipes for at-home facials?


  2. Yes! And I have tried several and love them; I plan on posting about them very soon--as as soon as I can find the time. =) One thing I love about this book is that all the fancy-shmancy creams, serums and treatments that are so popular today can easily be replaced by other cheap, effective treatments that predated all the newfangled stuff. The all-purpose face cream is still my favorite tip from this book...I still can't believe that women our age don't know about it...I think we associate cold cream with grand-mas or something, but it's soo effective...and truly all-purpose!

  3. Hi Liana! I came over from Stephanie's blog. So glad to "meet" you! Your blog looks terrific. I look forward to reading more!
    That glam book looks fantastic. I'm going to see if I can find it! Elizabeth Taylor is my most favorite glamour girls. When I get my eyebrows done, I always make I get them "Elizabethized!"
    Take care!

  4. Angela, thank you! And thanks for following! I'm still trying to figure out this whole blog thing. Haha!



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