7 Old Beauty Tips & Tricks Compared to Today’s Advice

We certainly don’t do things the same way anymore!

There is such a thing as timeless beauty, but as we know too well makeup trends can really shape the way we get ready. The beauty tips we once thought were infallible might seem odd for us today. We often get nostalgic for the way we used to dress and do our hair, but some of the advice on beauty we got back then doesn’t hold a candle to how we do things today!

Via/ State Archives of Florida


Eye shadow colors in the ’50s and ’60s came in limited ranges. The concept of a nude palette was still years away. Makeup advice in magazines and ads gave very specific instructions on how to choose the right color- by either your eye color or your hair color.

Via/ Flickr

Today we have the concept of spring, autumn, winter, and fall as color types. But, back then the colors were limited and usually strongly prescribed based on mid-century color theory. Ladies were often advised to wear the same color eyeshadow as their eyes or a contrasting color that might appear opposite on a color wheel.

Bring on the Oil

Pond’s Cold Cream was a bestseller for decades, along with baby oil and other oil-based products. Baby oil and Pond’s were both used take off make-up. To prep skin for tanning baby oil was a favorite. Unlike the bevy of oil-free products we have today, oil was seen as “skin food” back then and was even an ingredient in makeup foundations.

Imagine a lanolin-oil-based foundation being sold today! Via/ Internet Archive

Dramatic Brows

Eyebrow lines in the ’30s were thin but they got really thick in the ’50s and then more natural by the ’70s. Powders and creams marketed specifically for eyebrows first sold in the ’50s and stars of the era like Liz Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and Joan Crawford embraced very dark and very arched eyebrows.

Via/ Internet Archive

Your Choice of Red or Pink

Once upon a time lipstick only came in limited colors- browns, nudes, and purples were simply unheard of back in the day. Pinks, reds, and corals were the most common colors. In the late 1960s more shades were on offer, including frosted and pastel colors.

Via/ Flickr

Get Thee to a Salon

Hair was often set, either in curlers or bobby pins, professionally if at all possible. Setting lotions and hairsprays could make hair feel quite crisp. Hair was not usually washed everyday so as to maintain the hairstyle that had been worked so hard for. During the ’40s through the early ’60s the natural look was not en vogue as it would be in later years.

Via/ State Archives of Florida

Perm Your Way to Beauty

Home perms were fairly common in the ’30s-’50s for women who were confident in their hair-setting skills. It was even better if you had someone to do it for you at home! We don’t know too many people who would risk their hair this way today.

Via/ Flickr

Protect the Hair

Today we put our hair up if needed, but back in the day a scarf or headband was advised for any task related to skin care or makeup. Silk or synthetic scarves were worn during the day to protect the hair from wind and plastic bonnets were used if it was raining outside.

Class on facial care and makeup and the Helena Rubenstein Salon, 1961. Note the headbands and the clear plastic bibs. Via/ Library of Congress