Knowlege and resources


Useful Links

Contact Us

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional

Trivia and Information



Where is the woman who would not be beautiful? If such there be—but no, she does not exist. From that memorable day when the Queen of Sheba made a formal call on the late lamented King Solomon until the recent advent of the Jersey Lily, the power of beauty has controlled the fate of dynasties and the lives of men. How to be beautiful, and consequently powerful, is a question of far greater importance to the feminine mind than predestination or any other abstract subject. If women are to govern, control, manage, influence and retain the adoration of husbands, fathers, brothers, lovers or even cousins, they must look their prettiest at all times.

All women cannot have good features, but they can look well, and it is possible to a great extent to correct deformity and develop much of the figure. The first step to good looks is good health, and the first element of health is cleanliness. Keep clean—wash freely, bathe regularly. All the skin wants is leave to act, and it takes care of itself. In the matter of baths we do not strongly advocate a plunge in ice-cold water; it takes a woman with clear grit and a strong constitution to endure it. If a hot bath be used, let it come before retiring, as there is less danger of taking cold afterwards; and, besides, the body is weakened by the ablution and needs immediate rest. It is well to use a flesh-brush, and afterwards rinse off the soap-suds by briskly rubbing the body with a pair of coarse toilet gloves. The most important part of a bath is the drying. Every part of the body should be rubbed to a glowing redness, using a coarse crash towel at the finish. If sufficient friction can not be given, a small amount of bay rum applied with the palm of the hand will be found efficacious. Ladies who have ample leisure and who lead methodical lives, take a plunge or sponge bath three times a week, and a vapor or sun bath every day. To facilitate this very beneficial practice, a south or east apartment is desirable. The lady denudes herself, takes a seat near the window, and takes in the warm rays of the sun. The effect is both beneficial and delightful. If, however, she be of a restless disposition, she may dance, instead of basking, in the sunlight. Or, if she be not fond of dancing, she may improve the shining hours by taking down her hair and brushing it, using sulphur water, pulverized borax dissolved in alcohol, or some similar dressing. It would be surprising to many ladies to see her carefully wiping the separate locks on a clean, white towel until the dust of the previous day is entirely removed. With such care it is not necessary to wash the head, and the hair under this treatment is invariably good.

One of the most useful articles of the toilet is a bottle of ammonia, and any lady who has once learned its value will never be without it. A few drops in the water takes the place of the usual amount of soap, and cleans out the pores of the skin as well as a bleach will do. Wash the face with a flesh-brush, and rub the lips well to tone their color. It is well to bathe the eyes before putting in the spirits, and if it is desirable to increase their brightness, this may be done by dashing soapsuds into them. Always rub the eyes, in washing, toward the nose. If the eyebrows are inclined to spread irregularly, pinch the hairs together where thickest. If they show a tendency to meet, this contact may be avoided by pulling out the hairs every morning before the toilet.

The dash of Orientalism in costume and lace now turns a lady's attention to her eyelashes, which are worthless if not long and drooping. Indeed, so prevalent is the desire for this beautiful feature that hair-dressers and ladies' artists have scores of customers under treatment for invigorating their stunted eyelashes and eyebrows. To obtain these fringed curtains, anoint the roots with a balsam made of two drachms of nitric oxid of mercury mixed with one of leaf lard. After an application wash the roots with a camel's hair brush dipped in warm milk. Tiny scissors are used, with which the lashes are carefully but slightly trimmed every other day. When obtained, refrain from rubbing or even touching the lids with the finger-nails. There is more beauty in a pair of well-kept eyebrows and full, sweeping eyelashes than people are aware of, and a very inattractive and lusterless eye assumes new beauty when it looks out from beneath elongated fringes. Many ladies have a habit of rubbing the corners of their eyes to remove the dust that will frequently accumulate there. Unless this operation is done with little friction it will be found that the growth of hair is very spare, and in that case it will become necessary to pencil the barren corners. Instead of putting cologne water on the handkerchief, which has come to be considered a vulgarism among ladies of correct tastes, the perfume is spent on the eyebrows and lobes of the ears.

If commenced in youth, thick lips may be reduced by compression, and thin linear ones are easily modified by suction. This draws the blood to the surfaces, and produces at first a temporary and, later, a permanent inflation. It is a mistaken belief that biting the lips reddens them. The skin of the lips is very thin, rendering them extremely susceptible to organic derangement, and if the atmosphere does not cause chaps or parchment, the result of such harsh treatment will develop into swelling or the formation of scars. Above all things, keep a sweet breath.

Everybody can not have beautiful hands, but there is no plausible reason for their being ill kept. Red hands may be overcome by soaking the feet in hot water as often as possible. If the skin is hard and dry, use tar or oat-meal soap, saturate them with glycerine, and wear gloves in bed. Never bathe them in hot water, and wash no oftener than is necessary. There are dozens of women with soft, white hands who do not put them in water once a month. Rubber gloves are worn in making the toilet, and they are cared for by an ointment of glycerine and rubbed dry with chamois-skin or cotton flannel. The same treatment is not unfrequently applied to the face with the most successful results. If such methods are used, it would be just as well to keep the knowledge of it from the gentlemen. We know of one beautiful lady who has not washed her face for three years, yet it is always clean, rosy, sweet and kissable. With some of her other secrets she gave it to her lover for safe keeping. Unfortunately, it proved to be her last gift to that gentleman, who declared in a subsequent note that "I can not reconcile my heart and my manhood to a woman who can get along without washing her face."


There is as much a "fashion" in complexion as there is in bonnets or boots. Sometimes nature is the mode, sometimes art. Just now the latter is in the ascendant, though, as a rule, only in that inferior phase which has not reached the "concealment of art"—the point where extremes meet and the perfection of artifice presents all the appearance of artlessness. No one of an observant turn of mind, who is accustomed to the sight of English maids and matrons, can deny that making-up, as at present practiced, partakes of the amateurish element. Impossible reds and whites grow still more impossibly red and white from week to week under the unskilled hands of the wearer of "false colors," who does not like to ask for advice on so delicate a subject, for, even were she willing to confess to the practice, the imputation of experience conveyed in the asking for counsel might be badly received, and would scarcely be in good taste.

The prevalent and increasing short-sightedness of our times is, perhaps, partly the cause of the excessive use of rouge and powder. The wielder of the powder puff sees herself afar off, as it were. She knows that she cannot judge of the effect of her complexion with her face almost touching its reflection in the glass, and, standing about a yard off, she naturally accentuates her roses and lilies in a way that looks very pleasing to her, but is rather startling to any one with longer sight. Nor can she tone down her rouge with the powdered hair that softened the artificial coloring of her grandmother when she had her day. Powder is only occasionally worn with evening dress, and it is by daylight that those dreadful bluish reds and whites look their worst.

On the other hand, there are some women so clever at making up their faces that one feels almost inclined to condone the practice in admiration of the result. These are the small minority, and are likely to remain so, for their secret is of a kind unlikely to be shared. The closest inspection of these cleverly managed complexions reveals no trace of art.

Notwithstanding the reticence of these skilled artists, an occasional burst of confidence has revealed a few of their means of accomplishing the great end of looking pretty. "Do you often do that?" said one of those clever ones, a matron of 37, who looked like a girl of 19, to a friend who was vigorously rubbing her cheeks with a course towel after a plentiful application of cold water.

"Yes, every time I come in from a walk, ride or drive. Why?"

"Well, no wonder you look older than you are. You are simply wearing your face out!"

"But I must wash?"

"Certainly, but not like that. Take a leaf out of my book; never wash you face just before going out into the fresh air, or just after coming in. Nothing is more injurious to the skin. Come to the glass. Do you notice a drawn look about your eyes and a general streakiness in the cheeks? That is the result of your violent assault upon your complexion just now. You look at this moment ten years older than you did twenty minutes ago in the park."

"Well, I really do. I look old enough to be your mother; but then, you are wonderful. You always look so young and fresh!"

"Because I never treat my poor face so badly as you do yours. I use rain-water, and if I cannot get that, I have the water filtered. When I dress for dinner I always wash my face with milk, adding just enough hot water to make it pleasant to use. A very soft sponge and very fine towel take the place of your terrible huckaback arrangement."

Two or three years ago a lady of Oriental parentage on her father's side spent a season in London society. Her complexion was brown, relieved by yellow, her features large and irregular, but redeemed by a pair of lovely and expressive eyes. So perfect was her taste in dress that she always attracted admiration wherever she went. Dressed in rich dark brown or dullest crimsons or russets, so that no one ever noticed much what she wore, she so managed that suggestions and hints—no more—of brilliant amber or pomegranate scarlet should appear just where they imparted brilliancy to her deep coloring, and abstract the yellow from her skin. A knot of old gold satin under the rim of her bonnet, another at her throat, and others in among the lace at her wrists, brightened up the otherwise subdued tinting of her costume, so that it always looked as though it had been designed expressly for her by some great colorist. Here rouge was unnecessary. The surroundings were arranged to suit the complexion, instead of the complexion to suit the surroundings. There can be no doubt as to which is the method which best becomes the gentlewoman.

In addition to the disagreeable sensation of making-up, it must be remembered that the use of some of the white powders eventually destroys the texture of the skin, rendering it rough and coarse. Rimmel, the celebrated perfumer, in his "Book of Perfumes," says that rouge, being composed of cochineal and saffron, is harmless, but that white cosmetics consist occasionally of deleterious substances which may injure the health. He advises actors and actresses to choose cosmetics, especially the white, with the greatest care, and women of the world, who wish to preserve the freshness of their complexion, to observe the following recipe: Open air, rest, exercise and cold water.

In another part of this pleasant book the author says that schonada, a cosmetic used among the Arabs, is quite innocuous and at the same time effectual. "This cream, which consists of sublimated benzoin, acts upon the skin as a slight stimulant, and imparts perfectly natural colors during some hours without occasioning the inconveniences with which European cosmetics may justly be reproached." It is a well-known fact that bismuth, a white powder containing sugar of lead, injures the nerve-centers when constantly employed, and occasionally causes paralysis itself.

In getting up the eyes, nothing is injurious that is not dropped into them. The use of kohl or kohol is quite harmless, and, it must be confessed, very effective when applied—as the famous recipe for salad dressing enjoins with regard to the vinegar—by the hand of a miser. Modern Egyptian ladies make their kohol of the smoke produced by burning almonds. A small bag holding the bottle of kuhol, and a pin, with a rounded point with which to apply it, form part of the toilet paraphernalia of all the beauties of Cairo, who make the immense mistake of getting up their eyes in an exactly similar manner, thus trying to reduce the endless variety of nature to one common pattern, a mistake that may be accounted for by the fact that the Arabs believe kohol to be a sovereign specific against ophthalmia. Their English sisters often make the same mistake without the same excuse. A hairpin steeped in lampblack is the usual method of darkening the eyes in England, retribution following sooner or later in the shape of a total loss of the eyelashes. Eau de Cologne is occasionally dropped into the eyes, with the effect of making them brighter. The operation is painful, and it is said that half a dozen drops of whisky and the same quantity of Eau de Cologne, eaten on a lump of sugar, is quite as effective.


A lady looks infinitely taller and slimmer in a long dress than she does in a short costume, and there is always a way of showing the feet, if desired, by making the front quite short, which gives, indeed, a more youthful appearance to a train dress. The greatest attention must, of course, be paid to the feet with these short dresses, and I may here at once state that high heels are absolutely forbidden by fashion. Doctors, are you content? Only on cheap shoes and boots are they now made, and are only worn by common people. A good bootmaker will not make high heels now, even if paid double price to do so. Ladies—that is, real ladies—now wear flat-soled shoes and boots, a la Cinderella. For morning walking, boots or high Moliere shoes are worn.

If you wear boots you may wear any stockings you like, for no one sees them. But if you wear shoes you must adapt your stockings to your dress. Floss silk, Scotch thread, and even cotton stockings are worn for walking, silk stockings have returned into exclusively evening wear. Day stockings should be of the same color as the dress, but they may be shaded, or stripped, or dotted, just as you please. White stockings are absolutely forbidden for day wear—no one wears them—no one dares wear them under fashion's interdiction.


The whole secret of standing and walking erect consists in keeping the chin well away from the breast. This throws the head upward and backward, and the shoulders will naturally settle backward and in their true position. Those who stoop in walking generally look downward. The proper way is to look straight ahead, upon the same level with your eyes, or if you are inclined to stoop, until that tendency is overcome, look rather above than below the level. Mountaineers are said to be as "straight as an arrow," and the reason is because they are obliged to look upward so much. It is simply impossible to stoop in walking if you will heed and practice this rule. You will notice that all round-shouldered persons carry the chin near the breast and pointed downward. Take warning in time, and heed grandmother's advice, for a bad habit is more easily prevented than cured. The habit of stooping when one walks or stands is a bad habit and especially hard to cure.

Home | A to Z | About | Contact Us | Related Links