Art Of The Toilette
( Originally Published 1924 )
Primarily—relaxation! When you relax—try to rest your eyes at the same time. It is soothing to place pads of cotton, wet with ice water and wich-hazel, on them. Just a few minutes of utter relaxation should make one feel like a new woman. If they do not, then one needs a real vacation. Mothers completely worn out by the care of their children should have a chance to renew their strength by utter relaxation and solitude. Every mother needs a Holy of Holies where she can be absolutely alone. As a result, she will be a better mother and wife, and her husband and children will be benefited by her sweet disposition. We will now get in trim to meet the problems of the day.
After the cold shower, put on the undergarments which, if you are a modern woman, will probably consist of a plain, silk jersey or crêpe or voile vest. For evening, of course, the undergarments may be of Georgette crêpe which matches the color of the costume—but at all times the underwear should never attract attention by its color. Conspicuous straps showing through a lingerie dress are very poor taste.
Next comes the corset—which should be just the right model for the figure, and be comfortable; select one that will stay where it is placed and not move up. This should be followed by a well-fitted brassière.
The stockings should be put on so that the seam in the back is straight and there are no wrinkles about the ankles. Then come the shoes, which above everything else should be comfortable and in keeping with the occasion and the costume.
Next come well-fitting bloomers or "step-ins" of knitted glove-silk crêpe, or of soft cotton fabrics. If the frock is transparent, there must be added a perfectly fitting princess slip.
Over this foundation—which certainly is an improvement over the voluminous and heavy "chemise, drawers, corset cover, underskirt, and three stiff petticoats—" the lines of the dress become supple and graceful. But you are not yet ready for the frock. Your face now deserves its share of attention.
Sit at your dressing-table. This, if your finances are limited, may be constructed from a plain table or a packing-box covered with a flounce of dotted muslin over a color that harmonizes with the scheme of the room. The covering may be a small-figured, dainty cretonne, or taffeta. If possible, put over the cover a fitted slab of plate glass which is so easy to clean. Everything used on the skin should be perfectly clean, so keep the jars well covered. If you can hot satisfy your taste in expensive jars and bottles, you can take very ordinary ones, paint them as your color plan dictates, and decorate them with a little color in conventional or flower design.
Now, first of all put up the shades and let in every bit of daylight you can. Face the worst, and then go about making the best of the situation. Have a strong light over your table and let it shine on you.
Put a towel, or, if you wish to be picturesque, a Deauville 'kerchief, around the hair and confine it completely. Cold-cream the face; with the tips of the fingers, which should be immaculately clean, put dabs on the forehead, cheeks, and chin. You're not going to have a real honest-to-goodness massage—just a toning up. Every pat should be up-ward and outward. Pat from the chin upward to the tip of the ear; give a few extra pats right in front of the ear; pat from the mouth to the temples; give a few extra pats at the temples; pat very gently all around the nose; pat up and down across the forehead ; rub down the nose to the point and then up around the nostrils; pat around the mouth; pat quite briskly under the chin, and don't forget the throat. This patting can be done with the fingers—and the exercise will help to beautify and limber the fingers—or it may be done with "a patter"—a padded disk on a flexible springing handle, or "a molder," a device recommended by some Beauty Specialists instead of the "patter."
The muscles should be toned up and strengthened by the increased circulation which comes from the patting. One should spend as much time pat-a-facing as do the babies in pat-a-caking. Perhaps the babies can be taught the new way of patting and the next generation will be perfect in facial contour.
The cold cream is wiped off very gently with a soft towel, cloth, or tissue for the purpose. Then an astringent is dabbed on. This may be wichhazel and ice-water, a tablespoonful of each mixed each time, with two or three drops of benzoin added for bleaching. Dry the face by patting with a soft towel. Apply with the palms of the hand, patting upward, a little glycerin and rose-water, which is a good base for the powder. All this will consume not more than ten minutes.
Now you are ready for a simple dusting of pow-der and the brushing of eyebrows and lashes to remove the powder from them.
Fortunate are you if good health provides your natural make-up. Even to-day there are beautiful women who use no make-up. One woman with a lovely complexion has pride in the very unusual fact that to this day she has never used one bit of powder. To the question, "How do you keep your nose from being shiny?" she replies; "I have a very soft and clean rubber complexion-brush. I al-ways carry a very little one with me. This rubbed over my nose removes the shine."
It has not and never will become the fashion for a well-bred woman to make up in public. The college girls have well taken this attitude.
Now for the artistic make-up, which we will try to make so realistic and subtle that it can not be detected. It has been done. More than one unsuspecting husband has been known to say, "I know one woman who doesn't make up—and that is my wife!"
We'll begin with the mouth. It can be made to speak consume. The lip stick, or paste, or liquid rouge must match the coloring, tho it may be necessary to choose one for daylight and one for artificial light, the brighter, lighter color for evening. Pout the lips, so that the line of the mucous membrane can be followed—if the mouth is small, rouge clear to the corners; if it is large, stop just a little short. The lower lip should be rouged very lightly. The cupid's bow of the upper lip can be emphasized. Some use liquid rouge and color their gums also.
The rouge for the cheeks should be selected with meticulous care as to harmony with the skin's coloring and the lip's coloring. If a paste or liquid rouge is used, it should be put on before powdering. Start at the ear on a line with the eyes, moving in a slanting line to the highest part of the cheek near the nose, now move in a slanting line to the lobe of the ear. Blend with the finger-tips. There should be a spot of almost no color where the cheeks begin to curve in; this lightness will do away with the shadows which give hollows. As you rouge your cheeks, remember that familiarity with your face may blind you to intensity of color, so always put on a little less rather than a little more of the rouge.
Next, powder generously with clean, pure pow-der which has been chosen because it tones with your complexion. The powder-puff must be immaculate. Better than the powder-puff are little balls of absorbent cotton which can be kept ready for use in a covered jar. With a fresh, unpowdered puff of cotton, smooth the powder.
Whatever happens do not forget the neck, for it is really an inseparable and very important part of the picture.
Now the eyes. They have been brightened by rest and ice-water. Drops of various kinds should be used only under the direction of an occulist. Brush the eyebrows and, if necessary, shape them by pulling out unsightly hairs with tweezers. A thin line is unnatural and takes away from the character of the face. One may be transformed from a tragedienne to a comedienne by the shaping of the eyebrows. The eyebrows which begin too far toward the outer edge of the eye can be penciled in a line toward the nose—but never meeting, unless a stern and domineering expression is desired. Two little dancing hairs at the highest middle point of the brow may give the comic spirit described by Rabelais as "a certain jollity of mind pickled in the scorn of fortune." The tiny tweezers may remove the hairs and also the expression of the pickled jollity of mind.
It is most difficult to apply make-up to the eyes, especially in the daytime, so that it can not be detected. A harmless preparation for the eyelashes may be applied by brushing upward with a tiny brush to which the paste or liquid has been applied. This makes the lashes look longer and heavier. The theatrical mode may pass undetected in artificial light, but one should be certain that she doesn't simulate an owl or a pugilist.
Shadowy eyes may be desired, for some people consider them soulful. The red-haired girl with blue or green or gray eyes will find that her artificially-lighted portrait is improved by a penciling of blue around her eyes—and the brunette will use very dark red or burnt sienna. If a line is penciled from the outer corners of the eyes, they may give the impression of spectacles. This can be avoided by shading the line in with the shadows of the upper eyelid. A very tiny speck of brilliant red put at the inner corners of the eyes gives added brilliancy to them.
All of this sounds theatrical—and one must avoid that effect even on the stage. There must be an art that conceals art.
If one's nose is large and prominent, she should avoid powdering it too white, for this makes the size obvious. A too retroussé nose will look less so if there is a faint red line drawn. under it—and in the same manner an emphatic nose will look smaller if it is outlined lightly with dark red. If the nose is long and pointed, it should not be powdered very white on the tip.
Chin and the lobes of the ears may be rouged a bit.