Beauty And Bathing
( Originally Published 1924 )
Charm is more than a thing of the spirit; it is generated by a beautiful mind. All are agreed as to that ; but one can not imagine charm radiating from anybody who is not clean and wholesome. In other words, any girl or woman who wishes to develop charm, or grace, or beauty in her daily life, must begin with a healthy body. And in order to acquire that wholesome, normal body, she must learn and observe the three fundamentals of good health—elimination, sleep, and frequent bathing.
The word "lady" has been so much abused during the last few years that it is hard to explain just what is signified by the expression. "A lady is a clean woman who is kind," was the definition of a little girl who thereby verified the statement that "Out of the mouths of babes shall come wisdom."
It is not an easy task to keep physically clean—and it seems to grow more difficult as life moves on; very possibly the raising of our standards of cleanliness has something to do with this.
Since the time when a certain man was so proud of his modern tile bath that he could "hardly wait until Saturday night" for a demonstration of its powers, devices have made us the cleanest nation in the world. Showers of many kinds, and the various baths along with the spotless white porcelain which even the modest homes boast ; private, semi-private, and municipal swimming pools, and a myriad of other devices which are uniquely American, have made us the cleanest nation in the world—except for the high-class Japanese, among whom cleanliness is a matter of freedom from grime and all odors which emanate from the "third lung," the skin.
There is a true story of a famous French beauty who sought advice from a French physician for the preservation of her loveliness. The doctor gave her a bottle of colorless liquid with instructions to use a few drops of it daily in a bath of soft water, assuring her that it was the most potent promoter of comeliness known to science. The woman followed his instructions faithfully for many years, and it is said that she retained her beauty to a ripe old age. You have probably guessed that the elixir was nothing but pure water ! It was simply a ruse of the old doctor who knew that in no other way could he break down her prejudice against regular and daily bathing.
Bathing means more than cleanliness—it means the opening of more than three hundred thousand pores, outlets of impurities,. The brisk rub-down, taking longer time than the bath, should follow the bath, for it opens all the clogged canals and stimulates circulation, so that the skin is made a more efficient avenue of waste elimination.
Ordinary table salt rubbed on with the hands will cause a tingling reaction from the skin, which is most delicious to one who is fatigued. But—one should never bathe when one is over-tired; a half hour's rest and relaxation at the end of a busy day should always precede the tepid bath. Two hours interim should elapse between eating and bathing.
Very cold and very hot baths should be indulged in only after a physician has determined that their effects are not harmful to the heart's functioning.
A fresh wash-cloth for every bath—the French-woman uses two—will add to the sensation of cleanliness. Bran, like oatmeal, in a bag, will soften the water. Almond-meal and castile soap are very soothing to a tender skin.
Epsom-salt baths have tonic effects—especially to those who have rheumatic or neuritic tendencies —and are said to reduce the adipose tissue of the bather. A quarter-pound of epsom salt to a bath-tub one-third full of water is the proper proportion —if the physician approves.
After emerging from the bath, spray the body with toilet-water or with an invigorating aromatic vinegar. Dust the armpits with powder—if necessary, to prevent a disagreeable odor ; any one of the commercial deodorants may be used. A good de-odorant powder can be made from two and one-half drams of camphor, four ounces of orris-root and sixteen ounces of starch pulverized very fine. Shaving the hair under the arms helps to keep the armpits clean and odorless.
Soft water, while best for bathing, is not always obtainable. Borax may be used for softening ac-cording to the directions on the container. Sal soda or washing soda costs only a few cents a pound, yet a handful thrown in the bath-water will relax weary nerves, revive lightness of spirit and elasticity of muscles as effectively as the most expensive bath salts. A very delightful addition to a bath-water is a tiny cheese-cloth bag filled with two table-spoonfuls 'of oatmeal and one-quarter of a teaspoon of orris-root powder. The water becomes milky and soft. What gift to a dainty friend could be more acceptable than three hundred and sixty-five of these beauty packets?
The special cleansing of the face begins with cold cream, a cleansing cream removed with wet absorbent cotton. If the face is not immaculate, repeat the process. The face must be kept clean. If the pores of the skin are clogged, the blackheads should be squeezed out carefully, with the fingers covered with antiseptic gauze. Care should be taken not to leave bruises. The little bag filled with oatmeal and orris and almond-meal—two tablespoons of oatmeal, and one-half of a teaspoon of each of the other ingredients—dipped in hot water and held on the blackheads will soften them so that they can be easily removed. After the skin is rinsed with warm water, it should be toned up with wich-hazel —a tablespoonful with two or three drops of benzoin.
Now your face should be thoroughly clean, and is ready for a special molding process. A tissue-building cream is used for this, and it is applied with two or three fingers. Relax the body utterly as the process proceeds. Try to get rest, for that is a certain enemy to that down-in-the-mouth, tiredof-life expression.
Treat the skin with respect and extreme delicacy.
Peach juice and dairy cream, glycerin and rose-water, are blended in a delicious cream which gives to the face that old-fashioned quality which our mothers called "Peaches-and-cream," It is also a good skin-bleach and wrinkle-remover.
This new face should be worn as gracefully as the new hat, which shines from above and radiates cheer and good will towards men.