Retro Beauty Tips

When it comes to beauty women are spoilt for choice but this wasn't always the case. Heart presenter Nicola Bonn shares her grandmother's grooming advice and finds out how women stayed beautiful in the old days.

Sometimes the amount of beauty products on the market can be totally overwhelming. It seems that just as you settle on a moisturiser or mascara that you love, then the next big thing comes out and you just have to try it.

It’s funny to think that in the not too distant past women had just a very basic choice of products and they made do and still managed to look fantastic.

I’m always fascinated by beauty tips and recommendations from the older women in my family. Some of the oldest tips are the best and in this article I’m going to go back in time and celebrate classic beauty advice from years gone by.

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Pretty much the only cleanser on the market in my Grandma’s day was Ponds Cold Cream. Every beauty conscious woman had a pot of Ponds on her dressing table and it dates all the way back to 1915. Nowadays there are a plethora of cleansers available, but I think that Ponds is still up there with the best of them (and is really good value  at only £4.49 a pot). Not only does this product thoroughly cleanse your face whilst removing stubborn makeup, but it also leaves you feeling moisturised rather than drying your skin out like some other cleansers can do. If you fancy giving Ponds Cold Cream a go, I recommend rubbing it into your face with your hands and then removing with a warm flannel. Your face will feel super-soft and glowing.

My Grandma Lily was ultra-glamorous and amongst other things had the most incredible nails right up to the day she died. As a teenager I bit my nails and she always begged me to stop biting and to follow her tips for long, strong nails. When I finally gave up my disgusting habit, I followed her tips and hey presto, long, healthy nails! To grow your nails Lily style, eat a cube of jelly a day (the gelatine strengthens bones and nails), use a good nail strengthener (I recommend Nail Tek II) and keep your hands hydrated with a moisturiser that includes nail strengthening ingredients (Grandma swore by Vaseline cream for Healthy Hands and Stronger Nails).

Another great retro beauty tip is that olive oil is one of the best beauty friends a girl can have. It can be used as a hair mask (apply to damp hair, wear a bath cap/wrap it in a towel for twenty minutes while it works it’s magic and then rinse. Rita Hayworth kept her hair beautiful by doing just this. She’d use lemon juice to get rid of any oily residue), rubbed into cuticles, as a make-up remover (using an oil based cleanser is actually good for oily skin), as a moisturising hand treatment (apply and wear cotton gloves overnight while it sinks into the skin), the list goes on! The thing I love about olive oil is that it is pure and safe with no added nasties. It is also so cheap and incredibly effective.

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Another trick to get beautiful hair is to wash it in beer, which will make your locks bouncy and shiny. After shampooing, rinse your hair in flat, warm beer (the more hops the better), leave it to soak in for a couple of minutes, then rinse and apply conditioner as usual.

Cold water is one of the oldest beauty secrets out there. If you’re brave enough, make your final hair and body rinse in the shower a cold one as it will make your hair shiny and vibrant and your skin will look great too. The same goes for your face. After cleansing, splash it with cold water to close the pores.

I’d love to hear about the beauty tips that you’ve learnt from the older and wiser women in your life. Use the comments box below to share your vintage advice!

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Nicola Bonn is a presenter on Heart and writes her beauty blog