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The Ten Best Vintage Skincare & Beauty Tips to Try Today

The Ten Best Vintage Skincare and Beauty Tips to Try Today

By Chris Barry

You have plenty of technology to deal with on a day to day basis, right? Today, we’re talking old-fashioned beauty, as in tips + tricks that helped previous generations look and feel beautiful. Here’s a look at ten vintage skin, hair, and makeup hacks that are making a comeback. What are your favorites?

Ice Water

Back in the 1940s, Hollywood starlet Joan Crawford famously splashed her face with ice water every time she washed.

This trend is making a comeback among women in search of a simple and natural way to achieve bright and glowing skin.

Splashing ice-cold water on your face acts as a facial toner, which cleans and seals your pores — with the added benefit of waking up your senses during your early morning face wash.

Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is considered one of the healthier oils to ingest to maintain a balanced diet. Additionally, it has been used for generations as a skin and hair conditioner.

Whether you’re applying it to your hair after a shower or adding a couple droplets to your bathtub, olive oil will ensure the smoothest and silkiest results. The iconic Sophia Loren reportedly eats two tablespoons of olive oil each day, in addition to using it for hair and skin care.

Homemade Exfoliators

Katherine Hepburn famously applied a combination of lemon, sugar and olive oil to her skin in order to maintain a youthful glow.

Lemon acts as a toner, which tightens and brightens skin, while sugar acts as a natural and gentle scrub. It’s recommended to mix equal parts of each ingredient to obtain the perfect exfoliant.

Condition with Beer

This untraditional method was used in the past because of the natural hair benefits found in beer.

First, open a beer and let it sit until it becomes flat and reaches room temperature. After shampooing, soak your hair in beer for two minutes and then rinse. The natural sugars and B vitamins in beer will improve your hair’s shine, softness, and volume.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a trendy product at the moment, but years ago women knew it as a valuable hair treatment. Actress Rita Hayward would slather coconut oil on her hair and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing with water mixed with lemon juice.

The coconut oil penetrates hair follicles and makes hair soft and supple. Lemon water gives hair that extra shine and removes all traces of oil.

Cucumbers and Vaseline

While these two ingredients do not sound like an appetizing snack, together they create the perfect skincare pair.

Placing cucumber slices on your eyelids is a beauty trick that scores of women embrace. Adding Vaseline to this routine helps reduce the look of puffiness and dark circles while reducing the appearance of fine lines. Hollywood insiders say that Bette Davis had a fondness for this beauty treatment.

Rag Rollers

Rag rollers have likely been used for hundreds of years, though there is no exact evidence of their first use. What we know for sure is that they are inexpensive, simple and effective.

To “make” and use rag rollers, cut an old towel or pillowcase into strips, place a section of damp hair on top of the fabric strip, and roll it towards your head. When you have rolled your hair as far as you like, tie the two loose ends together and make a secure knot. Leave the rollers in your hair overnight. In the morning, unroll and tousle your curls to style. 

Petroleum Jelly

Better known by its brand name, Vaseline, petroleum jelly hit the shelves in 1872. This product became extremely successful due to its healing properties for minor cuts and a variety of rashes, as well as its undeniable moisturizing abilities.

Marilyn Monroe famously used and endorsed the product, only adding to its fame. To this day, Vaseline has remained an inexpensive and versatile staple in most beauty cabinets.


Rosewater has multiple properties that make it a great member of the vintage beauty team. It has antibacterial qualities, which help to heal scrapes or cuts. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it great for treating eczema.

The antioxidants found in rosewater make it a must-have for those wanting to slow the signs of aging and reduce fine lines. Additionally, it’s useful to rid the scalp of dandruff. Lastly, the smell of rosewater is known to help calm anxiety and stress.


With over 125 years of satisfied customers, Frownies have appeared in the beauty cabinets of many generations of women. The wrinkle-reducing patches smooth fine lines and cleanse the skin for a natural glow.

More recently, Frownies has expanded their skin care line to include a variety of vegan, natural and organic products.

Do you have any classic beauty tips you call on? Do tell!

About the Author

Chris Barry is a staff writer and senior editor for Zwivel. He has written stories on everything from motorcycle gangs in the Caribbean to traveling the USA with Ringo Starr. His articles have been published in such high – and sometimes low – profile publications as Vice, Maxim and The National Post.


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