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10 Best Vintage Skincare Tips That Still Work Today

Today’s post reviving vintage skincare tips and tricks (that actually work) was written by Chris Barry. If you were around for these product ads in magazines, you’ll love reminiscing, and if you weren’t, you’ll find your new favorite tips to help you age gracefully and maintain that youthful glow. Enjoy, darling!

Image of a graphic with the text "vintage skincare" with image of a woman's head and bust with a vintage look in black and white surrounded by products used in natural vintage skincare from rose water to lemon some favorite things to keep your face youthful through the ages now and then

You’ll be surprised at some of these vintage skincare items, but some are still trendy today!

You have plenty of technology to deal with on a day to day basis, right? I’ve found things from blue light therapy masks to electric face scrubbers. Nothing against technology, but today, we’re talking old-fashioned beauty, as in tips and tricks that helped previous generations look and feel beautiful.

So, what do you think? Tempted to ditch the high-priced, high-tech beauty routine and embrace vintage hacks? The best part? Most of the ingredients you’ll need are probably already hanging out in your kitchen or pantry! Here’s a look at ten vintage skin, hair, and makeup hacks that are making a comeback. What are your favorites?

Ice Water — The Best (Non)Product Yesterday and Today

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. This is particularly great for sensitive skin as I can’t think of a more gentle product (if you can call it that!) than water!

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.

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Olive Oil — Great for Your Skin and Your Body

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 for a Smooth, Youthful Glow

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.

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Most Surprising Skin Care Favorite — 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 Trendy Yet Timeless

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. We love this brand of coconut oil found on Amazon.

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.

We prefer this natural alternative to Vaseline that doesn’t contain petroleum.

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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. 

The Ten Best Vintage Skincare and Beauty Tips to Try Today

I love looking at vintage skincare ads from days gone by. And you know I love my red lipstick!

Petroleum Jelly (and a Clean Alternative)

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. Again, we prefer this alternative that skips the questionable petroleum but still works as well. 

Rosewater — Great for Sensitive Skin

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.

Amazing natural beauty products made with honey


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.

What’s Your Favorite Vintage Skincare Item/Tip/Trick?

These age-old tricks are making a comeback for a reason – they’re simple, effective, and naturally formulated. From ice water facials to olive oil hair masks, there’s something for everyone in this list.

Think of it as giving your skin and hair a little TLC, the old-fashioned way. No need to spend a fortune on fancy products – Mother Nature has everything you need for a naturally radiant and healthy look.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Have you tried any of these vintage beauty hacks before? Did they work for you? Maybe you have a favorite grandma-approved secret you swear by? Spill the tea, darlings! Share your thoughts and favorite tips in the comments below – let’s keep this conversation about timeless beauty hacks going!

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.

DIY skincare for women over 60

April 23, 2024

beauty, Makeup Tips, skin care

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  1. Jo-Ann Geffen says:

    great info!! And no carcinogens.

  2. Honey Good says:

    Thank you. Honey

  3. Jo Hildebrand says:

    Cold water (morning and night) and PONDS products. I’ve tried every brand-highest dollar ones out there-and always come back to these. I use the cleansing cream and the moisturizer. Worked for Great grandma, grandma, and Mom….and, still perfect for me!!!!!

    • Susan Good says:

      My mom only used Ponds and she had beautiful skin until she passed away at 101 years old. Warmly, Honey

  4. Heather Jones says:

    Sorry my dear,
    I don’t agree with some of these.
    I would never use sugar on my face, coconut oil either as it clogs pores.
    I won’t splash my face with ice water either as you run the risk of broken capillaries

    • Susan Good says:

      Fortunately Heather it was not my advice. A contributor wrote the article. I happen to agree with you. My editor allowed her story to be published so thank you very much. I am sure you have a lovely complexion. Warmly, Honey

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