Some of us girls embrace the health and beauty industry, others of us couldn’t care less. Me – I’m somewhere inbetween; I’m a sucker for painting my nails, but I like to treat my eye-brows much like a mother of teenage children, I sigh and disapprove, but give them freedom and let them make their own mistakes. My Mum bought me Every Woman’s Book of Health and Beauty mainly for a giggle, but as well as that, I actually found myself enjoying it far more than your average woman’s magazine or beauty blog today.
“Under no circumstances do you want your bust to become bigger.”
Granted, I wouldn’t take all of its advice on board, times have moved on since olive oil was recommended to prevent sunburn. I also find it hard to believe any woman in any era could go to the lengths this book suggests; their is a whole chapter entitled ‘keeping the neck beautiful’, including massage and exercise techniques. I for one have NEVER considered looking after my neck, but at least I now know where to go should I ever find the need.
“It is not, as a rule, good to sleep flat on the back, for with many girls, for some rather obscure reason, it seems to be the cause of bad dreams.”
“The fashion for slimming is no longer a craze but has settled down into a desire for a figure with well-defined lines and shapeliness.”
When it came to advice about weight, this book couldn’t be more different from most of the articles we read today. The chapter on weight loss was called ‘slimming with safety’, with not a juice detox or crash diet in sight, it aims to get you to an average weight and no less. This was then followed by a chapter about putting on weight, for those girls ‘whose looks and health would be vastly improved if only they could put on a little more flesh’. I don’t know about you but I envy those women who lived in a time when the aim wasn’t just to be as thin as possible, when having a healthy figure with ‘shapeliness’ was considered far more attractive.
“Woe betide the girl who habitually crosses the same leg when sitting, for she will soon have shortened muscles at one side resulting in a prominent hip.”
But perhaps the biggest breath of fresh air I received from this book was its focus on health. Be healthy, it says, and the beauty will follow. Today we are bombarded with miracle lotions and potions to try and make ourselves more beautiful, which, don’t get me wrong, I buy into as much as the next girl. In this book however, instead of recommending products, the advice is to change your health habits in order to maintain good looks. It talks about the right kinds of food to eat for shiny hair and a blemish free complexion, as well as the importance of sleep to your health and appearance. Plus if you need to lose weight, it’s because it’s unhealthy, rather than because it’s unattractive.
You won’t find me doing neck exercises any time soon, but I have taken more away from this little book than just a good giggle at how times have changed. Put being fit and healthy first, have a bath everyday, and remember never to keep crossing the same leg.