A century of beauty trends, tips, tutorials and perceptions from 1880s-1980s magazines.
I cannot believe it is two whole years since this blog began - I feel like a complete noob most of the time. I would like to thank everyone who has read this blog for their support and hope you have liked it here at least for an infinitesimal second, at some point... Thanks also go to ANYONE who has advised, helped and shared knowledge and posts with and for me. I have more colleagues now than I have ever had at any workplace and love that about blogging.
Last year, I celebrated my first blogiversary by showing you some beautiful vintage beauty advertisements - check the post here. It is my all-time favourite post.
This year, I am sharing article-excerpts from women-centric magazines from the 1880s to the 1980s, containing beauty trends (i.e., whatever was trendy at the time), tips, tutorials, and perceptions. All of these are from my Gran's and Mum's collections, carefully scanned under heavy scrutiny after months of begging, bribing, pleading, coaxing and emotional blackmailing, and returned amid many mutterings. Warning: Picture-heavy.
Enjoy the old-world beauty tips, tutorials and perceptions!
Before we get started, the not-so-fine print:
- Perceptions of beauty were completely different from what they are today. I only share the articles and neither condone nor oppose what they say, but am just an impartial antique-collecting nerd.
- Almost all of these are now in the public domain and are freely and widely available online. I have not fully scanned anything that could still be copyrighted (including a DC Thomson publication where I'm not sure) and have only scanned quarter-pages. No article has been reproduced entirely and all publications mentioned are now defunct. All of them are British Commonwealth/Empire-centric/based.
- These are scanned and, therefore, may not always be straight, or when the page is larger than my scanner, may not contain the whole page (e.g. Good Housekeeping). All copies of the scans shown here belong to my Mum or Gran, not to me. Please click on the individual images to enlarge them. Some of the extremely foxed scans may have been colour-corrected by me for ease of reading.
- Sources of the scans are shown in detail towards the end of the post.
1880-1890s BeautyMore than makeup, Victorian magazines covered fashion, which was modest (by today's standards).
The articles stressed goodness, inner beauty and God's love as the best beauty tools (See slideshow further below for more).
1900s BeautyExercise and physical fitness were prominent in a post-Boer War publication's beauty section.
1910s BeautyA decade later, magazines were beginning to acknowledge beauty products - preferably natural ones.
Check out this sister post on vintage beauty advertisements for more.
1930s BeautyMagazines were open enough to discuss body types and tips for improving your figure, but slim was definitely in. The images featured here would have scandalised Victorian readers.
1950s BeautyDedicated pages for skincare and makeup products appeared in magazines, though many bordered on advertorials, naming and showcasing particular brands - Gala, Innoxa and Dorothy Gray.
A far bolder evening makeup look is shown in the slideshow further below.
More 1980s beauty articles are in the slideshow below.
There are just too many large photos already, so do watch the slideshow below for more beauty articles from vintage magazines. If you cannot see the slideshow, go here.