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30 Timeless Style Secrets From Hollywood's Golden Era

Face Shaving

It sounds odd and unconventional for a woman to shave her face, but after you hear the benefits, you may change your mind. Elizabeth Taylor was known for shaving her face on a regular basis because it removed any baby hairs and the surface layer of dead skin cells. This instantly made her look as though she had just gotten a facial, and it’s much cheaper! 

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Parted Lashes

Audrey Hepburn is known for many things, and one of those things is her long, sweeping eyelashes. Her secret? After her makeup artist applied mascara to her eyelashes, she would painstakingly use a pin to separate each eyelash. This method is quite time-consuming and somewhat dangerous if you don’t have a steady hand, but the results speak for themselves. 

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Contouring With Blush

Kim Kardashian wants you to think that she came up with the brilliant idea of contouring, but it’s actually been around much longer than she has. Grace Kelly was known for using blush to define her cheekbones. She would apply a darker shade on the apples of her cheeks and a slightly lighter shade under her cheekbones. This method is much simpler than modern contouring, but it can really make a difference. 

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Lining Outside the Lips

Another way to make your lips look fuller, other than using every lipstick color on the spectrum, is to draw your lipliner outside of your natural lips. Complete the look by filling in the empty space with lipstick. Actresses, like Vivien Leigh, were known for using this technique with great success, but don’t go overboard with it. People will notice. 

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Tooth Extraction

Plastic surgery isn’t the only surgery you can undergo to make your face appear slimmer and more defined. Marlene Dietrich had some of her molars removed to accentuate her cheekbones, and while this may not be the most convenient or affordable option, it’s probably still cheaper than getting actual plastic surgery. On second thought, maybe just stick to contouring...

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Oily Hair

Moroccan oil and argan oil are all the rage in the world of hair care right now, but Rita Hayworth had this idea a long time ago. After every wash, she would douse her hair in oil, wrap it in a towel, and leave it for fifteen minutes. Then, she would rinse out the oil with water and lemon juice. Her hair would look luscious, curly, and most importantly--frizz-free!

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Petroleum Jelly Primer

If you’re looking for a way to make your eyes *pop*, the answer may be something other than eyeliner or mascara. Greta Garbo’s trick for making her eyes stand out more was to apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly under her dark eye shadow. Petroleum jelly can be a little messy, but using an eyeshadow primer can also do the trick without making a disaster of your vanity.

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Coconut Oil Moisturizer

Coconut oil this, coconut oil that--with all the buzz about coconut oil lately, you may think that it has only been discovered recently, but you’re wrong. Mae West used coconut oil to moisturize her facial skin and to give it a nice glow. You can do that same! Be sure to test it out on a small area first, because some people are sensitive to coconut oil and could develop a rash.

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Shaved Hairline

Having a larger forehead isn’t as much of a beauty trend now, but it used to be in the days of Ingrid Bergman. She wanted her forehead to be larger, so she shaved a centimeter off her hairline. If you want to achieve the same look, or simply want to alter the shape of your hairline, (carefully) give it a go. Or ask a professional. 

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Layered Lipstick

Long before the “Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge” went viral, there was another way to make your lips appear as full as Marilyn Monroe’s. She had her makeup artist apply five different shades of lipstick to her lips with darker hues in the corners and lighter shades towards the center, so if you don’t want to undergo plastic surgery, try this style secret out!

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Tape Boosts

Women now have tons of ways they could boost their cleavage to make it look more exaggerated. While most of us grab a push-up bra, Vivien Leigh would use tape to give her a little oomph in that area. It was said to give her a “bodice-ripper look.”

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Cotton Upper Lip

Actress Gloria Grahame was beautiful, but some of that was thanks to paper and cotton! She would stuff it in her upper lip to make her lips appear fuller. Sometimes, she wouldn’t even tell her co-stars, but they assuredly found out mid-kiss.

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Raw Vegetables

“You are what you eat.” This is a phrase that Gloria Swanson heartily believed. She said her smooth, healthy skin was thanks to applying raw vegetables to her face and eating them regularly. She’s quoted saying, “there is no beauty product better than raw vegetables.”

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Olive Oil

Sophia Loren was one of the most stunning women alive during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Along with following a Mediterranean diet, she was also known for having olive oil within arm’s reach at all times. Loren attributed her soft, supple skin to soaking in baths that had a few splashes of olive oil floating around.

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Eyebrow Shaving

So, this isn’t one that we’d suggest today, but some people still do it. Marlene Dietrich used to shave off her eyebrows and draw them back on to accentuate her face with different shapes. Instead of shaving, you can fill yours out with brow products to get a defining look.

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Hormone Cream

Monroe was full of secrets, and one of those was the secret to her radiant skin. Apparently, she used to use hormone cream to get her skin to shimmer on-screen. A layer of Active pHelityl Cream would be placed under her foundation. The downside was that the cream caused a fine layer of peachy-blonde hair to grow on her face. She insisted it gave her a glow in photographs.

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Regular Facials

This one isn’t a huge secret, but Vivien Leigh swore by it. She would get regular facials that consisted of hand-mixed scented lotions and aromatic oils, designed by Madame Lubatti. Lubatti was known for having several high-profile clients, even English royalty!

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Petroleum Jelly and Cucumbers

Bette Davis’s eyes were huge, bright, and line-free, but how? Each night before bed, she would put cucumbers on her eyelids. Then, when she was ready to go to sleep, she would slather a layer of petroleum jelly under her eyes to protect against puffiness and dark circles.

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Perfume

Plenty of Old Hollywood actresses thought that perfume was the best thing a woman could put on herself. Elizabeth Taylor strongly believed that scent was paramount to a woman’s allure and radiant femininity. Before going out, spritz on a little perfume. If you want to smell like Taylor, she loved gardenias and Elizabeth Arden White Diamonds scent.

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Ice Cold Water

Joan Crawford was serious about her beauty regimen. She used to chew gum because she thought it would firm her jaw and help drain toxins from under her chin. To clean her face, she would splash her face with ice cold water 25 times after every wash. Once maybe, but 25? Too cold!

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Matching Lipstick and Nail Polish

If Jane Russell could give one tip, it would be to match your lipstick and nail polish, but she wasn’t the first to come up with the idea. Rumor has it that Charles Revlon was dining at a restaurant when he noticed a woman dabbing her mouth with a napkin. Her nail color clashed with her lips, and the beauty tip was born.

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Sugar Scrub

Katharine Hepburn had incredibly smooth skin, and that was thanks to a sugar scrub. She was known for exfoliating regularly with a mixture of sugar, a tiny amount of warm water, and a spritz of lemon. Hepburn would rub this on her skin and follow up with a splash of ice-cold water. As a note, be careful adding lemon to the skin as it could be an irritant.

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Lotion, Lotion, Lotion

According to Grace Kelly, hands are where people begin to show their age. To combat this, she would apply lotion on her hands regularly. Keep hand cream nearby and keep your skin moisturized!

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Avoid Center Part

Do you want full, voluminous hair? Jean Harlow said her secret for getting the hair we all want was avoiding a center part. One of her more popular hairstyles was parting her hair on either side while adding a bit of a bump on the front.

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Half Falsies

Any photo you see of Monroe, she has huge eyes with fluffy eyelashes. You may be surprised to learn that she got that look with the help of falsies! She did it a little differently than we do today, however. Instead of the whole strip, Monroe would cut them in half and apply the outer portion of the eyelashes for a dramatic look.

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Ice Cubes

Greta Garbo didn’t wear a lot of makeup, especially since she hated how long it took to apply. Instead, she suggested that women use ice cubes to increase circulation and decrease puffiness. For a little more coverage, she would dab a little powder on her face.

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Gold Powder

This one is pretty much only useful for blonde women, unfortunately. Marlene Dietrich was known for having gold dust sprinkled in her hair to give it an extra glow. In fact, she insisted on it. It would make them shine on camera. Today, it could catch the sun, but be careful, too much dust or glitter, and it could go from chic to childish.

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Vinegar Treatments

Rita Hayworth was all about her hair. On top of oil treatments, she would occasionally rinse her hair with a mixture of vinegar and lukewarm water. She said this helped her manage her hair and give it a boost in shininess. While Hayworth used white vinegar, diluted apple cider vinegar would be your best bet to getting shiny hair.

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White Eyeliner

We said it before, and we’ll say it again: Marylin Monroe was full of Old Hollywood beauty hacks. One of our favorites was her use of white eyeliner. To make her bright blue eyes shine, she would do winged liner from her upper and lower lid, and she would fill the gap with a white pencil. Today, many starts still use white eyeliner to create the illusion that their eyes are larger.  

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Boric Acid

Before we talk about how it was used, we want to put a disclaimer that no one should ever put boric acid on their face. Ever. Joan Crawford didn’t have anyone to tell her otherwise, so she would use boric acid and cold water on her eyes to keep them clear. It’s a surprise she didn’t go blind.

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