Health & beauty

What It's Like To Follow Beauty Advice From The '50s

One teenage girl finds out

How cute is this: After Texas teenager Maya Van Wagenen wrote a memoir chronicling her time following the advice of the 1958 book "Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide" (and got a movie deal_, New York City teen Ella Epstein thought she'd give the guide a try, too. Epstein followed the guide's beauty, fashion, and exercise advice for a week to see what it might be like to live like a 1950s teen.

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Cornell wrote advice on everything from hair to makeup to exercise. "Beautiful hair is about the most important thing a girl has," noted Cornell. And according to Cornell, it only needs to be washed once a week, but brushed 100 times a night (which yes, sounds insane).

Epstein exercising at home.
But while teens were encouraged to skip hair-washing, they were told to spend more time on their skin care routine. Cornell advised teens to wash with hot water, scrub with soap for two minutes, and use ice cubes -- yes, ice cubes -- to wash off the suds.

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And exercising? Ms. Cornell advises women go for a "well-developed, well-proportioned figure, straight shoulders, small waist and hips, well-shaped legs and thin ankles, so you too can stand up -- smile and be proud." But nothing too strenuous, of course.

So after a week of '50s living, was Epstein sold on Cornell's way of life? "Although I wondered how this lifestyle could possibly make anyone more popular," she writes, "I did feel a lot more elegant, composed and energized by the end of the week." So all in all, not a total loss -- though we'd certainly miss our cell phones. [New York Post]

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