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Category Archives: Hair & Beauty

How to Plan a Wartime Wedding

From the Australian Women’s Weekly, February 1940 –




Fashions of February 1939

Continuing on from my post Fashions of January 1939, today a look at fashion from February 1939, the last month of Summer in Australia.


Illustration by Virgil, 1939

Illustration by Virgil, 1939


Suit ideas from London


Light weight wool is a popular Autumn and Spring fabric


I love the high waisted genie pants!


Why don't you wear Schiaparelli's adorable black seal skin topper?Hmmm...

Why don’t you wear Schiaparelli’s adorable black seal skin topper?Hmmm…


Simple swing skirts


Long gathered skirts for evening wear – what a lot of fabric!


Imagine the blackout curtains you could make from that velvet dress..


And let’s not forget the foundation garments!


Any favourites?

Articles from March 1942

Oh joy, the new scanner has arrived. Unfortunately I am still learning it’s secrets, but at least its a start. I can finally start sharing some images from 1940’s magazines loaned to me by a wonderful reader. First this Magazine from March 1942 –

cover womans day magazine march 1942

What a sweet cover I can’t seem to find detail of it in the magazine, but she looks as if she has just had some bad news….

One of my favourite ads in this magazine is this one of Olviia de Havilland – love that hairstyle!

olivia de haviland cola ad 1940s 1942

I’ll share more ads on the tumblr blog and try and scan a few interesting articles for next time.

The Soap War of 1939

  In 1939 soap was essential for cleanliness – plain bars of soap, there were no body washes or pump soaps.  Deodorant was fairly new and not everyone used or approved of it, so soap had to combat body odour, or try to. The advertising was intense as companies fought for consumer loyalty – these ads are all from the Australian Women’s Weekly in December 1939.

vintage 1930s rexona ad  

vintage 1930s soap adLux paid big money and used movie stars in their ads-

If only consumers had a crystal ball they probably would have stocked up on as much soap as possible, as it became almost impossible to get during the war.

Hair styles and products of 1939

Sometimes in old novels I have come across people using “Californian Poppy” and I had no idea what it was. It turns out it’s not drugs, as I imagined, but brillantine, or hair oil. I remember my Grandfather using brilliantine in the 70s and 80s, even when he had very little hair, and I assume he used it his whole life. Women also used it, as shown in the ad below, as well as setting lotion, and in the 1930s shampoo began being advertised to replace soap for washing hair. Enjoy these ads from 1939, and if you’re brave there are instructions for damp setting your hair!

 vintage 1930s hair ad  
 intage 1930s hairstyles    


Hollywood’s War Work, 1942

Hollywood did it’s bit during WWII in raising much needed War Bond money.  Hoyts Theatres and Fox films had ‘buy a bond to get in’ film premières, which in November 1942 alone raised three and a half million pounds. Stars such as Gene Tierney, pictured below, sold ‘a billion dollars’ worth of bonds in September 1942, in 300 US Cities.


Other actors helped out in different ways.  In 1942 Hollywood workers themselves contributed 160,000 pounds to the Red Cross, and invested around 80,000 pounds a week in war savings – not bad for a little town of 33,000 people.

Actress Linda Darnell qualified as a nurses aid, and with her friend Ann Miller ran a day-nursery for mothers enaged in war work.  Here is Linda Darnell rolling bandages for the Red Cross.


More than 2000 of Hollywood’s workers were in the Armed services by the end of 1942, and Hollywood also make training films for Allies, Government propaganda movies and sent copies of movies to troops in remote locations.

Some stars gave their metal jewellery to scrap drives, and others, such as Cobina Wright, pictured below, did their bit for the ‘Dig for Victory ‘ campaign.


As many movie making technicians joined the service, some actors spent their free time learning a trade, in case manpower shortages meant that movies could not be made.  Here is Ann Corcoran using an Acetylene Torch.


Some glamour girls, such as Ginny Simms and Ann Jeffreys shown below,  simply helped out as hostesses in US Service Canteens.


Photos from PIX Magazine, December 5, 1942

Lessons in Loveliness, 1940s

As a girl I dutifully brushed my hair 100 strokes a night, and polished my brown leather lace up shoes each night before bed.  And that was in the 70s! Here is some advice for school girls in 1942.


And for the ladies, some tips from Lournay.


And more form the Women’s Weekly, February 1944.


A Rainy Day, Beauty for Duty & a Snood to make

It’s a rainy day here today – more like tigers and elephants than cats and dogs – my downstairs laundry is flooding, and the pool has overfilled. It’s definitely too wet to go out and get groceries, so I am making do rather than stocking up.  The ox-tail stew is simmering, and the vegies for tomorrows ‘Woolton Pie,’ and I just made the family fried bacon and potatoes for lunch. 

I’ve just finished a wonderful book on WWII and the homefront (Readers Digest), and now am continuing watching ‘Coal House at war’ on youtube (with headphones so I can hear over the rain and thunder), and hoping the power won’t go out. Again. Episode 5 is interesting, with the debate over rabbit for dinner, and the women treating themselves to a mobile hairdresser and doing their bit of ‘Duty for Beauty.’  Women were encouraged to wear cheery lipstick and look pretty for their, and other, men – although lipstick and powder had to be used sparingly, and perms were frowned upon as a waste of chemicals and energy, resulting in women looking at other ways to curl their hair.  

Image 1942

‘Victory rolls’ became popular, as women could do them with pipe cleaners rather than the hard to buy bobby pins (as metal was needed for the war effort), and the style kept hair off the face, important for war work and housework.  And the style could last a few days, looking nice for going out Saturday night and at church on Sunday, and then the back caught up in a scarf or snood for the working week. 


This snood has a bow for a bit of extra glam, but it can be made without. This pattern is from the March 1942 issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly.





So now I just have to remember how to crochet! In the meantime, I might just order one from the lovely Miss Chrissy at the Lindy Charm School for Girls.

Of course the other V-rolls were for the back of the hair, and made famous by Veronica Lake in the movie So Proudly We Hail! (1943) , who was at the peak of her career and popularity at the time of this film’s release.  During the war many female army nurses an even factory workers emulated her famous peekaboo hairstyle, something that caused a bit of a safety issue, and Lake herself chose to change the style to a more practical one for this film. You can see the video looking at this hairstyle here, and this is  a still from the video showing the finished style. It really looks like a V!Image

You can buy a special hair sponge to create this look easily, from here.

If you try out victory rolls or a snood, let me know!

The Latest Fashions from Hollywood, January 1942

Brights were big in 1942 – Peggy Moran exposes her midriff in a red ensemble featuring bright hibiscus flowers, and Arleen Wheelan wears a dress in a modern paisley fabric.



Claire Dodd wears a cute little floral playsuit, while  Nancy Kelly accessorizes her pale grey dress with a vibrant striped silk turban and matching handbag.


I love the white sandals – and if i had a midriff to show off, I would certainly wear the playsuit and the red outfit now. What about you?

Busy with her war job, she has no time for complicated routines, 1943


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