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Billie Burke: Wholesome cleanliness a must for womanly beauty (1912)

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Actress Billie Burke with flowered hat

Actress Billie Burke with flowered hat

Billie Burke talks whilesome personal cleanliness & womanly beauty

The first word: The wholesome appearance of cleanliness is a great factor in womanly beauty

by Billie Burke

I sometimes think that if we would just do the little simple things which confront us in everyday life, we would not have to worry about the great things.

It is astounding that women have as good complexions as they present to view daily on the streets of our city when they neglect them to such an extent.

Actress Billie Burke

Few women bathe themselves properly. Perhaps it is because that bathing is such an ordinary and universal practice. Most girls are apt to think it can be done any old way. Many women who pride themselves on a cold bath or shower every morning would not like it if they were told that no one can keep clean by cold baths alone. A cold bath is only to be taken for its tonic shock. It does not cleanse.

Over the body, there is a minute covering of natural oil, provided you have not just emerged from a hot bath, What is the action of cold water on grease? It hardens it. Therefore, cold water on the body only closes up all the little pores and hardens the oily substance that overlays them. This is why a morning cold bath is prescribed for the prevention of cold and other pulmonary trouble.

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To cleanse the body from dirt of daily toil and contact with city streets, a hot bath should be taken at night, using a pure soap, as it needs an alkali to disperse the oil and dirt on the body. The skin should be rubbed hard with a brush or rough cloth, then rinsed carefully with gradually cooling water until one feels the shock of a chill. A vigorous rubbing with a bath towel will bring on the reaction necessary to a glow of health.

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The face and hands need an individual treatment. Water should not be put on either the face or hands more than once a day, preferably at night when one takes one’s hot bath.

If you must cleanse your hands and face oftener, do it with a cold cream, otherwise, you will show a network of wrinkles upon your face and hands, as continual washing keeps the natural oil away from the skin and it invariably shrivels and becomes lined and wrinkled. It is said that the hands show age much quicker than the face, and it is only because they are washed more often. There is no oil left in the skin.

If you feel you must wash your hands more than once a day, be sure to put on a cold cream afterward and wipe them off carefully. After using hot water and soap on your face with a soft brush, rinse well in a number of waters, each one cooler than the last, then anoint carefully with a good cold cream and pat it for about ten minutes, then wipe off all that remains. This daily care of the complexion will keep it in the best of order.

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Be sure that all your manipulations are upward. Never use a downward stroke when washing or wiping your face.

Perfect cleanliness will often help to eradicate blackheads and ache from one’s skin, and for fear of germs and infection never use the same washcloth or towel twice without having it laundered and hung in the air.

We must realize that the body is always throwing off poison through every pore, and only for a very few minutes after a bath can call ourselves sweet and clean.

A famous old-time belle was asked for her secret of beauty, and she answered: “I have three: the first is cleanliness, the second is cleanliness, and the third is cleanliness.”

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Just one last word: Cleanliness is the basis of all physical beauty.

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