Bad complexions cause more heartaches than crushed ambitions and cases of sudden poverty. The reason is plain. Ordinary troubles roll away from the mind of a cheery, energetic woman like water from a duck’s back, but beauty worries—well! they have the most amazingly insistent way of sticking to one. You may say you won’t think of them, but you do just the same.
After all, they’re not so hard to find when once the secret of it is known. Like the keys and things rattling about in her undiscoverable pocket, they’re right with her. If she will but stop her fretting for a moment, sit down and think, then gird on her armor and begin the task—why, that’s all that’s needed.
There are three great rules for beauty. The first is diet, the second bathing, and the third exercise. All can be combined in the one word health. But, alas! how few of us have come into the understanding of correct living! It is woman’s impulse—so I have found—to buy a jar of cream and expect a miracle to be worked on a bad complexion in one brief night. How absurd, when the cause of the worry may be a bad digestion, impure blood or general lack of vitality! One might just as well expect a corn plaster to cure a bad case of pneumonia, or an eye lotion to remedy locomotor ataxia. The cream may struggle bravely and heal the little eruptions for a day or so, but how can it possibly effect a permanent cure when the cause flourishes like a blizzard at Medicine Hat or a steam radiator in the first warm days of April?
Cold cream, pure powders and certain harmless face washes are godsends to womankind, but they can’t do everything! They have their limitations, just like any other good thing. You may have a perfect paragon of a kitchen lady, whose angel food is more heavenly than frapped snowflakes, but you can’t really expect her to build you a four-story house with little dofunnies on the cupolas. Of course not. Angel cake is her limit! And that’s the way with those lovely liquids and things on your pretty spindle-legged dressing table. They can do a good deal in the beautifying line, but they can’t do everything. Give them the help of perfect health and scrupulous cleanliness of the skin, and lo! what wonders they will work!
There is but one way—and it’s so simple—of making oneself good to look upon. Resolve to live hygienically. There is nothing in the world which works swifter toward a clear, glowing, fine-textured and beautiful complexion than a simple, natural diet of grains and nuts and fruits. But you women—oh! it positively pains me to think of the broiled lobsters, the deviled crabs with tartar sauce, the pickles, and the conglomerate nightmare-lunches that you consume. And yet you’re forever fussing over leathery skins, dark-circled eyes and a lack of rosy pink cheeks. Oh, woman! woman! why aren’t you wise?
Here are some rules. They’re golden, too:
Eat with wisdom and good sense. That means to pension off the pie and its companion workers of physical woe.
Take a tepid sponge bath every day, either upon arising in the morning or just before going to bed.
Limit the hot scrubbings to one a week.
Exercise with regularity, and dress as a rational human being should.
Drink three pints of pure, distilled water every day.
See that the bedroom is well ventilated, and don’t heap up the pillows until you have a mountain range upon which to rest your poor, tired head. A flat bed and a low pillow help toward a fine, straight figure and a good carriage.
Keep your feet warm. Give those pretty round yellow silk garters to the girl you hate, and invest in sensible hose supporters. If your circulation is defective, wear wool stockings.
But, after all, the complexion is only a small part toward the making of a beautiful woman. The hair must be kept sweet and clean and healthy, and the teeth should be white and lovely. It was Rousseau, you know, who said that no woman with good teeth could be ugly. Then the hands and nails must have proper attention. Deep breathing should be practiced daily and the body properly exercised. The carriage must be graceful, the walk easy and without effort, the eyes bright, the expression of the face cheerful and animated, the shoulders and head well poised—but all these are different stories. There’s a chapter in each one of them.
Above all, remember this one rule: Don’t fret. Don’t wear a look of trouble and worry. Above everything else, remember those delicious lines of the immortal bard:
Don’t fret. Bear in mind what Sheridan said:
“A night of fretful passion may consume
All that thou hast of beauty’s gentle bloom;
And one distempered hour of sordid fear
Prints on thy brow the wrinkles of a year.”