Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Beauty Is Your Duty


During WWII, both Britain and America campaigned to women with this slogan.

Beauty Is Your Duty

Posters, newsreels, newspapers proclaimed this mantra in Allied Countries. Hitler hated red lipstick, so what did the Allies do? They launched campaigns to encourage us gals to wear it!

Red lipstick became the symbol of patriotic freedom. When red lipstick wasn’t available, women stained their lips with beet juice!

The WWII propaganda encouraged ladies to keep up a glamourous appearance. Maintaining a positive morale was important to everyone during the war front. When the public spotted a woman looking her best, the image reinforced the idea that good times would return.

Women were told they were doing their part to win the war by looking their best.

My mom and aunts wore red lipstick and looked glamorous during those days. They were slim and had gorgeous figures. Of course, back in the WWII era, food was rationed, and very little overeating was done. That helped their waistlines!

Makeup has changed over the years. As a child, I watched my fashionable aunt apply cosmetics. She sat at her dressing table and applied base, rouge (as she called it), mascara and lipstick.

The foundation for the face was from a swivel stick Max Factor. She would roll it out, and then smooth it over her face and neck.


Cream rouge came next. This cherry red stuff came in a petite jar and required a tiny amount to make rosy cheeks.

Once the face was done, eyes were next.

The black mascara was packaged in a petite, rectangular container, and it was accompanied with a tiny brush. She placed the brush into water, and then applied the brush to the container. When the brush had significant black stuff on it, she applied to lashes. Outlining her brows was done with a pencil.

The grand finale was the red lipstick.

After donning stillettos, she was ready to leave for work. She wasn’t fond of her 5’2” stature, and the high heels added not only to her height, but to her allure.

One day, I had ridden with her to Dallas. While we waited for  her son to come to the car, a man she knew approached. She exclaimed, “I don’t have on enough lipstick.” She grabbed her purse and remedied the situation.

My mom and her sisters never went anywhere without their nails polished. My dad served in WWII, and my mom went to see him before he was deployed. He told me she arrived with her long nails painted like American flags.

Patriotism was important back in those days. I hope it still is.

But I digress.  

I knew a lady who went to bed wearing lipstick, and she would arise before her husband awoke. She wanted to make sure her face was outfitted before she greeted him. She resides in heaven now, but she was meticulous about her appearance when she lived down here.

Another married friend wears makeup every day, and she says, “I do it for me. I feel better when I look good.”

I know a woman whose husband insists every day that she “fix her face.”

My hubby has never stipulated such a thing. I think he knows better. However, he came home one day and said, “if you’ll put on your makeup, I’ll take you to dinner.” I replied, “I’m wearing makeup.” Uh oh! I needed to refresh it, so I did. Going out to eat is a winner for me.

I have a friend who never wears face color of any kind, but she does apply sunscreen, and that is a wise thing to do.

How about you?

Do you wear makeup every day?

I don’t, but I will not leave the house without it. My Mary Kay representative once held a skin care class and asked me if I would participate. She knows me well. She said, “you will need to remove your makeup.” I told her I’d rather take off my clothes.  Well, not really, but I don’t like to appear in public unadorned.

As a young girl, I had oodles of freckles, and I was teased about them. They stood at attention on my pale skin. I once wrote a letter to a cosmetician and asked how to rid myself of them. She responded, “Apply lemon juice.” I tried this, but it didn’t work. The lemon was sticky and messy. I was relieved when my mother finally allowed me to cover those pesky spots up with foundation.

My white hair is a DNA thing. I’ve had it since my teens. My pale skin and white hair make me look rather ghostly. I’m happy cosmetics exist to enhance what I don’t have.

Skin is important. It is the largest organ on the body. When old skin cells die, new ones come along. It behooves us to take care of them. If you don’t wear color, you should at least moisturize with a good sunscreen.

Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, protect, and color. These are excellent daily steps to make a lady feel and look her best.

That WWII slogan, “Beauty is your duty,” is a good one.

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