Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty – book review


Being the bookworm that I am and in constant need of educating myself on the topic of vintage hair and makeup, I’m always thrilled with the prospect of a new guide that might help to perfect my preferred 1940s look. This is especially the case with hair! So, when I was approached by PLEXUS publishing with a request to review a new book that they’re publishing by Laura Slater, entitled ‘Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty’, I jumped at the opportunity, quick as a wink.

Filled with useful tips on make-up and hairstyling from the beauty regimes of iconic, glamorous movie stars such as; Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich… To name just a few! ‘Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty’ is a perfect book for those who are just starting their exciting adventure with vintage hair and make-up, as well as for vintage aficionados like myself. 


Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty – book review

It’s a great compendium of the key tips needed to recreate some of the most desired looks from as early as the 1920s up to the 1950s with an emphasis on my beloved 1940s and some of my favourite beauty tips from the book, ones that I’ve personally tested and loved are…

  1. A tip from Mae West – Coconut oil applied daily to the face and neck, makes the skin feel soft and works as a good moisturiser.
  2. A tip from Gloria Swanson – “I never use water on my face – haven’t for about five years – I cleanse it with cold cream, which doesn’t dry the skin as water does.”  Personally, I’ve been doing the hot cloth cleansing using Eve Lom or Shiseido cleansers and terry cloths soaked in warm water to remove all the make-up. I think that Pond’s Cold Cream, an alternative to soap and water that was popular with movie stars such as Clara Bow and available in some shops even now, is perfect for someone with dry skin like mine but I would not recommend it on oily skin.
  3. A tip from Rita Hayworth – “After shampooing, saturate your hair with olive oil and wrap it in a towel for 15 minutes. Rinse with hot water and lemon juice to remove the grease.” I’ve been using olive oil on my hair from the day I went from raven black to copper red and it’s probably the only reason why I didn’t go bald after having my hair colour striped with litres of bleach during the transformation.

To demonstrate how useful in recreating a vintage look the book really is, I present you with pictures from my latest photo-shoot, inspired by Rita Hayworth and a hint of Joan Crawford, with hair and make-up done by yours truly, following the ‘Vintage Secrets; Hollywood Beauty’ guidelines. 

Vintage make-up

On the left; Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty by Laura Slater. On the right a picture of me by Gregory Michael King.


Old Hollywood make-up

Rita Hayworth-picture from Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty

Rita Hayworth hair style

Extract aka teaser from Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty.

For my Rita Hayworth inspired look I used:


“In the 1940s, lips could be any shade you liked- so long as that shade was red!” Laura Slater

YSL red lipstick Rouge Pur Couture

Giorgio Armani Cheek Fabric blush

YSL eyeshadow

Bobbi Brown Natural brow shaper & hair touch up in auburn

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Classic Mascara


Loreal Professionel TECNI.ART Full Volume Mousse

Davines Perfecting Hairspray

To create perfect curls I always sleep in the hair rollers, which is incredibly uncomfortable but I do get my almost perfect vintage curls. I say “almost” because I still haven’t found a really good setting lotion, which would make the whole process much easier.

Vintage make-up

Picture of me  by Gregory Michael King.

The hair-style in the picture below was inspired by Joan Crawford, make-up inspired by Rita Hayworth.

1940s inspired make-up

Moi by Gregory Michael King in a picture inspired by Rita Hayworth. Hair and make-up done by yours truly following the ‘Vintage Secrets; Hollywood Beauty’ guidelines. 

1940s inspired hair and make-up

Moi by Gregory Michael King in a picture inspired by Rita Hayworth -on the left- make-up and hair tips from Vintage Secrets: Hollywood Beauty.


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