Modern women are accustomed to the fact that skin, nail and hair care is a beauty routine that requires a little time and effort, and the most difficult thing in all this is to choose a cream, mask or shampoo in a cosmetic abundance that is more suitable and will be affordable. … However, even 50 years ago, the desires of the fair sex who lived in the USSR did not always coincide with their capabilities: sometimes there was even money for cosmetics, but it was unrealistic to buy it legally - the already meager assortment of products was simply not available. But our mothers and grandmothers, even in such harsh conditions, managed to take care of themselves and look great. How did they do it?
Daria Prudnikova Doctor-cosmetologist, certified trainer of the Academy of Scientific Beauty
The rhetoric that artificially embellishing one's appearance is unworthy of a communist, of course, was intended to reduce social tension. The workers and peasants simply could not afford cosmetics - the caring party calmed them down: decent people did not need it. At the same time, representatives of the authorities and bohemians could, if not live beautifully as before, then at least try. For example, Lilya Brik did not like to deny herself new outfits and cosmetics. When Vladimir Mayakovsky went abroad, she gave him notes with what to buy.
However, over time, both the economy and the politics of the party undergo changes. The sexless working creature is being replaced by the well-groomed woman of the 1930s. Barricade asceticism is replaced by the Stalinist Empire style. The culture popularizes the image of a woman who is engaged in public affairs, but at the same time does not forget to take care of herself. It was during these years that the first beauty parlors appeared in the capital. It is easy to guess that they were available only to a narrow circle of the elite, like cosmetics produced abroad.
Ordinary women were still attracted by beautiful, luxurious, "bourgeois" jars of French creams from Academie and Guerlain and bottles of foreign Climat or Chanel 5 perfumes and cosmetics, but they could not afford them, and if there was an opportunity to buy, not always one could find what one wanted on the shelves of stores, therefore various tricks and folk recipes of beauty were used. So what beauty secrets did our mothers and grandmothers use?
Evgeniya Ikonnikova Candidate of Medical Sciences, dermatocosmetologist at the Institute of Plastic Surgery and Cosmetology on Olkhovskaya Street
Despite the rather limited opportunities for skin care in our country in times of scarcity, women have always found ways to preserve its beauty and youth. The skin was looked after using a meager set of typical creams, such as the legendary "Ballet" or "Children's", and instead of shampoo, they often used soap. But there were many recipes for making effective care products on their own. They were told to each other and written down in notebooks, which were then inherited.
One of the most popular and effective means for moisturizing and softening the skin was a mask and scrub based on oatmeal, due to which redness, inflammation decreased, skin tone evened out, oily sheen disappeared, and enlarged pores narrowed. The flakes were slightly soaked in warm water and certain ingredients were added depending on the needs of the skin: honey, olive oil, lemon juice, egg yolk, kefir.
Problem skin was well soothed and dried by potato masks.To prepare such a cosmetic product in the kitchen, raw potatoes were rubbed on a fine grater and the resulting gruel was applied to the face for 15–20 minutes.
Purchased lotions were widely used - both alcohol and water-based (cucumber, rose water, cornflower blue). But many cooked them at home. It was quite simple to do this: rose petals were poured with boiling water, allowed to cool and wiped the face with this lotion. For oily skin, a cucumber or oak tincture (from oak bark) was made: chopped cucumbers or bark were poured with a glass of vodka, infused for two weeks, and then filtered.
Creative options for scrubs
The concepts of "peeling" and "scrub" did not exist then, but skin exfoliation was a very popular and uncomplicated procedure. Salt, sugar or soda was added to honey, sour cream or a commercial cream, applied to the face and massaged - the skin became smooth and silky.
Tar soap for hair
There were no high-quality hair care products either, so they often washed the hair with regular soap, and to get rid of dandruff or excessive oily scalp - with tar. And it helped a lot!
Pepper masks for hair growth
Homemade masks based on egg yolk and black bread crumb were popular hair care products. To enhance hair growth, onion and pepper tinctures were prepared and rubbed into the scalp.
Henna for coloring
Henna was widely used for coloring, as well as thickening the cuticles and shine, which significantly improved the appearance of the hair.
Handy remedies for sweating control
The first deodorants appeared on the market in the 80s of the twentieth century, but in times of total shortage, they were an unaffordable luxury, which not everyone could get it. But Soviet women have always been famous for their ingenuity and instead of the usual hygiene product we used alum or baby powder with talcum powder. They say it worked very well.
If possible, visit a beautician
In the face of a shortage of cosmetics, many women visited cosmetologists. And even though their arsenal at that time was extremely limited, but thanks to such popular procedures as facial massage, darsonval, facial cleansing, chemical peeling, microcurrents, the quality of the skin improved significantly. The painful but very effective electrolysis procedure, as well as lightening of body hair with hydrogen peroxide, were very popular.
Get personalized prescription acne treatments
Since pharmacies did not have ready-made preparations for treating acne, and there was no choice of care products in stores, cosmetologists prepared them to order. For example, at the Institute of Plastic Surgery and Cosmetology (then - the Institute of Beauty on Olkhovka), from the day of its foundation, they created their own facial skin care products, and also wrote out recipes according to which the necessary cosmetics were produced in specialized departments of pharmacies.
Elena Manovska Physician-therapist, nutritionist, Coral Club expert
“In the Soviet Union, the main encyclopedia of beauty was a book about home economics: it was in it that contained recommendations for personal care. In the absence of professional cosmetics, the girls turned to the means of helpers. Products, oils, vodka, and in some recipes also kerosene were used. For example, women who worked in a dusty factory were advised to wash their faces with water in the evenings and then apply a homemade lotion consisting of egg yolk, cream, vodka, and lemon juice. It was supposed to moisturize and nourish the skin of the face. In addition, if now there are many salon procedures for eyebrows and eyelashes, a mixture of castor, camphor and sunflower oils used to be a universal remedy. It strengthened and brightened eyebrows and eyelashes.It's good that now there are products for every taste! For basic self-care and maintaining youth, sound sleep, exercise, modeling facial massage, a healthy drinking regime and a balanced diet, in the diet of which there are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and omega acids, were already recommended - all this is necessary for the body for proper functioning. By the way, this advice has not lost its relevance today."