#tbt: Check Out Our Beauty Advice—Featuring DIY Facelift Exercises— from 1944

March 20, 2019

Sometimes we find absolute gems in the DM Archives. And sometimes we find things that are so bizarre we couldn’t have made them up if we tried. Take, for example, the opening lines of an article that appeared in the December 1944 issue of Dance Magazine:

“Dancers have a way of looking one-half their age when most people are worrying about looking fat and forty and not very fair. Of course, it’s mostly a dancer’s consistent daily exercise that does the trick but it is also partly psychological. Contemplation of beauty, associating yourself with beauty and continually expressing beauty in your own person all work miracles against the onslaught of age.”

In “Lifting Your Own Face,” we spoke to accompanist Elizabeth Gilfillan, who shared with us some of her “fifty famous face lifting exercises,” including “The Mouth Rejuvenator” and “The All-Over Lift.” She claimed that diligent practice of these had made her appear significantly younger and would do the same for any woman who was committed to doing the exercises regularly and correctly. (She later penned a book on the subject, now out of print.) “Oh, I wish all women would realize how important it is to keep a young face,” Gilfillan told us. “Then there would be fewer husbands running afield.”

A page from the December 1944 issue of Dance Magazine

We’ve come a long way in the last 75 years—and we certainly don’t recommend that you start your day with “twenty-five dashes of cold water…[with] a thick soft washcloth in each hand to save time and cover the whole face each time,” or to complete your morning routine with “The Mouth Rejuvenator”:

“The exercise: Purse the lips in the whistling position, then relax their edges to spread them out like a flower, and at the same time lift the mouth until it actually bumps against the nose and meanwhile try to smile. You can’t smile, but the effort will harden and lift the cheeks. Think up, up, up, everything up.”

If you’re searching for some 21st century skincare advice, look no further than our Active Beauty column—like these pro-tested picks from a couple of Radio City Rockettes.