Beauty Secrets of Icons Past & Present

Aesthetic enhancements of the face seem to be all the rage now. However, a quick review of our history pages will show that many beauty icons of the golden era also employ their own sneaky aesthetic trick or two to stay ahead of the competition.

Here are some of the most notable beauties of the 60s and 70s, and their beauty secrets unveiled.



Joan Crawford soaked her eyes with a boric acid solution to keep the eyes bright

Academy Award-winning actress Joan Crawford meticulously detailed her bizarre beauty techniques in her book, My Way of Life, in 1971. Her most shocking sounding suggestion was to soak the eyes with a boric acid solution to keep the eyes bright and shiny – one of her most notable features. Boric acid is a weak acid that’s used as a stain remover, an insecticide, a flame retardant but also as an antiseptic.

Doctors say: According to doctors, boric acid is indeed an ingredient in eyedrops. However, lest you go and douse your eyes in boric acid, it is best to consult your doctor or obtain an approved ophthalmic formulation to combat dry eyes.




Marilyn Monroe was said to have used five different kinds of lipstick and lip gloss

Marilyn Monroe’s signature pout has a lasting legacy – but it was no easy feat. The stunning actress was said to have used five different kinds of lipstick and lip gloss – penciling in dark reds on the outside corners of her lips, slightly lighter shades in the middle to add dimension, and very bright notes on the crest of her top and bottom lips to highlight. The process was so extensive that sometimes it could take up to an hour and a half to get the colors just right.

Doctors say: One way of achieving fullness of your lips is to use soft natural dermal fillers which will not only enhance the shape and texture, but erase any fine lines and wrinkles. For dry lips, Dr Low Chai Ling from SW1 Clinic advises a few drops of SW1’s famous Skin Drink to hydrate your lips before your regular lip balm.



Another peculiar habit of Monroe’s was her penchant to sleep in a bra, to prevent her breasts from sagging – and would often tuck in a few marbles, or three buttons sewn together, inside her brassiere to create the appearance of firm nipples.

Doctors say: According to Dr Tan Ying Chien, wearing a bra that fits properly is key to maintaining the integrity of your breast tissues. Build your pectoral and chest muscles by doing regular exercises can also help. For those who have lost breast mass with age or pregnancy can consider breast augmentation to replace volume and re-position sagging tissues.

Read more: 3 Times Doctors Got It Wrong




Grahame began stuffing cotton balls behind her lip to help it looking supple.

At the young age of 24, movie star Gloria Grahame had already gone through one divorce, and had begun to feel the pressure to look perfect in Hollywood. Unfortunately, she underwent a series of surgeries on her top lip – which left it completely paralyzed. Desperate not to lose any roles because of her impediment, Grahame began stuffing cotton balls behind her lip to help it looking supple. However, her fellow cast members and crew would complain that she constantly had to run to the bathroom to replace the cotton, that would gather saliva, and reapply her lipstick.

Doctors say: One way to enhance the pout of the lips is the judicious of lip fillers, according to Dr Kenneth Lee, especially in the area of the cupid’s bow. “This helps to enhance what is known as the pearl effect of the lips, creating a sexy pout”.

Read more: The Science of Attraction




Marlene Dietrich was also famed for her high-maintenance attitude particularly when it came to her wigs.

Marlene Dietrich was at one point the world’s highest paid film star – and made a name for herself was also famed for her high-maintenance attitude on set, particularly when it came to her wigs. She had very poor hair, which few people knew, and demanded that the leading Hollywood hairstylist Max Factor hand-brush pure gold dust into her blonde wigs to give them an added shine. At the time, gold dust cost $60 per ounce (the equivalent of $842 today) – and each of her wigs required half an ounce to meet her standards.

Doctors say: Trichologists say there is no replacement for healthy hair. Thinning hair will never have the natural beauty of thick, fuller hair. Revage670 is a hair light that stimulates hair follicles to rejuvenate and grow, restoring your crowning glory to its full potential over time.

Read more: Korean Skin-care Routine: Does It Work?




At the age of 55, in 1927, Fannie Ward was said to have played a seven-year-old girl in a London play

Silent film actress Fannie Ward was known for her eternally youthful looks. She claimed this was because of a unique face-cleansing routine she learned from French actress Gaby Deslys – and also, hanging upside down from a door frame. There were rumors that Ward also had plastic surgery to accentuate her famously ageless appearance, which she consistently denied. However, at the age of 55, in 1927, she was said to have played a seven-year-old girl in a London play – a testament to her defiance of time. A feature article about her career in American Weekly in 1949 referred to her as ‘The Girl Who Wouldn’t Grow Old’.

Doctors say: It is most likely that her youth were a result of plastic surgery than her acrobatic antics. Sagging skins can now be effectively combated with a range of facial threadlifts, say Dr Kenneth Lee. “My personal favourite for lifting jowls and shaping lower face is the Infinity Threadlift as it gives gorgeous and consistent results,” he says

Read more: 3 Times Doctors Got It Wrong




Audrey Hepburn was revered for her picture-perfect lashes.

Audrey Hepburn, the iconic beauty was revered for her unique look, and especially her doe eyes and picture-perfect lashes. Her makeup artist Alberto de Rossi would apply mascara to her lashes, and then very carefully separate each one with a sharp safety pin.

Doctors say: Help your lashes grow to its full potential by nourishing it with vital lash nutrients and vitamins such as Revitalash. If you are using mascara daily, ensure you remove makeup nightly which may make your lash brittle over time with an effective makeup remover.

Read more: RF Treatments: Hope or Hype?




Selena Royle recommended sticking tape between the eyebrows to stop the skin from creasing.

Selena Royle was a revered radio, television and film actress in the mid-1900s. Royle noted that some women develop frown eyes from focusing on fine lines while sewing – and recommended sticking tape in the shape of a diamond in between the eyebrows to stop the skin from creasing.

Doctors say: Why opt for something transient when you can make a permanent change to your eyelids by using SmartX lite to contract upper eyelid skin, thereby helping your eyelid maintain its suppleness and elasticity, preventing future hooding and ageing? As for a solution to stop frowning, botox microinjections can deliver a wrinkle free look without the hassle of tape.

Read more: Focused Face Fixes


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