I have been doing quite a bit of reading recently on Home Front Beauty – the tips and tricks that women used during the Second World War when cosmetic products were in short supply and have had several trips to the British Library to look through old beauty books and magazines to find these. Although this project is far from over I thought it would be fun to start cataloging them here.

The suggestions below are all using items that might be found in your kitchen cupboard.

Get rid of bad breath by chewing coffee beans. If, however, you are suffering from indigestion chew cumin seeds daily instead. 

1920s via Vintage Ad Browser

Chapped elbows and knees can be treated with the peel left over after you have squeezed a lemon. Place the peel over the chapped area and leave it for a short time. 

Potato Pete via IWM

Moisturizing cream can be expensive. Save money and achieve much the same results by applying slices of raw potato to your face. Mayonnaise is also effective. 

Othine Freckle Treatment, June 1928

Bleach freckles with the regular application of lemon juice. 

Washing your dirty hands with coffee grounds will clean them thoroughly and make them soft. 

available from Alana’s Vintage Collectibles

To improve the condition of your scalp and hair cut a medium sized onion and rub it across the scalp several times. Then wash your hair in the normal way. 

A shiny nose should be rubbed occasionally with a slice of bad raw potato. Leave to dry after each treatment. 

Burma-Shave, 1944 via Vintage Ad Browser

If you find your skin becomes dry after each bath try adding the water in which spinach has been cooked to your bathwater. 

The same results can be obtained by making and using an extract of melon pips. Boil melon pips in water, allow to cool then strain.

Greasless Suntan Lotion, 1941

Get a quicker suntan by applying wine vinegar to your skin. But remember to let it dry before going into the sun or it could cause disfiguring brown stains.