Trip to a Beauty Salon in 1950

Gala of London Store in the Burlington Arcade Shop –

What happens when you get a facial ? –

Britannia and Eve April 1950 –

A facial is a luxury that many busy women keep “on ice”. A thing to do when she has time. But is it really worth the time to visit a beauty salon?
I’d say it is. A treatment given by a professional does accomplish something important. The professional beautician is highly skilled. She can spot the particular troubles of an individual skin and advise about regular home treatment as well as the cosmetics which are best for you

So what does a beauty treatment involve ?

1-Trip-a-Beauty-Salon-in-1950 - cleansing
Customer receiving beauty treatment – facial cleansing. Used in Britannia and Eve April 1950 – © London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

1. Cleansing – First you are relaxed in a comfortable reclining chair as the operator begins to remove your make-up and cleanse your skin. A deep cleansing is something that every type of skin needs from time to time. Professional fingers kneading and bringing the circulation to the surface of the skin, can expel these deep=seated impurites like nothing else.

2-Trip-a-Beauty-Salon-in-1950 - massage
Customer being given a facial massage – © London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

2. Massage – Following the cleansing comes massage. This may last for twenty minutes or more and is designed to stimulate and feed the muscles which support beauty’s contours. The dry, parched skin is fed and lubricated: greasy skin is stimulated so that a new tonic flow of blood to the tiny surface veins combats the congestion which causes an excess of grease.

Customer being given a face mask. – © London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

3. The Mask – Now comes an astringent pack. A hard drying mask is spread over the skin to brace the pores which have grown flabby and relaxed under the massage. The action of the mask removes those tiny superficial flakes of surface skin which conceal the young skin below. At the same time, eye pads go on to the eyes to soothe them. You are then left to relax for ten minutes. The pads and mask are removed and your skin is revealed in all its feminine glory !

Customer being given a new make up to match her clothing. Gala Lip Line being used with other Gala products in the background-© London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

4. Make-up – Next a new make-up is applied, keyed to the clothes you are wearing – perhaps for a luncheon or a little black dress party !!

Customer being given a manicure and nail varnish. Gala “tumblejack” Nail Colour featured, with manicure equipment in the foreground – © London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

5. The Manicure – Finally – the manicure, followed by a harmonizing nail varnish and a final hand massage to send you out in to the streets floating a foot off the ground and feeling simply gorgeous !

A treatment of this kind in April 1950 in most London salons costs around 1 guinea and 25s.

A hand treatment is another thing to go for and will cost from 15s. to 5s. for the manicure and a hand massage which we have illustrated here.

How to apply Nail Polish – a beauticians advice.


Many women who find it difficult to apply nail color with a professional finish are probably not tackling the job properly. Before applying nail color, see that the nails are free from grease. Use long straight strokes of the brush from the half moon to the free edge, covering the nail with as few strokes as possible and resisting the temptation to go back and retouch.
Allow plenty of time for varnish to harden as well as dry. The hardening process which takes anything up to half and hour will be hastened id the finger tips are put under the cold water tap when the varnish is dry.
For the inveterate smudger, there is a neat little finger palette which steadies the hand while applying varnish to the nails. It looks, appropriately enough, rather like a miniature artist’s palette and will prove invaluable for the “other hand”.

That’s all !

©Glamourdaze 2015
Originally published in April 1950 – Britannia and Eve

Images courtesy – VADS
National Media Museum

Direct to your smartphone, tablet or laptop – original 1950s makeup and beauty guides.


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1 thought on “Trip to a Beauty Salon in 1950”

  1. That facial treatment sounds absolutely divine! I can’t believe I’m almost 30 and have never been to the salon for a facial. I wonder if that cold water hardening technique works on modern nail polish? I’ll have to try it and see! Thanks for sharing!!

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