Oldham Historical Research Group

'Oldham Stories'

     'Oldham Stories'
by Mary Dickinson

Beauty Aids in my Teens

Many years ago girls who used powder and paint, as it was called, were classed as "not nice girls." Parents were very strict and if you bought any powder you had to hide it from them and put it on outside the house.

It was quite a thrill to buy a 2d. box of Phulnana powder or a penny packet of powder leaves. We would save all the red paper we could so that we could dampen it and rub it gently on our cheeks. The first kind of powder and cream mixed was called Velouty and it was a great thrill to be able to buy a tube for 4d. I was never very fond of lipstick and in those days we hadn't the time to put it on properly. Some girls tried to make their mouths look bigger and they smudged it.

When we got to the dance there always seemed to be someone who had a book of powder leaves and they would pass it round till it had all gone. There were no flap-jack powder compacts, we just used it straight from the box. Handbags were not out then and we carried everything round in our pockets or in a Dorothy bag. What a thrill it was to be able to buy a pair of silk stockings for Saturday night, quite a change from the thick black cotton ones.

A lot of money must be spent these days on make-up but I don't think young girls get the same pleasure we got from our simple beauty aids.

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