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One of the hottest beauty trends is the vintage look of stars like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Lana Turner with their flawless complexions and beautifully styled hair. These iconic looks were created with beauty products that still work, and still have the same glamorous mystique. If you want to capture that old school glamor for yourself, here are five essentials your dressing table must have.

Max Factor Creme Puff

In the Golden Age of Hollywood, when Max Factor was the most iconic make up name of them all, no handbag was complete without a Max Factor powder compact. An elegant gloved hand would reach into the bag, the compact would snap open, and the powder applied in a seductive gesture, eyes peeping over the compact lid like Lana Turner. Sadly, Max Factor is no longer sold in the USA. The new owner, Proctor and Gamble, pulled the brand from shelves in 2010, due to falling sales. But the brand is still sold internationally and is available online. Classic items like compacts can be found on eBay and Etsy. It is worth tracking this powder down in compact and loose powder form, because no retro dressing table should be without it.

Ponds Cold Cream

Skin care used to be a simple affair. One cream cleansed, moisturized and served as a foundation for powder – Pond’s Cold Cream. On a lady’s dressing table it was an all round beautifier that helped keep the years at bay. International singing star Kylie Minogue swears by it, forgoing Botox and surgery for this simple but effective product. Cold cream is an emulsion-type recipe, combing water and fats into a light cream that leaves the skin feeling cool and refreshed, and disappears quickly when it is applied – hence the name ‘vanishing’ cream. Ponds Cold Cream was not only used as a cleanser, moisturizer and primer, it was also used to soothe sunburn, and remove make up. Born in the USA, and still available there as well as internationally, it is a retro essential that never goes out of date.

Elnett Hairspray

Those fabulous vintage Hollywood hairstyles, with their kiss curls, cute flips and smooth bouffants, didn’t get that way by themselves. There was artistry in hair styling in those days that was the complete opposite to today’s messy looks. Keeping every curl in place and avoiding flyaway tendrils was essential to the styles, and stylists reached for the hairspray as soon as their work was done. Hairspray has been the butt of many jokes in recent times, but the fact is that there is nothing better to hold every hair in place – and it doesn’t have to be hard and tacky. Elnett changed hairspray forever in 1960, when the French cosmetics company L’Oreal formulated a hairnet in a can that was neither sticky nor impossible to remove. Elnett was light, effective and most importantly, easy to brush out. It was banned in America until 2008, due to ozone concerns, but before that your stylist would have had Elnett stashed in the shop somewhere. As a dressing table item it is an essential icon – the can has hardly changed over the years and it is still the best hairspray on the market.

Yardley Fragrances

There are many classic perfume names, from Chanel to Jean Patou, but only one really brings back the heady days of the Swinging Sixties. Those were the days of Jean Shrimpton, Carnaby Street and all things deliciously retro, and no name was more iconic than Yardley. This British beauty company caught the wave of the London Look and rode it like crazy with great big smoky eyes, iridescent lipstick and sweet girlie fragrances that came straight from an English country garden. Rose, lavender, violet, lily of the valley – the names of the perfumes are as simple and evocative as the flowers they represent. New lines are being added to the Yardley perfume range, but it is the classics like rose and lavender that evoke the time when ‘swinging London’ was all the rage and everyone wanted to look like Jean Shrimpton. The singular spray bottles with their charming labels will still look great on a retro dressing table.

A Mason Pearson Hairbrush

A woman’s hair is ‘her crowning glory’, it used to be said, and to ensure that it remained shiny and glossy, it was considered essential to brush 100 strokes every night. The hairbrush had to be the best quality but until Mason Pearson created his handmade hairbrush at the start of the 20th Century, coarse bristle brushes could be agonizing. The Mason Pearson brush is especially designed to be comfortable to hold, and to massage the scalp as well as smooth out the hair. A Mason Pearson hairbrush is more of an investment than a simple beauty product, as it can be handed down to your grandchildren.

There is more to being a retro beauty than iconic products, of course, but while you are brushing up on your deportment and manners, these five essentials will certainly help you to get in the right frame of mind. Then, like Jean Harlow and Ava Gardener, go knock ’em in the aisles!

(by Gail Kavanagh 2015)

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Unspoiled Coasts: the 10 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World

Nothing says rest and relaxation like a vacation at the beach. However, not all beaches are created equal. Some shorelines are clogged with hotels and swamped with noisy tourists. Fortunately, there still many coastlines that are virtually untouched. From the shores of Florida to the warm waters of Australia, these 10 exquisite beaches offer unparalleled ocean views and unsullied white sands. So take a load off, take a vacation…

1. St. George Island State Park, Florida

One of the few unspoiled beaches left in Florida, St. George Island is located in the Gulf of Mexico and boasts rolling dunes, pristine white beaches, and gently undulating oat grass. Unlike many popular Florida beaches, St. George’s Island is not surrounded by excessive development, making it the perfect destination for visitors who want to relax and enjoy the calm of the ocean.

2. Hapuna Beach, Hawaii

Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hapuna Beach is as close to paradise on earth as mere mortals can get. If white sands and clear turquoise water aren’t enough to awe tourists and locals alike, the beach is also the perfect spot to ride the waves on a surfboard or bodyboard. Other favorite water sports include swimming and snorkeling.

3. El Nido Beach, the Philippines

Located on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, El Nido is world famous for its blanched beaches and fascinating limestone formations. El Nido is home to several low-key resorts which do their best to avoid dominating the naturally beautiful area. The beach is particularly well-known for its distinctive stilted cottages that hover invitingly over the water and offer a way for visitors to live in tune with the tides.

4. Ko Kradan, Thailand

Nestled in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Southern Thailand, Ko Kradan is far from the hustle and bustle of Thailand’s typical tourist traps. With unclouded waters and sugary beaches, Ko Kradan is a welcome haven from the stress of modern life. Ko Kradan’s thatched bungalows and laid-back lifestyle make it the perfect destination for those who want to experience pure beach life. The warm waters around the island are a popular diving spot and have become a preferred site for underwater weddings.

5. Whitehaven Beach, Australia

With all of the beautiful beaches Down Under, it can be difficult to pick just one, but Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island outstrips all of the competition. The shockingly white beach and crystalline waters will instantly overcome first-time visitors. The high water visibility in the Coral Sea allows divers and swimmers unobstructed views of the ocean floor. Best of all, the island is only a two-hour boat ride away from the Great Barrier Reef.

6. Boulder’s Beach, South Africa

South Africa’s loveliest beach sports massive granite boulders, aquamarine waters, and smooth, white sand. It is also home to an adorable colony of endangered African penguins, who delight tourists by waddling up and down protected portions of the beach. The beach’s namesake rocks provide shelter from the wind and swift currents, making it an ideal relaxation spot on South Africa’s often blustery coast.

7. Caló des Moro, Spain

The crown jewel of Spain, Caló des Moro is a beautiful sheltered cove in Majorca. Lovingly maintained by its private owners, the beach is open to public visitors. The unspoiled bay is the perfect place for swimmers to take a dip in the warm waters of the Mediterranean and attracts visitors from around the world who are anxious to see the area’s pristine beauty for themselves.

8. Baia de Sancho, Brazil

Perched on the edge of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago in Brazil, Baia de Sancho has an international reputation as one of the world’s loveliest beaches. The local ecosystem is ecologically diverse, with multiple species of tropical fish and friendly turtles greeting divers who take the plunge into the bay’s clear waters. The beach is part of the Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park and is also home to protected species of crabs, coral, and birds. Due to its remote location, Baia de Sancho is not as crowded as other famous Brazilian beaches, but it is the perfect place for tourists who are seeking a little peace.

9. Playa del Amor, Mexico

One of the most unusual beaches in the world, Playa del Amor is located in the unoccupied Marieta Islands near Puerto Vallarta. In the early 1900s, the Mexican army conducted explosives testing on the islands. In the process, they blew a large hole into the volcanic rock that covers the northern end of the easternmost island, revealing a beautiful beach only accessible by swimmers at low tide. Although the Mexican government restricted access to the islands in 2016, small numbers of swimmers are permitted to visit this unique beach daily.

10. Race Point Beach, Cape Cod

The inspiration for legions of painters, Race Point Beach lies on the end of Cape Cod. Made up of windswept dunes sprinkled with beachgrass, bayberry shrubs, and wild cranberries, Race Point is protected by the federal government as part of Cape Cod National Seashore. The beach is a popular destination for hikers and bicyclists who can traverse the region’s many trails and take in the area’s natural beauty. Race Point Beach is also home to the picturesque 19th-century lighthouse, Race Point Light, a historical landmark that is still in operation.

While virgin sands and unsullied shores may be few and far between, there are beaches that have mostly resisted commercialization. Whether they are in hidden tropical paradises or part of strictly protected land, these beautiful beaches provide a sanctuary from the overcrowded seaside.


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