Known for her striking beauty and shock of bright red hair, actress Arlene Dahl often played elegant or feminine women in films.
Starting in films in the late-1940s, she rose to fame when she signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Dahl acted in everything from musicals, film noir and adventure films. Dahl was also publicized for her six marriages, including to Lex Barker and Fernando Lamas, and she is the mother of actor Lorenzo Lamas.
But behind the glamour and publicity was also a businesswoman. In addition to acting, Dahl went into the beauty businesses and founded Arlene Dahl Enterprises in 1954 and developed a lingerie and cosmetic line. Dahl also worked as a beauty consultant.
In addition to all this, she wrote. Dahl started a beauty advice column in 1950 and turned to publishing full-length beauty books in the 1960s, which include “Beyond Beauty,” “Arlene Dahl’s Key to Femininity” and the “Beauty Scope” series.
The “Beauty Scope” series combined Dahl’s love of astrology with beauty and gave advice about how women could achieve their full beauty potential through their zodiac sign.
Dahl was dedicated to making decisions based on astrology and consulted with Carroll Righter, according to her introduction to “Beauty Scope.”
“He (Righter) became a great friend … Frequently, I consulted him on major career decisions, especially when I was offered roles in two good motion pictures at the same time, or when I was undecided whether or not to combine writing with my acting commitments,” she wrote.
Before the books, “Beauty Scope” started in 1963 as a syndicated column. The books were published in 1969.
“So many of my friends were students of astrology that I thought it might be fun to include an article combining beauty with astrology,” she wrote in the “Beauty Scope” introduction.
Each “Beauty Scope” book is dedicated to all 12 astrological signs and gives health and beauty advice based on your zodiac. This includes exercises for different parts of the body, how to decorate your home, beauty regiments, what clothing and jewels to wear, makeup application and selecting perfumes. It also discusses love match signs and how to appeal to them – though Arlene Dahl admitted to never following her astrologer’s love advice.
Since I am a Scorpio (those born Oct. 23 – Nov. 23) and the seasons starts today, I read “Your Beauty Scope: Scorpio” by Arlene Dahl.
The book has you calculate your Moon and Ascendant. For me:
Zodiac sign: Scorpio
Ascendant/Rising Sign: Capricorn
Here are highlights from the book that I liked:
“Your complexion is probably your principal beauty problem.”
- Overindulgence and alcohol cause skin problems
- Spending time on your skin is worth the investment
- Use a cleansing oil or cream to remove makeup and then steam your face
- You can make your own face mask: whisk a whole egg for dry skin, and for oily skin only use the egg white. Wear for 10 minutes and rinse with water or milk
- You should be wearing moisturizer 24 hours a day
- Your skin will glow with a good diet (See: Health)
Makeup and Hair:
“Your assets are only as affective as your ability to present them.”
- Contour with two shades of foundation to heighten your look (yep, contouring has been around since 1969)
- Your eyes are the focal point so wear pale shades of lipstick like pink or apricot
- No “brassy red or over bleached blond” dyes for Scorpio
- Hair should be fragrant, so once styled spray with perfumes like honeysuckle, magnolia or sandalwood
“True beauty is the reflection of glowing health, which stems from regular exercise, a good diet and plenty of fresh air”
- Scorpio has drive and is often busy so they need to schedule time to relax and rejuvenate
- Exercise is important in “the war against aging skin”
- Every woman should own a slant board, especially a Scorpio
- Have good posture by pretending a string is fastened to your breast bone and pulling it up
- Health problems for Scorpios usually are digestive related
- Foods to eat daily: Citrus fruits, green and yellow vegetables, lean or raw meats, milk and fish
“The best clue to elegance is to know yourself – your personality, your signature and to adapt any fashion to your age, figure, coloring and mood. Never mistake a fad for fashion and never be afraid to be yourself.”
- Have one garment that envelopes you in mystery but be subtle
- Colors to wear: blood red, battleship grey, taupe, stained-glass colors, deep wine, ruby, mossy green,
- Jewelry: topaz, black pearl, sapphires. Wear large dramatic settings but only one large piece at a time.
- Be an originator in fashion and wear something new before it’s on trend
- Perfume: Have two signature scents – one for day and one for night. The idea is for someone to know you by your scent.
“Your Beauty Scope: Scorpio” is a fun read. In comparison to other classic actress self-help books like Joan Crawford’s “My Way of Life” everything felt attainable. None of Arlene Dahl’s advice was too out there (except using a slant board, where do you find that?)
I know some people put stock into their zodiac sign while others think it’s bunk. I have always dabbled and I enjoyed reading this and thinking “Wow that fits me!” For example, for beauty, Dahl said skin was always an issue which is correct for me. For health, she said digestive issues were always a concern and that you love rich food, which also fits me.
Even if you aren’t interested in astrology, the book makes you think about your daily life — How is my posture? Am I getting enough green and yellow vegetables in my diet? — which may bring about self-improvement.
Most of all, Dahl’s writing comes across as nurturing, like a friend is saying “Now, now dear maybe you should try this perfume instead.” She doesn’t scold or put down career or beauty choices (I loved “My Way of Life” but Joan does do this). It was also a luxurious read, almost like taking a bubble bath without sitting in water.
Dahl made beauty her business — it just wasn’t about the face she wore on-screen. She wrote a “Beauty Scope” book for all 12 zodiac signs. If you’re able to locate one, read it and let me know what you think!