Actress Beauty Tip No. 40: Greta Garbo Chamomile Tea Hair Rinse

This is the 40th installment of the classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

I have tried several beauty tips over the years – some of the craziest seem to involve hair: Rinsing hair with champagne and beer, or bleaching it blonde.

My most recent hair experiment comes from Greta Garbo and may also be the tamest. I learned this tip from film writer and professor Thomas Doherty on Twitter.

Greta Garbo photographed by Clarence Sinclair Bull in 1932

Greta Garbo was one of Hollywood’s top stars from 1925 to 1941. The Swedish star, however, was known for avoiding reporters.

While in New York City in late 1931, Garbo was traveling under the name Gussie Berger and refused interviews with reporters. So enterprising reporter Dorothy Ducas of the International News Service disguised herself as a hairdresser’s assistant to get a story, according to the Editor’s Note of Ducas’s Jan. 4, 1932, article “Glamorous Garbo Gives Good Interview Out to Girl Reporter in Gotham.”

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Photoplay Jan. 1948: Happy New Woman

“With these resolutions, ring in the new … to enhance your beauty the whole year through.”

“Happy New Woman” by Anita Colby (Scanned by Comet Over Hollywood)

For the new year, let’s enhance your beauty routine a la 1948:

Linda Darnell’s slogan is “care in color.”

Beverly Tyler lives by “cleanliness.”

Lizabeth Scott likes the streamlined, uncluttered look

Paulette Goddard says to stay alert.

In a January 1948 Photoplay article, Anita Colby, Photoplay beauty editor and feminine director at Selznick Studios, shares how to be a new woman in the new year with some help from Hollywood actresses.

Colby says to get rid of things that may be a result of carelessness in your appearance: figure bulges; makeup colors that don’t go with your skin, eyes or hair; or sagging and uneven hemlines.

The article “Happy New Woman” includes 12 tips inspired by Linda Darnell, Beverly Tyler, Lizabeth Scott and Paulette Goddard:

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Beauty Scope: Arlene Dahl’s beauty tips for Sagittarius

In October, on a whim, I reviewed Arlene Dahl’s book “Your Beauty Scope: Scorpio,” because I am a Scorpio. It was such a fun read, and I loved highlighting Dahl’s work outside of films, that I decided to make this a regular series; highlighting the beauty tips for each zodiac sign.

Now, I know I am coming late with Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21). These books aren’t very easy to find (or always terribly affordable) so my “Your Beauty Scope: Sagittarius” came from England and arrived well into the Sagittarius season, despite ordering it three weeks in advance. So let’s get down to business:

Arlene Dahl in 1951

Arlene Dahl wrote that she had been interested in the zodiac and astrology since an early age after her father brought home a book on it for her (her father Rudolph S. Dahl, was a Sagittarius as well).

She began a syndicated beauty column, which would be mixed with astrology. She would also interview actresses based on their astrological sign about their health, beauty and clothes.

Dahl also wrote several beauty and love focused books, and in 1969, Dahl published individual books for each sign which included tips on health, beauty, love, clothing, decor and overall well being.

Highlights from “Your Beauty Scope: Sagittarius”:
First, you will need to calculate your Moon and Ascendant. While I won’t spell it out for each one, two chapters of the book spell out what your zodiac sign + Moon sign and your zodiac sign +Ascendant say about you. The book has a charge in the back detailing day, time and year of birth. However, since these were published in 1969, if you are born after that, I suggest Googling.

Arlene Dahl says the Sagittarians tend to be in a rush and may let their beauty routines slide. They are subject to nervous tension since born under the fire sign, and may not pay enough attention to detail.

However, Sagittarians are essentially healthy and improve with age.

“Lovely hair begins with good health”
• If you have dry hair, do a hot oil treatment twice a month.
• Don’t neglect the “100 strokes” brushing. Flip your hair over your head and brush vigorously from the neck, followed by a scalp massage.

“Makeup is an art that the Sagittarian should cultivate…slow down and acquire a few new tricks.”
• Learn to use two shades of foundation if your facial contours aren’t “ideal.”
• You can change the size and shape of your mouth with lipstick and a lip brush.
• Use fine, translucent powder for a finish.
• The Sagittarian woman should never forget to accent her eyes.
• Eye makeup for day wear should be natural looking. “Save exotic effects for gala evenings.”

“Since you were born under a fire sign, you Saggitarians are often subject to nervous tensions. Control it!”
• Relax on a slant board for 20 minutes in a darkened room.
• Sagittarian Agnes Moorehead relaxes in a warm bath with scented bath salts, which gives a luxurious feeling.
• Health issues for Sagittarians tend to be liver problems, heart disorders and high blood pressure stemming from a careless diet
• Exercise is important to help ease nervous tension
• A good diet is necessary for weight but also keeping overall health in check, and keeping control over your nervous system.
• Lessen intake of oil, butter, starch and sweets. Learn to enjoy fruits and vegetables. A good first choice is raw carrots, cauliflower, radishes, celery and scallions.

“Your fashion signature consists of the total effect that you give.”
• Your favorite colors to wear are strong colors: purple, royal blue, bright yellow and orange, red
• Accent outfits with bold accessories, antique jewelry and unusual hats
• Gems: Ruby, turquoise with heavy antique settings

As I said with the Scorpio book, Arlene Dahl’s “Your Beauty Scope” is a fun read, regardless of the sign. If you find a book that references your astrological sign, I wouldn’t say it will dictate your life, but it will perhaps make you self aware and consider health or beauty choices you are making.

I also love Dahl’s writing style. She doesn’t talk down to the reader or make any crazy demands, like saying everyone should be wearing furs and expensive perfumes.

Though I do have to ask: When she talks about relaxing on a slant board, what does she mean? It seems she suggests this in each book.

She writes for the everyday woman in a calm and encouraging way. She never scolds, even when saying “cut back on eating sweets.” It’s all advice to help you live to your fullest potential.

Up next, I will review “Your Beauty Scope: Capricorn (Dec. 21- Jan. 20), but this may come after the Christmas holiday.

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BeautyScope: Arlene Dahl’s beauty tips for Scorpios

Arlene Dahl in the 1950s

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.

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Actress Beauty Tip #39: Carroll Baker Beer Hair Rinse

This is the 39th installment of the classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Carroll Baker in 1962

Actress Carroll Baker entered Hollywood in the 1950s as a new face, with roles ranging from Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor’s daughter in “Giant” (1956), a virginal southern girl in “Baby Doll” (1956), or a young woman dealing with the mental effects of rape in “Something Wild” (1961).

While her roles varied, Baker was considered glamorous. In an Aug. 1, 1962, article with Lydia Lane, she said when she first started out, she was less concerned with glamour and was more interested in being a good actress.

But according to Lydia Lane’s beauty column, this changed by 1962.

“With success there are obligations and I felt that when I appeared in public, people expected me to look like a movie star,” she’s quoted in Lane’s column.

To achieve her glamorous look, one beauty secret Carroll Baker performed was rinsing her blond hair with beer.

“My hair is oily, and I like to wash it every other day…,” she is quoted in Lane’s column. “I like to set my hair in flat beer and use large rollers. I have tried other wave sets, but nothing gives body to my hair like beer.”

Baker would then sit under her personal hair dryer while her hair set. She would leave the beer bottle open until the beverage lost carbonation and was flat, according to Lane’s column.

After reading this, I decided to give this a try. After all, I‘ve rinsed my hair with champagne for classic films, why not try another alcoholic beverage?

Like Carroll Baker, I have oily hair. Mine is slick, flat and oily so I have to wash it every day. I also generally don’t use any styling products and only wash and dry my hair.

My Ingles grocery store sells beer separately by the bottle, so I was able to buy just two bottles (rather than a whole pack). I decided to use Sierra Nevada beer.

I rinsed my hair on two separate days and styled differently and here’s how it worked out.

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Actress Beauty Tips #38: Positive Moves with Angela Lansbury

This is the 38th installment of the classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested. 

Actress Angela Lansbury has had a long and varied career. Lansbury started in films in 1944 and on the stage in 1957, and she still works in both mediums today. She was active on television with her own show. And she even joined the exercise craze of the 1980s, releasing the video “Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves: My Personal Plan for Fitness and Well-Being.”

But this video isn’t filled with crunches, leg lifts, arm circles and donkey kicks. I even really hesitate to call this a “workout video” or even strength training. This is more a series of stretches, movements, and advice encouraging the viewer how to stay active in small ways.

Angela Lansbury filmed the video in 1988 at age 63, while she was still making “Murder, She Wrote.” She later followed up with a book version in 1990.

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Actress Beauty Tips #37: Exercising Debbie’s Way

This is the 37th installment of the classic actress beauty tips that I have read about and tested.

Comet Over Hollywood is no stranger workout videos. I grew up on Jane Fonda, Callan Pinckney’s Callanetics, and have even tried out actress Jane Powell’s Fight Back with Fitness.


Debbie Reynolds in the 1950s

But none of them are quite like Debbie Reynolds’ 1983 “Do It Debbie’s Way.” Reynolds’ Hollywood career began when she was 16 in 1948 playing a bit role in the Bette Davis film “June Bride.” In the 1950s, Debbie became one of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s top stars and she continued performing until her last film role in 2013. She passed away in 2016.

Debbie was unstoppable, energetic and unsinkable, and the fact that she jumped on the exercise video bandwagon isn’t all-together surprising. She was a dancer and was slim most of her life.

But her workout video isn’t quite the same as other videos you may be used to.

The always original and over-the-top Reynolds decorates her workout studio with a chandelier, a diaphanous pink backdrop curtain, and lights behind the curtain spelling “DEBBIE” in eight foot tall letters.

“My set, I hope you like it. Usually you would work out in a gym, but I was in MGM for years in musicals so I thought we would do it up sort of pink, not brown,” Reynolds said in the video.

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