Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!


Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

The Most Dire Female Crimes in Looks and Dress (1959)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

One of the books that fell off my shelf during the “The Big Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake of 2011” was a paperback titled McCall’s Guide to Teen-Age Beauty and Glamour, written by Betsy Keiffer. My version is from 1959 and claims to provide “the sure-fire way to become the most charming, poised and popular girl in your set.” Oh boy!

I decided to flip through before reshelving, and stumbled across these fantastic tips for teen girls, from a chapter titled “The Boys in Your Life.” Seems those boys are very particular about what qualities a girl must have to make them like her. I now see what I must have been doing wrong all those years of being single. It was my sloppiness!

"Besides being clannish and conservative, these maddening males are also keen-eyed as hawks. If you don’t believe me, listen to these gripes aired by a group of college freshmen. Asked what they considered the most dire crimes in looks and dress, they unhesitatingly came up with:

  • Make-up so heavy it comes off on a boy’s jacket at a dance.
  • Eye make-up that’s so extreme a girl looks like a Chinese vase instead of a girl!
  • Smeary lipstick. It’s disgusting to see it all over coffee cups and napkins.
  • Fingernails that belong on the bride of Fu Manchu.
  • Dresses that look as though they’d been painted on.
  • Dresses with necklines that end slightly above the waist.
  • Dresses that may be right in style but aren’t becoming.
  • A get-up that would look great at Buckingham Palace ~ when the date’s informal.
  • Not knowing the difference between casual and rumpled (Ouch! That one really hurt.)
  • Charm bracelets that clank so they drown out conversation.
  • Jewelry so blinding a guy needs dark glasses.
  • A raucous voice or sloppy speech.
  • Stance like a football player’s in a huddle.
  • Sloppiness! And this was echoed with such shaming particulars as:
    • Chipped nail polish
    • Underwear straps that show
    • Wrinkled stockings
    • Unshaven legs
    • Grubby handkerchiefs
    • Stains on dresses
    • Unsightly feet

I guess that makes it pretty clear that boys don’t miss a trick when it comes to a girl’s appearance. So never let that look of sleepy indifference lull you into carelessness about the impression you make. Besides making it very clear what boys object to, this awesome list can show you what boys like. Read it again, and a picture of the girl whose appearance they admire should also be clear. She is neat, she is sweet, she is clean, and perhaps most important, she is understated (to borrow that favorite fashion word), not only in her dress but in her make-up, her accessories and her manner. "

In case you are wondering, that “ouch” statement is actually part of the original text.









Summer Icicles (1955)

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

teen-age glamorWhat else is there do to do on a sweltering summer day but to stay inside and blog about it? Here are some summertime tips from a book called Teen-Age Glamor, written by Adah Broadbent in 1955. These could come in handy on a day like today:

"When the sun is at its zenith, and the days are at their warmest, sunlight fashions and perfect grooming transform you into a summer charmer. This immaculately crisp and cool appearance is worth capturing, so make it yours.

Never, never gasp and sigh about the heat. When the others do ~ and they will ~ you talk about something else. Any yen for arguments is controlled. Why cause your circulation to hurry?

Don’t slump, don’t collapse like a broken accordion in the nearest swing. No one is interested in seeing you go to pieces except Dennis the Menace. Swing, and sip your iced drinks, but there’s sugar in those; the more calories, the more heat your body generates. Icy drinks also interfere with the body’s normal temperature-regulating action. Cold drinks poured incessantly into your stomach are dangerous.

Eat and chatter, but don’t lie around in that swing all day while the others groan, “It’s too hot to lift an eyelash.” Get up and move around and you are cooler.

Summertime fun

Doing things in hot weather make staying dainty a problem. Bathe and shower more often;  a lukewarm shower leaves you cooler than a cold one, which increases the circulation. Pat, don’t rub dry, sprinkle talcum here and there, or spray refreshing cologne over yourself with a lavish hand. These luxuries give that fresh-as-a-daisy feeling which you intend to keep ~ at least for awhile.

Anti-persperants and deodorants are your aids. The liquid kind seems to be the surest safeguard. Make it a habit to use an anti-persperant or deodorant every night, because if it is used in the daytime any moving about may start you perspiring, and the effectiveness is washed away.

Summer clothes are made from many different fabrics, all of them was like a breeze and some need no ironing. The coolest and airiest fabrics are voile, sheer handkerchief linen, breezy batiste, and eyelet cottons; let them be crisp, not clingy.

Some colors give a feeling of coolness, as an icy blue and a pale green. Poppy and nasturtium colors are flattering to many girls, but when the weather is muggy, as well as hot, use those colors seldom.

Here’s fun to you on hot sunny days!"


Stay cool, everyone! I’m headed to the pool to sip cool (but not too cold, drinks) this afternoon. I promise not to complain about the heat.







Sears Discovery Charm School Book Teaser: Ideal Body of the 70s

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Ideal Body of the 70sTo whet my reader’s continued appetite for excerpts from my copy of the Sears Discover Charm School book, I’ve scanned in this “fun with graphic design” page from the notebook’s section on Fashion. You’ll have to wait a bit for more from this section; I’ve been so busy and am I’m headed out of the country in a few hours on a work trip. I desperately wanted to give you something in the meantime though. I hope you enjoy!


Sears Discovery Charm School: Introduction to the 1972 edition

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Many moons ago, I published a query from a visitor to the site about the Sears Discovery Charm school. Little did I know, that this would be one of my most popular posts on the site! Seems that many of you charming, lovely, Googlers out there have fond memories of the course (which ran from 1963 to sometime in the 1980s, all over the country). I never attended myself, but did partake (courtesy of my Grandmother Bailey) in a charm school on summer in junior high. I am still traumatized by the experience, as is evidenced in the hundreds of beauty and charm books sitting behind me as I write this post. But I digress…

One commenter posted this history, which she obtained from the Sears Archives:

(1963) The success of a charm school for girls 9 to 19 years of age
started in the El Monte, CA. store and has spread to 16 stores in the
Los Angeles Retail Group.

(1965) Since August of 1965, thousands of young girls, mostly in their
teens, have been trooping into Sears stores signing up for 10-session
courses in Sears new charm school. Elizabeth Reed was the coordinator.

(1966) Sears School for Young Charmers had courses in 250 Sears retail
stores across the nation and an estimate of 100,000 graduates.

Many of you still have the three-ring binder in your possession, others are crushed that your parents threw it away and are desperate for a copy. After that post went up, I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the 1972 edition of the binder, D.C. version. The instructor was Mrs. Sherl Conaughton, whose resume included “Registered Nurse, Philadelphia, Pa.; Stewardess, American Airlines; and Model (New York, Florida and California),” among other things. She had 9 years total teaching experience at various modeling and beauty schools.

The binder was found by local director/producer Jeff Krulik in the apartment of a deceased neighbor (he suspects the neighbor’s daughter took the class). In 2009, Jeff tracked me down and handed it over to the Miss Abigail archives for safekeeping. I’ve been meaning to share more of this with you all for ages, but it’s been hard to know where to start! It’s quite a thick binder.

The new year has inspired me, however. I hereby resolve to bring you more Sears Charm School. I’ll start with the very first page. It gives you an idea of what the program is all about.


There’s no one in this world exactly like you. That’s terrific. Because it gives you a particular advantage over everyone else. You’re unique. But it also raises some very important questions. How do you combine the way you look, the way you move, the way you speak, the way you feel so it all comes together and reflects your own personality?

These are some of the questions we’ll be asking, and hopefully be answering during the next few weeks you’ll be spending with us at Sears.

In creating this program, we’ve called upon some top professional people who’ve made it in their own specialized fields. They’ll tell you what you really want to know about things like make-up, skin care, modeling, exercise, fashion, just to name a few. So you’ll be getting the straightest and best possible information to help you toward your own individual personality and your own natural look.

Just what is that natural look we hear so much about? It’s a combination of things that work together to reflect the best possible you. Things you’re comfortable with. Arriving at that kind of look is a matter of learning techniques. Experimenting to find out what works best for you. And then putting it all together. It takes an honest approach and a lot of hard work. But it’s worth it. It pays off.

While you’re finding out about all these things, we’ll also be helping you put together some new ideas about your future. Perhaps you’re thinking about becoming a model. Or maybe you’d like to explore one of the many other interesting careers in fashion. No matter what, we’ll fill you in on what’s involved in the way of preparation, what it takes to get there, and what the life is like when you’ve arrived.

A lot of people talk about doing their own thing. That’s okay, but too often, all that means is just copying someone else’s life style. To really do your own thing, you have to find out what “your thing” is. And that’s what we hope to help you with during the time you’ll be spending with us here at Sears.

We’re glad you’re with us and that we’ll be working together in the discovery of the perfectly natural you.


Help me choose what we should learn about next! Here are our options:

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Voice/Speech
  • Modeling
  • Skin Care/Grooming
  • Make-up
  • Fashion
  • Manners

There’s also a special bonus pamphlet that was tucked into my binder: Sears’ “Selecting Teen Fashions” (1971) that might be of interest.

Until Next Time,

Most Fondly,

Your Instructor,

&c., &c.

Miss Abigail

The Eyelashes Have It

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

what I needed was false eyelashesQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Is there a certain way to look at a guy to make him want you more than any other girl?


A Dear Mary:

I bet you never thought that eyelashes were so important when it came to making googly eyes. But they are, at least according to Eileen Ford, the head of “the world’s most famous model agency.” I found this gem in her book titled A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. Eileen wouldn’t lead us astray, would she?

1972: Eyes Are for More than Looking

In thinking about how alluring women use their eyes to convey a thousand hidden messages, I realized that there’s something very few women know. Professional beauties all over the world use false eyelashes. Eyelashes so cunningly applied that no one knows they are not their very own.

Imagine sitting next to or across from someone ~ sipping your iced tea and looking deep into his eyes, slowly lowering your lashes, then looking back into the very depths of his eyes. Even if he’s been around for twenty or thirty years, it’s not too late to learn to flirt all over again.

When I decided that what I needed was false eyelashes, I decided that strip eyelashes weren’t for me, as I was allergic even to surgical adhesive and they made my eyes red. So I went to Jean Kane of New York’s Eyelash Studio and asked for help. Miss Kane has taught many of our models and applies individual eyelashes to many of the world’s outstanding beauties. She teaches our models as I will teach you now.

You may buy individual lashes or take an inexpensive pair of strip lashes and pull the single lash from the end of the strip with a tweezer. If you are using a strip, trim the lashes first with a single-edge razor blade. Place the lashes on a sheet of white paper. Put a mirror flat on a table so that you will be looking down into it. Pick up each eyelash in turn with tweezer and touch it to eyelash glue so that you have a very small amount of glue on the lash. Attach the lash about halfway back on the underside of one of your own lashes. You can trim the lengths with blunt-end scissors (such as nose-hair trimmers). Do not cut straight across, but cut the lashes at uneven lengths for a feathered look.

I keep my eyelashes on for days it it isn’t windy, washing around them carefully. If a few fall out, I replace them. When the eyelashes finally become stiff and unnatural-looking, I take them off by pressing a hot washcloth to my lashes and gently pulling off the lashes as they come loose.

When you’ve mastered this trick, use those eyes of yours for what they were meant for.

Again you’ll find the mirror a great help. Practice various expressions from innocent to sexy, from sad to gay, and try to use them every time you look at someone. Stare deep into his eyes, smile with your eyes, let your eyes smoulder.

Where did romance go? You’ll find it never left at all.

Source: Ford, Eileen. A More Beautiful You in 21 Days. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.
~ pp. 96-97 ~

Her Face Looked Like a Sequined Jacket!

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

a fad is attention-gettingQ Dear Miss Abigail:

The other day I heard about a friend of a friend who’d had his tongue forked ~ that’s right, split up the middle. Then yesterday I saw a picture in the paper of a woman with some 200-odd piercings. Her face looked like a sequined jacket. Don’t you think this piercing thing has gone a little too far?

Grossed Out

A Dear Grossed Out:

Piercings are one thing, but a forked tongue? Ouch! Miss Abigail is grossed out as well. I was able to track down a few bits of advice that might help those considering a pierce, a fork, or whatever.

In addition to a bit of jewelry etiquette, I’ve included a little test to help us all sort out the differences between fad and fashion (I have a feeling such extreme body alterations may be just a fad). Now I wonder ~ can that tongue be put back together when the fad has passed?

1937: How Many Jewels?

It has always been the rule of the well-bred not to wear too many jewels in public places, because public display is considered bad taste in the first place, and in the second, a temptation to a thief. But with the present vogue for gigantic jewels, the New York smart world has developed a veritable mania for covering itself in public as well as at home with pearls, rubies and emeralds made of ~ glass!

It is a knowing thief this day who can tell whether Mrs. Gilding, junior, is wearing gems worth half a million or ten dollars’ worth of beads. Tilly, the cash girl, can wear a wristful of jeweled bracelets or an eighteen-carat ring ~ and since jewelry is ornamentation after all, glass makes an effective trimming quite as well as gems.

Source: Post, Emily. Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company,1937.
~ p. 705 ~

1969: Fashion or Fad?

What is a fad, and how does it differ from a fashion? A fad, your dictionary will tell you, is a “temporary,” usually “irrational” pursuit which “excites attention.” While fashion is national, even world-wide in scope, a fad is usually confined to a small group, a town, or a geographical section.

A fad is temporary, while a fashion lasts at least a season ~ often longer.

A fad is attention-getting, while true fashion abhors the conspicuous.

Fads can be fun, or, by their extreme nature, they can be so unsightly as to be painful to the beholder. Such fads are usually in the sloppy category. Other fads are so objectionable or harmful that they are actually taboo.

Can You Tell the Difference?

Here is a list of recent fads. Indicate those you think are Fun and harmless (F), Sloppy and unsightly (S), objectionable and Taboo (T).

1. You wear nonprescription, rimless granny glasses. ___
2. You wear your skirts a couple of inches below the knee when everyone else shows several inches of thigh. ___
3. You wear knee socks with date dresses. ___
4. You wear a long Thrift Shop dress to a party when everyone else is in short, shiny dresses. ___
5. You never have your hair trimmed, because you’re proud of its length. ___
6. You paste decals on your legs. ___
7. You wear a sweater so skin-tight that it shows the outline of your bra. ___
8. You wear an army jacket to school. ___
9. You wear a scarf tied above your knee. ___
10. You wear a ring on every finger. ___
11. You wear the shortest of micro skirts, even though you’re over a size 14. ___
12. You wear black tights with stiletto-heeled shoes. ___
13. You wear stretch pants so tight that the outline of your panty girdle shows. ___
14. You wear slogan buttons that are apt to offend minority groups. ___
15. You wear a leather band around your forehead, Indian fashion. ___
16. You wear as many bead necklaces as you can bear. ___
17. You wear black lacy tights to school. ___
18. You wear “his” turtle neck to school, although it’s several sizes too large. ___
19. You wear half a dozen chains, plus keys about your waist as a belt. ___
20. You wear your skirts so short that the tops of your stockings show. ___

Answers: F for 1, 6, 8, 10, 15, 16, 19; S for 3, 5, 11, 18, 20; T for 2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 17. Give yourself five points for each correct answer. A score of 100 means you know a fad from a fashion; 80 or more signifies you’re human after all; 60 to 80 suggests that you’re either too proper or too sloppy in your dress; under 60 is an invitation to try again.

Source: Thomas, Kay. Secrets of Loveliness. New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1969.
~ pp. 26-28 ~

Am I Bald?

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

a too-tight ponytail is one villainQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Am I bald?


A Dear Claudia:

Well, sweetie, it’s kinda hard for me to tell via email. But here are some thoughts about baldness from a delightful little book calledYour Hairdo, written by Elaine Budd. And if you are not bald yet, her words should help you avoid such a catastrophe!

1966: Fallout and Baldness

Normal Fallout. You normally lose between fifty and a hundred hairs per day ~ perhaps even more in spring and autumn when you, like most creatures, have a “moulting season.” Often a new hair grows in when the old one falls out, but sometimes follicles become dormant and rest for a few years. Other follicles are meanwhile reawakening, so in normal circumstances the number of hairs on your head remains about the same.

Sudden Fallout. The Problem ~ There are also certain “abnormal” normal reasons for hair fall. After certain diseases ~ especially if you’ve run a high fever or if your body is generally run down ~ hair fall may be higher than usual, possible resulting in baldness.

The Solution ~ This type of baldness, called post-infection alopecia is generally temporary; hair growth will go back to its normal rate when your body is up to par again.

Patchy Baldness. The Problem ~ Another type of “abnormal” normal hair fall is alopecia areata, or patchy baldness. Hair loss here is in localized patches in different areas of the scalp. Many young girls complain of this condition. One of the causes is physical ~ the destruction of hair by actually pulling it out. A too-tight ponytail is one villain; the same hair style worn week in, week out, without even changing the part, is another. Stretching the hair on rollers tightly in the same place every night is also destructive.

The Solution ~ To avoid this sort of hair loss, follow these general rules:

1. Avoid tight headbands, tight hats, a tight hairdo that skins hair back from the head.
2. Keep changing position of part, ponytail rubber bands.
3. Keep hair clean ~ excess oil can act as a depilatory.
4. Massage scalp gently each night.
5. Avoid too-strenuous brushing.
6. Don’t roll hair tightly on rollers, and do vary their position.
7. Avoid overfrequent permanents.
8. Eat a balanced diet.
9. Get enough sleep and exercise.

Source: Budd, Elaine. Your Hairdo. New York: Scholastic Books Services, 1966.
~ pp. 84-86 ~

Eyes Right, Eyes Bright, Eyeglass Frames Can Pretty Your Sight

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

It’s time to replace my spectacles, due to lost sunglass clips and an out-of-stock frame style. So while I wait for my new frames to be delivered, let’s read a bit about eyeglass frame styles as enhancements to beauty. This little excerpt is from Finishing Touches, written by the lovely Candy Jones.

1961: Eyes Right, Eyes Bright, Eyeglass Frames Can Pretty Your Sight

All of us wear glasses at various times for sunning and sports as well as for aiding our eyesight. Years ago, when eyeglass frames were limited in style and shape, it was understandable for fashion- and beauty-conscious girls and women to refrain from being seen in their glasses, but not so today. The whole trick in turning a pair of eyeglass frames into a fashion accessory depends upon your knowledge of your bone structure type and the way in which the eyeglass frame can complement your appearance.

Listed below are the seven basic facial types and eyeglass frame facts.

ROUND FACE. Don’t wear an obviously round frame. Select a frame that is a bit wider than the broadest area of the face (usually at cheeks or beneath eyes). Look for a nose bridge that is wide and arched in reverse to the arch of the brows. The lower edges of frames should arch in an upward curve.

SQUARE FACE. Don’t choose an angular or square shape for your lenses. Avoid a frame that forms almost a straight line across the lower part. Make sure the frame is wider across than the broadest points of your jaw span. Look for a separated bridge that is arched.

LONG FACE. You can suggest more width to your face by obtaining frames that do not extend beyond the broadest area of your cheeks. Do not select a bridge too wide, nor have the frames highly arched. The bridge should be slightly curved. Avoid a definite downsweep to the outer edges of the frame.

DIAMOND-SHAPED FACE. It is necessary to avoid frames that have a highly arched bridge and those that are wider than the top part of the cheek. The popular harlequin style (modified in shape) with a generous sweep highlights width at the right place.

HEART-SHAPED FACE. Don’t choose large, heavy, wide frame. As for the diamond-shaped face, look for a full lower frame that suggests a downward line to the outer jaw. The broadest part of the frame should not extend beyond the hairline at the temples. The harlequin style is not for you. Seek a soft sweep to the upper nose bridge.

TRIANGULAR FACE. Avoid any lines that play up the triangular shape of your face: high bridge curve; broadness in the lower portion of the frame. Choose an upper frame that is wider across than the broadest points of your jaw span. The lower part of the frame should stretch up, joining the gently curved, broad upper bridge line.

OVAL FACE. Don’t select big, heavy, round frames with an obviously round nose bridge. The upper frame should stretch to the broadest area of the face in width.

Whenever possible, for any facial structure, allow a bit of the eyebrow to show.

Only round or square faces should wear heavily colored frames such as black or dark tortoise. As a general rule, neutral or pastel shades are the safest choice for frames if your eyeglass wardrobe is limited in quantity.

Source: Jones, Candy. Finishing Touches. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961.
~ pp. 33-35 ~

“Nice Girls” and Dyed Hair

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

extra care must be lavishedQ Dear Miss Abigail:

When did dyeing your hair blonde became acceptable ~ you know, when “a nice girl” could do it? When did it start ~ and who was doing it?

Yes, my name is Abigail, too!

A Dear Abigail, too:

How did you know that I used to dye my hair? Must be that “nice girl/Abigail” thing. Though my hair wasn’t blonde, my hairdresser commented on the loveliness of my particular shade of Clairol Light Auburn.

Authors in my collection started addressing such issues in the 1950s and 1960s. Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder, including a bit of history from Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, by Gayelord Hauser.

1955: Colorings

There was a time, not too long ago, when any woman who dared change the color of her hair was looked upon as distinctly no lady. Those days area gone forever. But ~ mark this well ~ the upkeep is still a serious matter. Before you decide to go blonde, or redhead, or whatever, consider the prospect that keeping your hair its new shade involves regular, lengthy, and expensive visits to the hairdresser; that extra care must be lavished on both hair and scalp to counteract the inevitable drying effects of tints and dyes; that the growing-out period, if and when you decide to go back to your natural hair color, can be a fretful one.

Source: Hart, Constance. The Handbook of Beauty. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1955.
~ p. 56 ~

1961: A Change of Color

Nowadays one out of three women colors or highlights her hair.

Hair coloring is nothing new. In Cleopatra’s time, and even before, Egyptian ladies used henna and indigo. Roman matrons, admiring the blond Teutonic slaves brought back by Caesar’s legions, bleached their hair with such mixtures as ashes of plants, oils, nutshells and vinagar. Renaissance women were known to mix alum, sulphur and honey to become fair-haired. Powdering hair with gold or silver dust was the vogue among fashionable Americans right after the Civil War, and, at the turn of the century, bleaching and dyeing were considered smart by actresses and playgirls. Henna rinses again became popular just before World War I, then were replaced by peroxide bleaching which became so popular in the thirties.

A woman may have many reasons for wanting a different hair color. A shining crowning glory is still a mighty symbol of femininity, and the woman who does not care how her locks look may have deep-seated problems. A New York psychoanalyst, Dr. Harold Green, tells of a patient he had under treatment who did not appear to be responding, when one day she came with a new hair color. ‘Suddenly I knew she was getting well,’ said Dr. Green. ‘At last she was ready to establish a personality, to respond to attention. Vanity in a woman is a sign of mental

Source: Hauser, Gayelord. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Invitation to Beauty. New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1960.
~ p. 192 ~

My Underarm Hair Is Really Dark!

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

all is healthy and normalQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I am facing a bit of problem. I used to clean my underarms with hair-removing cream, but recently I started shaving them. The hair now grows in really dark (my underarms skin color is very dark). Can you help or suggest any kind of solution to this problem?


A Dear Maryam:

Although I personally don’t think you should be too concerned (as long as you continue to shave), here are a few words about the growth of hair on our bodies. I hope it helps!

1960: Hair Growth and Distribution

From the time of fetal life, before birth, there is hair on the head and body which varies in different individuals both in amounts and distribution.

Many consider that the appearance of hair on a woman’s face or on her arms and legs is unwomanly and a detraction from her beauty. These thoughts often bother the affected person far more than anyone else. Many young ladies have long inward debates and get much contradictory advice from others concerning what to do about their hirsutism (hairiness). Here again, the physician is the best person to consult.

Occasionally the hairiness may be due to a glandular imbalance that can be corrected. But in the great majority of individuals with a more than average amount of facial and body hair, all is healthy and normal.

Even if the hairiness is not a sign of something being wrong, a girl may still want to get rid of the hair on some parts of her body. There are various chemical depilatories, easily obtainable, which can remove hair. These occasionally irritate the skin and therefore should be avoided or used only with extreme caution. Electrical depilation, or removal of hair, is a specialized technique which should be attempted only upon the advice of a physician and be done only by a specially trained and experienced person. Pulling the hair out (epilation) does not result in permanent removal and may be harmful.

In most cases shaving is the simplest and best way of removing hair. Shaving may be done with an electric or a safety razor. The idea that shaving causes and increase in the growth of hair or a thickening of the regrowth is incorrect. Though this seems to happen to men, it is only because of natural changes that occur in the hair of the face which would occur even if men did not shave.

Cosmeticians, and often mothers, know ways of diminishing the effect of unwanted hair by bleaching it to less noticable shades.

Source: Roth, Arthur. The Teen-Age Years. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1960.
~ pp. 119-20 ~