“Any Woman Can Look Lovelier”

Because Barbara Gould said so.

Barbara Gould cosmetics were popular in the '30's and the '40's.  Fast forward 60 years:  I am at the Ventura Flea Market, doing what most ephemera collectors do, sticking my hands into boxes full of old papers and shuffling them about.

I came up with this booklet, published in 1932…it was probably handed out free of charge at the cosmetics counters of Bullock's, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc.; I bought it for fifty cents.

Such a pithy littlte tome…inside it begins with a brief history of Barbara Gould.  It states that she is 'an ardent devotee of out-door sports', but I always read it as 'an ardent divorcee'.  Oh well.

The booklet goes on to describe how a woman's complexion alters with each decade, and how her facial needs change.  I always found the caption for each decade kind of amusing.  As amusing as the magazine I leafed through years ago which told me that a woman marrying past forty should wear a pantsuit.

Anyway.  Here we are in our teens – our faces smooth and toned, but still with that edginess that makes us look like an evil bobby-soxer.  Barbara would like us to use some Skin Freshener on both face and neck.  Shall we begin, ladies?

We are now in our twenties.  We are, in case you haven't noticed yet, glowing, and have a acquired a 'look to the future, young graduate' serenity of expression, as well.  Our faces now require 'the merest touch' of the Barbara Gould Finishing Cream:

Uh-oh.  Warning.  We are now heavily marcelled, peroxided and, judging from the portrait provivded, rather fabulous looking.  But don't let that fool you.  We're in our thirties.  Danger.  Use the Tissue Cream around the eyes, ladies, as well as Muscle Oil for dry or sallow skin.  Which you no doubt have.  Because you're thirty.

At last.  We have reached the snow-covered summit of our lives.  We have looked Death in the eye, and spat into his hooded cloak.  We are forty.  We are triumphant.  We are not dead.  Look at the portrait here – no glow (oops, sorry, that was two decades ago), the hair is straightened, the dye has been washed out, the eyes are lowered and demure – and I think we are now wearing hair shirts.

Yes; clutching our Barbara Gould Astringent Cream, Skin Freshener and Cleansing Cream in our hands, we are being sent to a nunnery:

It's been a fun ride, ladies.  Thanks for playing.

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22 responses to ““Any Woman Can Look Lovelier”

  1. this is a screaming hoot! what an awesome find.

  2. I guess at fifty she hands you a paper bag for over the head.

  3. and at sixty, what? a body bag? yeesh.

  4. I assume at fifty you're driven out to the desert – or wherever there's good, open ground – carrying nothing but a shovel.

  5. aub, is there seriously nothing in the pamphlet after the forties page? is that the last page?? i have to know!

  6. OK, IG – I have the pamphlet in front of me.
    After the forties, there are some pages which describe in greater detail each of her skin products. Then a few more pages, addressing obstacles such as oily skin, large pores and freckles (although it is to Barbara's credit that she believes that freckles add 'a certain charm' and 'individuality', and shouldn't be hidden).
    But no more decades are discussed.

  7. hm. well, it was sixty years ago. maybe the average life expectancy for women was 49. 😛

  8. Please, Aubrey, a real lady has the good grace to die before turning 50.

  9. I'm going to slather on an extra heaping of Tissue Cream tonight. Thanks, Aubrey and Mrs. Gould for the most helpful and inspiring tips!

  10. Now, now, Aubrey, you might be wrong about the desert thing.In some climates, you'd go out onto the ice floes.

  11. Well I must be on an ice flow. What a great find. I love it. I just don't look at my skin to close these days. Also being the free spirit we all no (and love) I never wore much makeup. CoverGirl if I did. Now they are finding out that the chemicals in make up at causes certain cancers. Go natural.

  12. that was so funny i'm still laughing.of course i should've had the decency to be dead by now… lol

  13. Omg…well, I think IG is right. Nobody lived past 49. Then they invented Oil of Olay!This is great! *goes to stick head in a plastic bag* (laughing all the way)

  14. Any word on what happens to guys after their twenties? Or don't guys matter? 😀

  15. Redz: I am no lady.
    AmyH: live to serve, dearie.
    LT: well, I think Barbara will agree that a cool rather than a hot environment is better for the complexion.
    SM: ladies would be poisoned by the lead that used to be a major component of cosmetics.
    lizzy: I don't recall seeing anyone decent around here.
    Lauri: ummm…laughing all the way to the bag?
    Shane: Barbara doesn't care to bother. You're on your own, my son.

  16. This is so funny:D….so am supposed to glow now?

  17. Can I have 'The Warning Thirties' written in icing on my birthday cake when I turn 30?

  18. controllingaspicyuniverse

    I found your article searching for Gould cosmetics; my great-grandmother was the Ohio sales manager for Rike’s! I’ve got some fun stuff from some of their fancy meetings where they all wore big hats.

  19. Barbara Gould Starks Chapko

    When I was born my Mother had not picked out a name for me. However, as she was going through a magazine while still in the hospital after my birth she came across an ad for Barbara Gould cosmetics. What an appropriate name for me as my Fathers’ first name was Gould. I did not appreciate the middle name until late in life as it was not an inviting name and to explain it was too tiresome. I suppose someplace in the geneology there is a Gould presence.

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