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Friday, December 6, 2013

Leg Makeup

Many of us have heard of leg makeup, a fantastic formula that gave the illusion that a woman was wearing stockings, was a secret of many ladies during World War II when nylon stocking shortages were at their height.

I found the earliest reference to leg makeup in a 1929 newspaper ad:
"Doraldina's Allura Arm and Leg Makeup simulates a perfect tan. These shades of Allura take the place of stockings.  "

This liquid foundation like formula came in several shades, Hollywood Tan, Palm Beach Tan, Desert Tan, Sun Tan. Doraldina also had powders to harmonize with these shades.

Doraldina, born Dora Saunders ( b1888 - d1936), was a famous Hollywood cosmetician, Metro Goldwyn Mayer screen actress and above all, a dancer who brought the native Hawaiian dance, the Hula to mainstream America.

The Green Book Magazine, Volume 16, 1916:

According to Who's Who on the Screen (1920),
"Doraldina, one of the newest of Metro stars, though given a splendid opportunity to display her histrionic talents as an actress, will, nevertheless, retain in her pictures the familiar Hawaiian setting with which her legion of admirers have come to associate her. Beginning her career as a manicurist in a San Francisco hotel, Doraldina's rise to fame and stardom comes as a fitting climax to a career during which she put forth every effort to please a discriminating public. Studying the dancing art first in New York, and then in Barcelona, Spain, she returned to New York where her career an dancer, actress, and screen star made of her a national figure. Her first Metro production is "Passion Fruit."
Read more on Doraldina here: http://www.starts-thursday.com/2011/11/play-ball-with-doraldina.html

Even more here: http://www.cosmeticsandskin.com/bcb/powder-bars.php

Her perfectly tanned skin contrasted with her vivid costumes and started the rage for sun tanned skin and started her own makeup company specializing in bringing the sun tan to American housewives easily and affordably. Now the women who could not otherwise go away to an exotic place to reach that unforgettable vacation hue, could easily slather on the leg and arm preparations and at least have the look with less damaging results.

Hollywood stars and starlets wore the leg and arm makeup, Bessie Love, Mary Carlisle, Lilyan Tashman, Raquel Torres, Anne Ames, Helen Welles, Marjorie McNally and Joan Crawford were some of the actresses advertised as wearing the makeup. The last advertisement I can find for Doraldina's cosmetics is from 1942.

Doraldina started her cosmetician career as a manicurist and then started her own business, Doraldina, Inc in the 1920s. Doraldina was known for her " extraordinary [olive] skin and complexion"  and one observer remarked that Doraldina "represents the exotic charm of the maidens of the South Seas, to whom are known the final ports of many missing men."

A 1930 advertisement for Doraldina's cosmetics reads:
"Just in time to fill Vacation needs1 A complete week-end kit of DORALDINA BEAUTY BOX. Two jars of Allura, a box of Powder, bottle of Astringent, jar of Cleansing Cream, a jar of Skin Food, a jar of Tissue Cream, a box of tissues - packed in an attractive green lacquered box."

During the 1940s, Elsa Schiaparelli introduced "Shocking Stocking", a leg makeup in three shades.

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