One of life’s greatest luxuries? Time.  Whether you have three minutes or three hours, it is all about being organized. Book a slice of time monthly to take inventory of all your cosmetics and make a list of what needs to be replaced or introduced into the mix. (During  my go-go dancing days, my friend and I would get together with our respective  kits—and Caboodles!—and use it as an excuse to catch up on bad TV and  good gossip.)  Make a list and restock everything that is missing. Now make a clean sweep. You wouldn’t want to brush your floor with a filthy broom. So why apply makeup with a dirty brush?  At least weekly, run all the brushes you used during the week under warm water. With a drop of shampoo (preferably one formulated for babies), lather up the bristles. Rinse until the water runs clear. Squeeze out excess moisture,  reshape, and leave to air-dry, laying them flat on a clean towel. Since brushes are out of commission until thoroughly dry, it’s best to leave this chore until right before bedtime or after a morning face application. Product can also carry its share of bacterial nasties. Keep containers clean and, when not in use,  closed. Replace, at minimum, annually. Mascara should be changed more frequently, monthly, if possible.  Monthly, break the pattern and schedule a decent block of time, most advisably before a special affair, to experiment. Knowing you have all the time in the world to really savor each moment and each beauty ritual can be a boon to your mind, body, and soul.  I often start with a twenty-minute dance party. Yes, by myself, or, if I’m lucky, with a friend or three present. Then I bathe, set my hair, apply makeup.  All the while, candles are burning, the tunes are blasting (see my beauty makeover soundtrack), the bubbly is popping, and the outside world remains out there. All that matters is the here and now. Of course, time is ticking. Among the perfume bottles and vintage vases packed with cosmetic brushes on my vanity sits a working clock. A more realistic time frame for getting my drag on daily is thirty minutes. I can also do it in ten minutes flat. No matter the time, success without stress lies in prioritizing and being organized.  What is it about the beauty looks of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and especially the  1950s that more than a half-century later inspire so many women, including yours truly, to regard them as the foundation for our everyday beauty?  Be aware, dear reader, that for me and so many of these women, more often than not, the look isn’t bound by a single decade (as the following chapters will detail). My makeup echoes the cat eye and red lip of the 1950s. My hair references the stylized sets of the 1940s. My nails are an updated take on what was all the rage during the 1920s and 1930s. There’s something timeless, dare  I say, modern, about the mix, since the aim is to take what’s most flattering and make it your own.


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