I love ridiculous beauty how-to books. I've got several Adrien Arpel books (not so ridiculous, as the woman's ancient at this point and is so lovely that she must be sleeping in formaldehyde), an early 20th century guide to body care (which yields very little applicable advice beyond an "eye bath," a practice where you pour a softening oil into a glass and hold it over each eye for 10 to 20 minutes), and "The Beautiful People's Diet Book" by Luciana Pignatelli. Luciana was the cat's meow in the 60's and 70's. She killed herself in 2008 after the Madoff scandal left her finances in ruins, claiming she couldn't be "both old and poor." Full of wit and juicy secrets, my favorite chapter of TBPDB deals with fat farms disguised as spas. God, what I wouldn't give to go stay at a compound where they rub me down with oil and feed me broiled chicken. Not that I like broiled chicken, but I might actually lose these last 20 pounds if I had someone to boss me around!
She has another book, "The Beautiful People's Beauty Book," that I'm dying to get a hold of, but I simply can't put another thing on my card right now. If it's anything like the diet guide, it's full of delightful morsels.
One tidbit floating around the internet I've found concerns homosexual Parisians in the 70's. Luciana claims that a popular beauty ritual for them was to whip egg whites and olive oil, apply it to the face, and sit back while it tightens the pores.
She put a lot of stock in what gay men have to say about self-care, as should we all, and went so far as to claim that every woman over the age of 30 must have a gay man in her life. Personally, I'd love to have one long before then, but I'll certainly not turn him down should he take some time to get here!