Monday, November 3, 2008

Tape Your Face Into a Lifelike Expression

The minute tape was first patented in 1925, people started using it for instant facelifts. Like many beauty hacks, this one originated with movie stars and pageant queens. Those women are largely held together with chewing gum and toothpicks.

You might have first come across taping if you read or saw Mommy Dearest. Joan Crawford reportedly slept with a face full of tape to smooth and prevent wrinkles. (She also liked to start her day by plunging her face into a sinkful of ice water. A few decades later, Helen Gurley Brown, took that up a notch. With a snorkel.)

Women sometimes used tape to secure sections of hair, pulled tightly back to stretch the skin. Some of my beauty books recommend getting similar results by simply creating a tiny braid on either side of the face, around cheekbone level, and then tightly, tightly, fastening the braids together at the back of the head. This infrastructure was hidden with carefully combed-over hair, or often, a wig.

Frownies work in a different way; much like Botox actually. You apply them to the stern, wrinkled area every night for a month and they are said to retrain the muscle. They were actually invented before tape was patented, in 1889. Margaret Kroesen invented them to use on her daughter, a stern and serious piano player whose face was beginning to line. First sold as Wrinkle Eradicators, the little patches were so successful that profits eventually allowed Margaret to buy out the barber supply company, B & P, which stands for Beauty and Personality. Their popularity has been ebbing and flowing ever since. Right now, it's flowing.

Maybe you're the deeply crafty type, looking for a more intense project. Our old friend, George Masters has just the thing. That is, if you don't mind the inevitable, blinding headache. George, take it away:

"For older women who do not feel the need of a conventional facelift but who now and then feel the urge to look younger for special occasions, I recommend what is known as the instant facelift, a Rube Goldberg contraption of gauze, glue, and elastic bands that you can buy or do yourself. If you live in or near a big city, just go to a place that sells theatrical makeup and ask for an instant facelift.

You make it in two sections: first the eye lift, then the chin lift. For the eyes, cut two small (about one inch) pie-shaped wedges of gauze. Sew a strip of very narrow elastic tape to the narrow edge of each wedge. Glue one wedge of gauze directly in front of on ear, right under the hairline, with the narrower part of the wedge pointing upward toward the top of your head. When the two wedges with their elastic bands are well anchored, pull the bands up high and tight and tie them together at the back of your head, cutting off the excess.

Your biggest problem may be finding the kind of glue that will stick to your face. I had a special glue made for me when I was doing instant facelifts for Hedda Hopper and Marion Davies and many other Hollywood stars. If you have trouble finding a glue that works, try making your wedges with Band-Aids or other string tape recommended by your druggist or theatrical supply house.

For the chin life the gauze of tape should be attached just below and behind the ear lobe. Again, pull the elastic up tight and tie at the back of the head. You can sew hooks and eyes on the ends of the elastic if you know the exact length you need.

It's really simple once you get the knack of it-- and find the proper glue or tape that won't come unstuck.

I do not recommend wearing instant facelifts all the time, but for short periods of time they can be marvelous picker-uppers for older women."