Here’s the “Vanity” part of the post. Scroll down for the Cucumbers! :D.

Makeup and adornment can be a touchy subject among serious Catholics. Prudence, good taste and intention are important when it comes to these things.

I like this excerpt from the wonderful book “Christ in the Home” written in the 1950’s by Father Raoul Plus, S.J.

“She (a woman) has a genius for adornment. She must please. And that is right. No one need reproach her for striving to do so. ‘The pheasants are preening their feathers,’ Saint Francis de Sales humorously commented in answer to Saint Jane Frances de Chantal’s letter expressing worry over her daughters’ newly evidenced concern about their dress. ‘It is excess that is blameworthy…..’

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Another quote from Christ in the Home:

  PRAISEWORTHY VANITY

A HUSBAND who is a man of sense as well as a good Catholic proposes this question: Ought concern for their appearance be something foreign to Christian wives?

He answers the question himself: ‘That would be simply ridiculous. I confess that I feel thoroughly enraged when I see women who act as if they were being very virtuous by their slovenly appearance and poor taste in dress.

First of all,they commit a fault against beauty and grace which are God’s gifts. But their fault is graver still: Have these noble souls taken care to consult their husbands and to assure themselves that he approves of this treatment? Let them not be surprised then if their husbands look elsewhere for satisfaction.

Christian women must know once for all that to dress with taste and even with distinction is not a fault; that to use cosmetics is no fault either unless the results are esthetically to be regretted; that adornment as such is one of those questions of convention which is purely accidental and remains completely foreign to the moral order.

Virtue owes it to itself to be attractive and even strongly attractive. The only thing that must be avoided is excess. There is excess when a Christian woman devotes all the powers of her mind to becoming as exact a copy as possible of the models in Vogue or Charm to the point of neglecting her duty.

A woman who for love of dress would ruin her husband, neglect her children or even refuse to have them for fear of spoiling her figure would fail by excess.’
This viewpoint is full of wisdom; it defends right use and at the same time condemns abuse.”

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Now for cucumbers….

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The following are simple recipes for cleansing and nourishing your skin by the famous health guru Paavo Airola in the old book “Swedish Beauty Secrets”.  If I were feeling inclined to give myself a little “freshening up” these are the types of concoctions I would make and use. I thought they were worth sharing!

CUCUMBER ASTRINGENT

1 cup fresh cucumber juice (make your own juice extractor, or grate very fine and press through a cloth).

1/4 tsp. honey

Pour ingredients in an empty bottle and shake well. Apply with a cotton pad on your face and neck and let it dry. Leave it on overnight, if desired, or use as a base under makeup. Store in refrigerator. After a few day make a fresh batch.

Cucumbers contain natural vegetable hormones which are very beneficial for your skin. Cucumber is also a natural, harmless skin tightener, or astringent. It will do wonders to your wrinkles and lines. Cucumber is used extensively in Sweden and Germany as an active ingredient in commercially manufactured cosmetics. Even some American manufacturers are beginning to use cucumber in their cosmetics.

CUCUMBER BEAUTY MASK

1 small cucumber

1/4 cup skim milk

1/2 tsp. honey

1 tsp. crushed ice

Cut cucumber to about 1 inch pieces and mix in an electric mixer with skim milk, honey, and ice to a consistency of porridge. Don’t let the blender run too long so the formula becomes too liquid – only approximately three to five seconds at low speed.

Apply generously all over face, neck and hands. Lie down for ten or fifteen minutes, then wash off with cold water.

HONEY LOTION

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of honey in a cup of cold water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Apply with a cotton pad freely to you face, neck and arms, especially after a bath, if soap or shampoo was used. Leave it on and let it dry. It will moisturize and soften and help to restore natural acid to the skin. Honey is a a natural humectant, or skin softener. Beauty-conscious Swedish women have used honey as their cosmetic for centuries.

HONEY-EGG MASK

White of 1 egg

1/2 tsp. of honey

Beat the egg white with honey and apply to your face and neck liberally. Leave it on for about 10 to 15 minutes, then wash off with cold water without soap. You may save what is left over for the next day if you keep it tightly closed in the refrigerator.

This simple beauty mask will startle you with the most amazing results. Albumin of egg white is a natural astringent. It will “draw” your skin together and tighten it. Honey is a wonderful moisturizer and a softener. Together they work miracles on your skin.

SWEDISH FACIAL SAUNA

Swedish facial sauna is a very effective treatment for blackheads, pimples, acne, and other complexion blemishes, and for the thorough cleansing of your face.

Take a tablespoon of your favorite herbs – peppermint, anise, chamomile, or, as do the Swedish women, use pine needles or birch leaves. Put in a pot of water and bring to a roaring boil. Lower your head over the pot, cover it with a big  bath towel, and steam your face for about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn your face so that every part of it, as well as your neck will receive the benefit of this aromatic facial bath.

The herbal steam of distilled water and your own perspiration will clean your face thoroughly, open pores, and loosen old, stale makeup, blackheads and dirt, and make your complexion soft and beautifully clean.

After facial sauna, dry your face and gently apply Cucumber Astringent. Lie on your back and rest 10 to 15 minutes. Then look in your mirror and see the miraculous transformation which has taken place!

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And, of course, we are reminded, “A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. A woman who is not beautiful cannot properly fill her place. But, mark you, true beauty is not of the face, but of the soul. There is a beauty so deep and lasting that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it comely. This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the mind and heart and is manifested in word and deed. A happy heart, a smiling face, loving words and deeds, and a desire to be of service, will make any woman beautiful.” – Mable Hale

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