Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vintage Thingies Thursday: The Leslie Uggams Beauty Book

For this Vintage Thingies Thursday I bring you the third beauty book that I loved as a young woman and spurred me to collect books in this genre: The Leslie Uggams Beauty Book.

I had no idea who Leslie Uggams was when I was younger, but I immediately admired her beauty, gracefulness, and poise that positively leapt from these pages. Her book was published in 1966 and is one of only two books that I have found from that era to be intended for African-American teens.

I'd like to share with you a few pages from the chapter about hair care, and along with the usual advice about keeping hair clean and visiting the salon, Leslie dealt with a topic that is just not covered in teen beauty books today: wearing a wig! Actually, the section begins, "Wigs are Wonderful -- But Not for Teens," although these were a common beauty accessory in the 1960s, along with hairpieces and switches, due to the expense of getting a really good human hair wig at the time ($150).

The following photos show Leslie's "favorite hairstyles" that were so typical of the 1960s:

Here is Leslie's own Personal Feminine Program that she shared with her readers that they might take pride in being feminine. In her words, to be feminine is to add a "something extra that makes the difference between a well-groomed girl and well-groomed 'girl' girl":

1) A bubble bath each day; sometimes an extra quick shower after a show or rehearsal.
2) Regular use of an after-bath fragrance.
3) Daily use of a deodorant or antiperspirant.
4) Brush teeth regularly; always use a mouthwash.
5) Keep underarms neat by shaving regularly.
6) Rinse out lingerie each evening so it's always fresh when I want to wear it.
7) Keep a frequent check on the cleanliness of my nails, hair, and skin.

One of the unusual sections in this book, considering that it is a beauty book, is a short paragraph on the Importance of Education for young women, including college, though Leslie seems to stress alternatives to college such as vocational school. That said, she does recommend choosing a career that a woman can "set aside or work at part-time when starting a family," one that she can pick up again later. Although this advice may seem a bit dated in light of the reforms of the Women's Movement, consider that in 2011 some of the families I know do have one mostly stay-at-home parent who works just part-time because child care continues to be very expensive in this country.

I hope that you enjoyed Leslie Uggams' Beauty Book this Vintage Thingies Thursday (be sure to visit some of the other posts at Coloradolady's blog), and by all means, leave a comment!

All photos are credited in each picture above.


  1. I remember Leslie well..beautiful then, beautiful today.

  2. That is an interesting thing to collect. Those hairstyles were cool in the 60s, but I hate to see people still wearing them.

  3. Wow, what a step back in time, I think at some point, my mom wore wigs too. I remember it, but wonder now why? She had no reason to do so, maybe just a little lazy and easy to throw on a wig. This really has me puzzled about that! I remember those styles too. Very neat post.

  4. I remember her very well when we were both younger. I have had a wig in the past, but I could not wear it. It just did work out for me. They are nice for bad hair days tho.

  5. I do remember her. What a wonderful book to have. I love reading through these old books (although this one isn't that old) The advice is still true today, but it's the way they're written that can be so humorous.


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