Beauty by the book - Edwardian-style...

We're eternally fascinated by the beauty traditions of yesteryear - which also serves to make us grateful that we live in the 21st Century, with all the gadgets, gizmos, high-tech formulas and general skin knowledge that abounds, now, to help us look our best. A charming little book landed on our desk lately: How to be Pretty Through Plain, republished in a facsimile edition by The British Library. It's a slim and fascinating volume (albeit with a slightly weird title!), filled with good wisdom, some back-to-nature skin concoctions and other fascinating nuggets. (Some of it seems completely contemporary, actually.)

Here are just some of the intriguing snippets...

• A slice of cucumber may be rubbed over the face instead of soap.

• For hands, lemon may be used instead of soap. During the day it is better to rub the hands with a little lemon than to use soap, and no manicure is ever required for hands thus treated.

• To avoid dandruff, always use scrupulously clean hairbrushes and not a fine comb. Do not wear anything which will heat the head, and be shampooed regularly.

• Every one should make it a practice to eat an orange or an apple before going to bed. (Doctors say that apples act directly upon the liver, thus strengthening the digestion, and, as a consequence, improving the texture of the skin and the tints of the complexion…)

UK readers find How to be Pretty Through Plain (published by The British Library) at£7.99 - buy here