Mary Pickford’s Beauty Routine

Portrait from our collection

Mary Pickford’s Own Routine for the Daily Care of Her Skin


Extracted from the 1938 Mary Pickford Cosmetics, Inc Booklet

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Cosmetic booklet in our collection

Mary Pickford’s procedure for taking care of her complexion is simple and easy to do, at the same time, most effective. You see, Miss Pickford lived such a busy, active life that she necessarily cannot spend hours at her dressing table, as she knows that you too may have big plans about home care of your complexion—but very humanly understands that prolonged complicated routines don’t work out—there just isn’t enough time in our busy days. And furthermore, Miss Pickford feels that it isn’t necessary to spend hours laboring over your complexion, if you follow faithfully, every day, the routine she sets down for you here.

Mary Pickford’s routine is a night and morning event. Of course, it is essential to cleanse the skin thoroughly before each fresh make-up, but your own individual requirements will guide you on how often you re-apply your make-up during the day. But, if important occasions arise, you may want to re-apply your make-up before a luncheon engagement, an afternoon party or before dinner.

Miss Pickford’s night cleansing is the most thorough, so she gives you her night routine first:

First…apply Mary Pickford Cleansing Cream (or cold cream) with fingertips, smoothing it evenly over the face, throat and neck. Massage with firm upward and outward strokes, starting at the base of the neck and working upward to the hairline. Use a rotary movement, however, around nose and chin, or wherever pores may be enlarged. Remove cream with soft, absorbent tissues.

Then…wash your face and neck thoroughly with Mary Pickford Beauty Soap and water. Rub the soap between the hands with warm (not hot) water to form a soft, creamy lather, and apply to face, working it in with the fingertips. Use a rotary movement around the nose and chin and wash well up into the hairline to remove all make-up. Rinse thoroughly seven or eight times, gradually making a water colder. Miss Pickford then finds it refreshing and restful to wring a face cloth out in ice water and hold it over the face.

Now that your face is clean, you will need to use a rich lubricating cream. This is the next step in Mary Pickford’s routine, and calls for a thorough massaging with Mary Pickford Tissue Cream.

Take a generous amount of tissue cream on your fingertips and mold it with firm upward and outward strokes into your neck and face. Dip your fingers into hot water frequently while massaging. Miss Pickford calls this “ironing in” the cream. Then, with a thick coating of tissue cream still on, ice the face and neck for five minutes. (If your skin is thin, Miss Pickford suggests wrapping ice in a soft cloth before applying to face.) Remove with soft, absorbent facial tissues.

If you are doing your night routine just before retiring, and your skin is naturally dry, or has been exposed to wind and weather, make a second application of tissue cream and leave on overnight.

If, on the other hand, you want a quick facial before dinner, or a big evening ahead, proceed as above but in addition, do this:

After you have had your ice rub and remove the tissue cream, and while your face is still cold, apply Mary Pickford Skin Freshener. You can do this either of two ways:

  1. Wring out a “dab” of cotton in ice water and then saturate with freshener and apply to face and neck.
  2. Keep your skin freshener in the refrigerator when not using and apply with cotton. Miss Pickford likes to spray it on with an atomizer.

The combination of coolness and the scientific attributes of the skin freshener gives your face a dewey, youthful glow.

Mornings, Mary Pickford follows the same routine, using cleansing cream and soap and water face bath. (If your skin is dry, however, don’t use soap and water in the morning.)  She eliminates the tissue cream and proceeds with ice rub and skin freshener before applying makeup.

Which brings us to the final important step—the finishing touches with which we go out to meet the world….Make-up.  And here is where the real artistry comes in, for it is important that the final results be radiant, fresh and as natural as the bloom of a fresh-picked peach.

Make sure that your skin is thoroughly dry, even waiting a few minutes if necessary before you apply any make-up.

With a big downy puff, or a clean “dab” of cotton, fluff on a thin layer of Mary Pickford Face Powder, powdering always from the throat upwards, and leaving the nose until last.

Then apply Mary Pickford Rouge, making sure that your rouge shade corresponds to your lipstick shade. Apply rouge high up on cheeks, never below the level of the nostrils. Make a triangle of the rouge with the top just below the outer corner of the eye extending toward the lobe of the ear on one side, and toward the upper edge of the nostril on the other. Blend all edges with your rouge puff or your fingers until you cannot tell where the rouge begins or ends.

Now apply your Mary Pickford Lipstick. Outline your lips with the sharp edge of the lipstick. Then fill in the entire area, making sure that no rough edges or uneven lines are left. Finally, blot lips by pressing gently but firmly on folded lipstick or facial tissue to remove excess lipstick. Go over your entire throat and face area once again with a light dusting of powder.

And now you are ready to face the world with the assurance and poise.

Mary Pickford has one final make-up hint which she herself employs. She takes the tiniest bit of tissue cream on a finger, after her make-up is applied, and presses it gently on the upper eyelids—rubbing it into the lashes and eyebrows slightly to remove all traces of powder from them. The slightly creamy effect of the lids tends to make the eyes luminous and starry.

Miss Pickford also suggests that if your skin is dry you apply a thin layer of cleansing cream before your powder.

You see, there are no tricks or folderols about Mary Pickford’s daily procedure for caring for her skin…It’s as simple as ABC and can be followed by every woman. Miss Pickford hopes that you will enjoy the simple effectiveness of her methods as much as she does.


Mary Pickford’s Beauty Tips (as given with each of her products)


  • Apply cleansing cream with fingertips, smoothing it evenly over the face, neck and throat. Work it in thoroughly and remove with soft, absorbent tissues.  Use cleansing cream before washing with soap and water, whether the skin be dry or oily, and if the skin is dry, apply another thin coating of cleansing cream after the soap and water washing.
  • Keep skin freshener in the refrigerator, and to apply it with an atomizer.
  • It is refreshing to wring your face cloth out in ice water and hold it over your face after washing.
  • When it comes to face powder, dust off excess powder with a powder brush or cotton. Don’t permit face to be greasy before powdering.
  • Use a different shade of rouge at night—for depth or delicacy, depending on the color of your costume.
  • After you powder, apply lipstick as follows: Be sure your lips are dry, then outline edges with the sharp edge of your lipstick. Now fill in the entire lip area—making sure that no rough edges are left. Finally, blot lips by pressing gently but firmly on folded lipstick or facial tissue.  This removes excess lipstick and leaves lips with smooth finish.