Mo woman possessing beautiful arms and well-turned wrists can be called plain. Yet in spite of the undoubted importance that well-shaped arms play in beauty's part, it remains true that their possession is comparatively rare amongst English women - and this in spite of the fact that thin, ill-shaped arms are considered by doctors to be signs of delicate health and even degeneracy. On the other hand, there is something hopelessly coarse-looking about large arms, which, to my mind, require as careful treatment by the dressmaker as ever do thin ones.
Exercises for the arms are needed by many women, and the best exercises - those which bring the right muscles into play - are swimming, rowing, certain gymnastics, bed-making - the tossing of feather beds - and bread-kneading.
For the ideal arm can be developed. It should be curved with inward curves, should be round, dimpled at shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and should decrease in size from the shoulder to the wrist. The wrist should be slender, but not thin. The bone at the side should be well covered and only indicated by dimples.
But whatever the shape of the arms it is necessary that they should be of a good colour. They should be smooth and clear-skinned, unspoilt by hair, moles, or the rough skin called "goose-skin."
Superfluous hairs on the arms are a great disfigurement, for which the only remedy appears to be a depilatory. Electrolysis is, of course, the best method of removing hair, but its expense, together with the fact that the skin of the arm is not so delicate as is that on the face, puts electrolysis out of the present question.
Sulphydrate of sodium, crystals......2 parts
Quicklime in powder.. .. .. ., .. 10 parts
Starch in powder ..........11 parts
Distilled water ........ a sufficiency
This is a safe depilatory to use, but caution must be used with any and all depilatories. They should be used at night, and an emollient cream must be put on to the irritated skin immediately.
If the hair on the arms is not very notice-able, bleaching might be tried instead of a depilatory. Subject it to a 6 per cent. solution of peroxide of hydrogen, which dry on by heat - preferably sun. For it can be said at once that there is no depilatory which will remove the hair permanently, and even electrolysis does not effect a perfect cure, for, although it removes strong growths, it is found to encourage the small, downy growth known as lanugo. And if the operator be not exceedingly careful as well as skilful, the base of the follicle is not touched by the needle, and the hair grows again.
Before leaving the question of depilation, it may be recorded that some actresses shave their arms - a drastic method, but effectual for the time being. The blue tinge is probably hidden in these cases by "make-up."
To Whiten the Arms
To obtain white arms is a fairly easy matter. If the skin reddens quickly do not apply soap, and use oatmeal generously. A homely recipe is horseradish steeped in hot milk. To every tablespoonful of scraped horseradish add half a pint of hot milk; bathe the arms with this, and leave to dry on. This recipe must be used several times before it has any effect, and must of course be used as a remedy and not as a cosmetic. It is applied before the arms are washed. Dr. Anna Kingsford recommended the following lotion, largely diluted with soft, tepid water:
Chloride of lime, 1/2 ounce; soft water, 3/4 pint.
Carbonate of soda (crystallised), 3 1/2 drachms, previously dissolved in soft water, 1/4 pint.
Shake well for fifteen minutes, and again filter the whole through moistened coarse calico. Keep in a stoppered vessel.
This lotion is useful for undue perspiration under the arms, as also is diluted Condy's Fluid and boric acid dissolved in warm water. Boracic acid powder is useful in this direction, and so is carbolic acid mixed in the proportion of one part to two hundred of powdered starch. This may be made more adhesive by the addition of a little French chalk, and may be perfumed. Powdered alum is useful. It may be added in a small quantity to powdered starch, or used as a lotion by dissolving it. The affected parts should be washed and left clean at night.
Goose skin can be banished by friction, which will also improve the shape of a thin arm while it smooths the skin. For this use a loofah every night and morning, afterwards rubbing in some cold-cream with the hand.
The following is the exact procedure of a popular singer.
The arms are first rubbed with a mixture of glycerine and rose-water, then well covered with an emollient, which is allowed to remain on for about a quarter of an hour. This in its turn is wiped off with a soft cloth, and the help of a good rice powder requisitioned. The toilet powder is dusted on and rubbed off, and the skin left white and beautiful.