Original image

9 Vintage Beauty Video Tutorials

Original image

The how-to beauty video didn't start with YouTube. Here are a few vintage videos that taught women how to put the best possible face forward.

1. "Secrets of Makeup" (1936)

"Making up, whether after a tiff or as part of the toilet, is an art if only one knows how," intones the narrator of this short how-to film. An art that apparently involves tools for measuring. Women should draw a triangle as the "very limit of operations," the narrator advises. "When the forehead, nose, and chin are of different lengths, the cheeky triangle is shaped accordingly, thus making up in makeup what the face lacks in uniformity."

2. "Daily Beauty Rituals" (1937)

In this tutorial, silver screen star Constance Bennett rolls out of bed to dole out lots of beauty-related advice, all the while being attended to by her maid (who Bennett seems to find kind of annoying).

Bennett advises women to start with a clean slate by washing their faces with cleansing cream. She likes hers because "for my temperamental skin, it is neither too oily nor too dry—and above all," she whispers, "it doesn’t grow fuzz.” Next comes the stimulation cream, which Bennett says is the basis of her skincare regime: “Just like brushing your teeth is stimulation for your gums and makes your gums healthy, and brushing your hair is stimulation for your scalp and makes your hair strong and healthy and oh, I could go on for hours!”

After putting on a complexion mask, head for the bath, and then, once you're clean, apply your makeup. Bennett uses glow base and cream rouge. "Lots of women think cream rouge is difficult to use, but maybe they're just lazy," she says. Follow it up with powder and lipstick, and you're ready to go. "Remember," Bennett sums up, "that to be beautiful and natural is the birthright of every woman."

3. "Beautifying! Where to Put the Accent!" (1938)

In this short, Women's Fair beauty "editress" Jean Barrie shows women how to accentuate their eyes by playing up their brows. "Brows are extended slightly and shaped to provide a pleasing and artistic frame for the liquid orbs," the narrator says. Adding eyeshadow completes the look. Also, if you have to wear glasses, make sure they're as unobtrusive as possible—and make sure to accentuate your mouth to distract from them. "Girls," the narrator finishes, "it's up to you."

4. "A Vintage Guide to Glamour" (circa 1940)

A woman named Mary is chatting with her girlfriends about glamour. "In order for glamour to be effective, everything else must be right," she says. "Glamour, and poise and charm too, are all based on good grooming." Mary's job, apparently, is to go to school auditoriums and lecture young ladies about their looks. At the school, she tells the students, "The way we look exerts so much influence on the way we feel, and on the way other people feel about us, that it really is very important," then compares clothes, hairstyles, and makeup to the icing on the cake. "If the icing is very good, well that's fine," she says, "but if the cake itself isn't good, you'll soon lose interest in the icing." A daily bath is the groundwork on glamour, as is brushing your teeth and using deodorant. Eat a balanced diet (go easy on fried foods!) and get a good night's sleep, at least 8 or 9 hours: "I've seen lots of sparkling eyes and good complexions sacrificed to swing records at bedtime ... there is a lot of sense in that old expression, 'beauty sleep.'"

5. "How to Apply Makeup" (circa 1940s)

Mary is back in what is presumably the second part of this tutorial, and now, she wants to talk about makeup. It starts with a good base, which you can get with "a makeup pat or vanishing cream." Apply the makeup pat sparingly all over your face with a damp sponge or a piece of cotton, and blend with your fingertips. But if you're using vanishing cream, "a light touch is equally important. ... Spread it evenly, clear up to the hairline." Use the tri-dot system to apply rouge; one dot goes under the pupil of the eye, one on the cheekbone and the third no lower than the tip of the nose. Fill in the triangle until the rouge disappears. "Nothing dates you more than rouge that shows," the narrator says. Next, the lips: Use two strokes on the upper lip and one long stroke on the lower. "Fill in with up and down strokes, so that the lipstick goes with the grain of the skin," the narrator advises. Put on powder and make sure the makeup goes all the way around the side because "lots of people will see you in profile." And make sure your makeup harmonizes with the rest of your outfit, from your fingernails to your dress.

6. "Making Your Face Appear Oval" (circa 1940s)

There are many ways—good and bad—to try to make your face appear to be more oval-shaped, according to Mary. If you have a round face, for example, a feathercut hairdo "wouldn't be too bad ... if kept in hand, but an overgrown feathercut gives too much hair at the sides and forehead, and adds to the effect of roundness." Don't wear too much lipstick—Mary stresses quality over quantity—or a neckline that's too high, which shortens the neck and make the face appear rounder. But a hairdo that's off the forehead and flat against the temples, with lipstick that follows the natural lipline, and a V-neck shirt or dress, all enhance the illusion of ovalness.

7. "Removing Makeup" (circa 1940s)

Mary's back, now to tell us how to remove makeup! "Don't just slide a washcloth around and call your face clean," she says. The proper way to do it is to pin your hair back and cover it with a hand towel, then apply cold cream, using gentle spiral motions, "clear up to the hairline, and down under the jaw. Give extra attention to the pocket at the base of the nose and cleft of the chin." Remove it with tissues, making sure to switch to a clean side with each swipe, "so you don't track the grime right back again." Then wash your face, and apply either skin freshener (if your face is oily) or skin cream (if your face is dry). I can't be entirely sure, but based on the way Ponds tissues and other products have repeatedly popped up in all three of these tutorials, it seems safe to say that they were probably created by Ponds.

8. Correct Ways to Apply Makeup (1960)

This short and sweet film covers how to apply base ("dab it on in spots, then smooth it in"), rouge ("should be applied in three dots high on the cheekbones, near the eyes"), and eyeshadow ("should be stippled on to the corners of the eye")—all in moderation, of course. "Powder is the only thing to be used lavishly," the narrator advises. "Let it stay on for about five seconds, then smooth it out." Then apply mascara in two thin coats (not one thick one!), and lipstick with a brush.

9. "Go Easy" (1969)

"Go easy, or the results can become ludicrous," narrator Marla Craig intones. "Take advantage of what's there. Accentuate the good points, and minimize the others." Craig outlines the basics of applying base, and notes that cosmeticians can help a woman pick out makeup that's right for her. "If you have disturbed skin, medicated makeups are available," Craig says. To cover up dark circles, use a foundation that's two or three times lighter than the base, or a highlighting cream. Apply blush "to give cheeks a quiet glow. A good rule to follow is never let blush come nearer the nose than an imaginary line dropped vertically from the center of the eye." Apply translucent powder with a disposable cotton puff to set and blend your makeup. Eyebrows draw attention to the eye and also help to shape the nose. "To remove straggly brows," Craig advises, "lubricate them with Vaseline or baby oil and pluck with tweezers." Also: Never pluck above your brow! When applying eyeliner, make sure you're putting it as close to the lashes as possible—"there should be no obvious hard line"—and only use black if you have very black hair, because "black adds harshness to the eye."

Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

Original image
Here's How to Change Your Name on Facebook
Original image

Whether you want to change your legal name, adopt a new nickname, or simply reinvent your online persona, it's helpful to know the process of resetting your name on Facebook. The social media site isn't a fan of fake accounts, and as a result changing your name is a little more complicated than updating your profile picture or relationship status. Luckily, Daily Dot laid out the steps.

Start by going to the blue bar at the top of the page in desktop view and clicking the down arrow to the far right. From here, go to Settings. This should take you to the General Account Settings page. Find your name as it appears on your profile and click the Edit link to the right of it. Now, you can input your preferred first and last name, and if you’d like, your middle name.

The steps are similar in Facebook mobile. To find Settings, tap the More option in the bottom right corner. Go to Account Settings, then General, then hit your name to change it.

Whatever you type should adhere to Facebook's guidelines, which prohibit symbols, numbers, unusual capitalization, and honorifics like Mr., Ms., and Dr. Before landing on a name, make sure you’re ready to commit to it: Facebook won’t let you update it again for 60 days. If you aren’t happy with these restrictions, adding a secondary name or a name pronunciation might better suit your needs. You can do this by going to the Details About You heading under the About page of your profile.

[h/t Daily Dot]