Carole Lombard's idea of beautiful hands, 1935

Being as how Carole Lombard has just finished a picture called "Hands across the table" in which she plays the part of a manicurist; and whereas Carole's hands are among the loveliest in the colony, it seemed like a good idea to get her to give you some tips for fingertips.

Carole was perfectly willing to oblige. The only trouble is that the Lombard girl can't be pinned down to one subject for more than a minute at a time. She has a gay and restless mind which flits thither and yon and back again while a duller witted person is still mulling over one subject. So it appears we can begin with Carole's ideas on hands and manicures, but we'll have to branch out from there.

Carole loves to do her own nails. Experimenting with polishes fascinates her. While being interviewed in her dressing room she occupies herself trying an assorted shades of red and rose nail polish as she talks. No matter how much she experiments, however, she invariably comes back to deep red enamel and settles upon that. Her hands are very white and she likes the contrast in colors. She has long, slim fingers and narrow nails. "If the nails are shaped to a rounded point and worn rather long," says Carole, " and nailpolish is put on over the whole surface from tip to cuticle, except for a tiny streak at the base, they will look longer and more delicately almond shaped. The little strip left unpolished is healthier for the nail. It is supposed to provide a sort of breathening space. It is also less irritating to the cuticle to keep polish a bit back from it."

Some kind of oil applied regularly to the cuticle is necessary to keep it in good condition, she added. There are several excellent new products designed for the purpose.

Wise Carole knows that beautiful hands are beautiful as is. Loading down with jewelry only detracts. Last night I went to a dinner attended by a number of prominent and wealthy clubwomen. It was amazing how many of them wore rings on two fingers of the same hand. Such bad taste! Neither rings nor hands show to the best advantage. Carole never wears more than one ring at a time and often she doesn't wear any. Her favorite is a huge star sapphire in a simple setting. I don't blame her. If I had a stone like that it wouldn't have any rivals for my affection, either. How she keeps the skin of her hands so soft and smooth is as difficult to write a recipe for as is her complexion. Her dressing table, both at home and at the studio, displays fewer jars and bottles of creams and ointments than you would believe. Carole uses liberal portions of soap and water and she pretty well soaks herself with a fine oil scented with gardenia. She's crazy about this Gardenia oil and she's always presenting bottles of it to people she likes. The rest is health, according to Carole.

"I've noticed," says Carole, "that important players hold their places as long as they hold their health. Few of them lose ground professionally until they become lazy, about keeping their figures and their pep. It's the same everywhere. As long as you have health and vigor you have two of the most essential attributes for succes." And beauty, pipes up Gracie.

Carole takes regular exercise and massage in the studio gymnasium. Jim Davies, the trainer there, says she has the most perfect figure in Hollywood. She weights about 118 pounds, has 34-inch hips and a 23-inch waist. He declares that those very pleasant dimensions are the result of correct eating, proper sleep and exercise. Carole plays a sturdy variety of tennis. She takes regular lessons in the game from a former champion who also instructs Marion Davies. Although she doesn't exactly diet, the pride of Paramount is careful. She doesn't eat anything in the middle of the day, contenting herself with well balanced meals at either end. She will go to her dressing room for the noon hour rest, drink a big glass of tomato juice or orange juice standing up, and then lie down to sleep until she is called back to the set.

Carole goes to bed early most nights, too. She used to be Hollywood's most indefatigable party girl. But no more. There may be some connection between the change of heart and the circumstance that she never looked so well in her life as she does today. After every picture is finished the lady goes to a quiet resort to recuperate. Arrowhead Hot Springs in San Bernardino mountains is a favorite. There she cuts off herself completely from jangling telephones and suitors who bear gifts of orchids and bids to the Trocadero.

Fair skinned as are all natural blondes, Carole uses light naturelle powder. She never puts spots of rouge on her cheeks, but sometimes when she is feeling particularly glowing inside and wants a face to match her spirits, she lightly rouges her entire face and then dusts a thin film of powder over it. She is famous for the highlighted effect she gets with her evening make-up.

This is the way she does it: A liquid powder base is patted evenly all over her face and allowed to dry. Then more of it is dabbed on the bridge of her nose, on her cheek bones and on the sides of her forehead directly over her cheek bones. Plenty of powder is then patted on and all the surplus brushed off. The procedure brings out the strong modeling of her features.

Here's a girl who believes in emphazising any possible defect in her features, a courageous behaviour which sometimes makes an asset of the very fault. Thus does she always stress her prominent forehead. Her hair is swept back from her face and she lets her firm chin balance that high, rounded brow. Disliking permanent waves very much, Carole has her hair set in a finger wave. Before it's quite dry she tousles it by running her fingers through it. Then when she combs it out the effect is a soft, loose curl. The only time an iron ever touches it is ocassionally on the set, when the hairdresser restrains the ends a little. And then the iron is only warm. Carole's hair is only dry cleaned every working day. She uses one of these petroleum base quick drying shampoos. It appears to me that a major part of Carole Lombard's charm is a studied carelessness. This in spite of the fact that she frequently has been called the best dressed woman in Hollywood. She doesn't care for the title, by the way.

And didn't I warn you we'd never be able to stick to manicures?

Written by Grace Grandville for the Milwaukee Journal - Dec 1, 1935


  1. Love the post! Carole was well before her time! Less IS more. I love the idea that she highlights "flaws". I never could fall in line with my make up teacher on hiding "flaws". That is what makes each woman beautiful and unique!

    1. Less is indeed more. Being decorated with tons of jewellery only looks good on Mae West haha!

  2. This was a really engaging, lovely 1930s article. I was struck by the fact that I too, like Carole, sometimes intentionally wear dark or very saturated polishes because I love the contrast between them and my fair skin.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Yes I love to do that, too! A very deep red on my very pale skin. I love it!

  3. Just came across this article and would like to reprint it -- giving you credit, of course -- at the Lombard site I've run since 2007, Carole & Co. Please get back to me ASAP at


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