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Joan Crawford was born in the early 1900s, but her star still shines brightly. As one of the most magnetic and inspiring Old Hollywood actors, Crawford not only appeared in films for over 50 years, but she also created a persona that was both mysterious and outrageous. Her beauty was undeniable, and her expressive eyes made waves in the industry. To this day, fans are invested in the way the Mommie Dearest star curated her image. A few of Joan Crawford’s celebrity beauty secrets, including using an oily condiment as a hair moisturizer, are particularly eyebrow-raising.

She’s one of the most iconic stars of Old Hollywood

Joan Crawford's beauty
Joan Crawford circa 1940 | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Joan Crawford began acting in the 1920s, but not until the following decade did her star really start to rise in Hollywood. According to IMDb, Crawford gained a reputation as an actor who shined in rags-to-riches roles — parts that required her to play a tough, no-nonsense woman who knew what she wanted and went after it. Over the years, Crawford appeared in acclaimed movies such as Mildred Pierce, Mannequin, Torch Song, and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Even as she was becoming a big name in Hollywood, her unique looks inspired women worldwide. Crawford was known for her signature eyebrows, high cheekbones, and glorious crown of hair. 

Joan Crawford took her beauty routine seriously

Crawford’s hair was an important part of her appearance and a contributing factor in her ascendance as a beauty and pop culture icon. She always took the time to ensure her tresses were properly cared for, especially under the harsh studio lights. Crawford frequently discussed her hair, noting, “I think that the most important thing a woman can have — next to talent, of course — is her hairdresser,” according to Goodreads.

Crawford even released a book in 1971, My Way of Life, detailing her beauty secrets. In the book, she talked about how she moisturized her hair naturally, using mayonnaise as a mask to restore shine and bounce to her mane. The actor also stressed that one should never leave the house with bad hair. According to Town & Country, Crawford wrote, “Don’t buy a dress until you can afford all the right accessories, and if, like me, you can’t spend your life in hair curlers, have a hat made to match.”

Joan Crawford shared a few of her most outrageous beauty secrets


Joan Crawford and Bette Davis Fought Over a Man on the Set of ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’

Mayonnaise wasn’t even Crawford’s strangest beauty secret. The star was known for splashing her face with ice water every time she washed it, allegedly as a way to open her pores and give her a livelier appearance. She then added gobs of face cream to safeguard against lines and wrinkles. 

Another bizarre beauty routine was chewing lots of gum, which she reportedly believed would prevent her jawline from sagging. And because her eyes were one of her most prominent features, she often cleaned them with a boric-acid solution. Those beauty regimens might seem odd today, but the star’s dedication to her looks helped make Joan Crawford the icon she remains 45 years after her death.