Water of the Fountain of Youth (1756)

18th century engraving of a mermaid (a symbol of vanity)

Take an Ounce of Sulphur Vivum, two Ounces of Olibanum and Myrrh, six Drams of Amber, and a Pound of Rose-Water.  Distill the Whole in a Sand-Heat. Wash your Face with this Water going to Bed, in the Morning following wash it with Barley-Water, and it will look much younger.  Some say that Pine-Apples produce the same Effect, and likewise take away Wrinkles. It is also said that the distill’d Waters of the Juice of Lemons, of the Whites of Eggs, of Snails, and of Asses Milk distill’d with Egg-shells, are good for the same Purpose.

Abdeker: or, the art of preserving beauty, by Antoine Le Camus, 1756

Here is a whole list of potentially age-defying preparations. (And, my cynical side says, if any of them really worked, none of us would look old. But hope springs eternal.)

Sulphur Vivum means naturally occurring sulphur. Olibanum is frankincense, or a similar resin (some sources use the terms interchangeably, but others use them to refer to two different, though similar, species).

Good luck with the snails.

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