A Snail-Pomatum (1756)

“Take as many Snails as you please, and beat them in a Mortar with a sufficient Quantity of the Oil of Sweet Almonds. Strain by Expression, and add an Ounce of Virgin-Wax for every four Ounces of Oil. Wash the Whole in the Water of Frog’s-Spawn, and add a few Drops of the Essence of …

To remove Superfluous Hair (1857)

“This is very difficult… Madame Elisi Voiart, in her ‘Encyclopedie des Dames,’ recommends a few drops of dulcified spirit of salt, (that is, muriatic acid distilled with rectified spirits of wine,) to be applied with a camel hair pencil.” Receipts for the Million, 1857 (muriatic acid = hydrochloric acid)

An excellent white Paint for the Face (1756)

“Take of the white Part of Hartshorn a Pound, of the Flour of Rice two Pounds, of White Lead half a Pound, of Cuttle Fish Bone two Ounces, Frankincense, Mastich, Gum Arabic, of each an Ounce; dilute the Whole in a sufficient Quantity of Rose-Water. Wash the Face therewith.” Abdeker: Or, the Art of Preserving …

A Method to make the Teeth beautifully white (1772)

“Take Rose-water, Syrup of Violets, clarified Honey, and Plantain-water, of each half an ounce; Spirit of Vitriol one ounce; mix them all together; rub the teeth with a linen rag moistened in this Liquor, and then rince the mouth with Rose and Plantain Water, of each equal parts.” The Toilet of Flora, 1772

Enamel Powder (1873)

Take of Talc or French chalk (finely scraped) Pearl-white [equal parts] Rouge or carmine (to slightly tinge it) [q.s.] mix. Used to conceal discolourations; and, without the colouring, to whiten the skin. Instructions and Cautions Respecting the Selection and Use of Perfumes, Cosmetics and Other Toilet Articles, by Arnold James Cooley, 1873 This almost isn’t …

Skin Whitening: Discovered!

It is well known that this oxide [bismuth], under the name of pearl white, is used as a cosmetic by those of the fair sex who wish to become fairer. A lady thus painted was sitting in a lecture room, where chemistry being the subject, water being impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen gas (Harrowgate water) was …

A fluid to die the Hair of a flaxen Colour

Take a quart of Lye prepared from the Ashes of Vine-twigs; Briony, Celandine Roots, and Turmeric, of each half an ounce, Saffron and Lilly Roots, of each two drachms; Flowers of Mullein, Yellow Steebas, Broom, and St. John’s wort, of each a drachm; boil these ingredients together, and strain off the Liquor clear. Frequently wash the …