Rouge by mistake (1833)

“The jewellers afterwards polish them [tortise-shell combs] by rubbing them with dry rouge powder; but sifted magnesia does just as well– and if the ladies had rouge, perhaps they would, by mistake, put it upon their cheeks, instead of their combs; and thereby spoil their complexions.” The American Frugal Housewife, 1833

Why tooth powders are often colored red (1873)

“To remove the defect of being apt to accumulate between the folds of the gums and in the cracks and interstices of the teeth, charged against the white powders by those who use them carelessly, a reddish or flesh-coloured tinge is commonly given them by the addition of a little rouge, red coral, rose-pink, Armenian […]

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)

Cosmetics for Clean Living (1800s)

A selection of quotes advocating natural, unaided beauty: “Let every woman be content to leave her eyes as she found them…” (Mirror of the Graces, 1811) “The greatest charm of beauty is in the expression of a lovely face…” (Arts of Beauty, 1858) “fresh air and pure water… are the best and only cosmetics that […]

Mouth Pastils for Smokers (1873)

Take of Fresh-roasted coffee (in fine powder) …. 1 1/2 ounce Chocolate (do.) …. 1 1/2 ounce White sugar (do.) …. 1 1/2 ounce Vanilla (do.) …. 1 ounce Charcoal (recent; do.) …. 1 ounce Mucilage of tragacanth (to mix) …. q.s. The preceding, sucked ad libitum, are used to sweeten and perfume the breath; the last also acts […]

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 […]

What do your eyebrows indicate? (1899)

Very black eyebrows give the face an intense and searching expression; when natural they accompany a passionate temperament. Very light eyebrows rarely are seen on strongly intellectual faces, although the color of the eyebrow is not accepted singly as denoting lack of intelligence; the form gives the key to the faculties and their direction. Red […]