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 …

Rose Lip Salve (1829)

“Put eight ounces of the best olive oil into a widemouthed bottle, add two ounces of the small parts of alkanet-root. Stop up the bottle, and set it in the sun; shake it often, until it be of a beautiful crimson. Now strain the oil off very clear from the roots, and add to it, …

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

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 Liquid Rouge that exactly imitates Nature (1772)

“Take a pint of good Brandy, and infuse therein half an ounce of Gum Benjamin, an ounce of Red Sanders, and half an ounce of Brazil Wood, both in coarse powder, with half an ounce of Roch Alum. Cork the bottle tight, shake it well every day, and at the expiration of twelve days the …

Varnish for the Face (1756)

“Put into a Bottle twelve Ounces of Brandy, an Ounce of Sandarach, and half an Ounce of Benjamin. Shake the Bottle often, and afterwards let it settle. When you use it, wash your Face before-hand, and it will give it the handsomest Lustre imaginable.” Abdeker: Or, the Art of Preserving Beauty, by Antoin Le Camus, …

Oil of Pearls (1756)

“Put upon a Plate any Quantity you please of Pearls, and pour over them some good distill’d Vinegar. When the Pearls are dissolved, add a small Quantity of Gum Arabic. Keep the Solution for Use. Wash your Face before you bathe it with this Solution, which will soon dry of itself. This is one of …

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 …