I have taken a look at cosmetics previously in a series of blogs, but couldn’t resist sharing some of these beauty recipes with you that I came across in ‘The Toilet of Flora’, although its title is not strictly accurate, as it contains far more than just flora.
A beauty regime was just as important in the 18th century as it is today, so let’s start at the head and work downwards, although I’m not quite sure if the first two were meant specifically for women of the time or not, although arguably they would work for either gender.
Receipt to thicken the hair and make it grow on a bald part
Take the roots of maiden vine, roots of hemp and cores of soft cabbages, of each two handfuls’ dry and burn them; afterward make a lye with the ashes. The head is to be washed with this lye three days successively, the part having been previously well rubbed with honey.
A powder to prevent baldness
Powder your head with powdered parsley seeds at night, once in three or four months, and the hair will never fall off.
Next, for those ladies of ‘a certain age’ who want to turn back time without the aid of cosmetic procedures! We haven’t tried them … yet … but if they work we’ll be sure to let you know.
A Pomatum for Wrinkles
Take juice of white lily roots and fine honey, of each two ounces; melted white wax, an ounce; incorporate the whole together, and make a pomatum. It should be applied every night, and not be wiped off till the next morning.
A secret to take away wrinkles
Heat an iron shovel red hot, throw on it some Powder of Myrrh and receive the smoke on your face, covering the head with a napkin to prevent its being dissipated. Repeat this operation three times, then heat the shovel again, and when fiery hot pour on it a mouthful of white wine. Receive the vapours of the wine also on your face, and repeat it three times. Continue this method every night and morning as long as you find occasion.
Good luck with this next one! We won’t be testing it out it for you!
A pomatum to remove redness or pimples in the face
Steep in clear water a pound of boar’s cheek till it becomes tolerably white. Drain it quite dry and put it into a new-glazed earthen pan with two or three Pippins, quartered. An ounce and a half of the four cold seeds bruised and a slice of veal about the size of the palm of one’s hand. Boil the whole together in a vapour-bath for four hours, then with a strong cloth squeeze out your pomatum into an earthen dish placed upon hot ashes: adding to it an ounce of white wax and an ounce of Oil of Sweet Almonds. Stir the pomatum well with a spatula till it becomes cold.
Why pay for those expensive teeth whitening kits when you could use this method? Sadly, this recipe fails to explain how you actually use the product.
A method to make the teeth beautifully white
Take gum tragacanth, one ounce; pumice stone two drachms; Gum Arabic, half an ounce; and Crystals of Tartar, finely powdered, and adding to it the powder, form the whole into little sticks, which are to be dried slowly in the shade, and afterwards kept for use.
We are always being advised to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun, clearly those Georgians were ahead of us with this idea and to assist they devised this product.
A preservative from tanning
Infuse in clean water for three days, a pound of Lupines, then take them out and boil them in a copper vessel with five quarts of fresh water. When the Lupines are boiled tender and the water grows rather ‘sopy’, press out the liquor and keep it for use. Whenever you are under a necessity of exposing yourself to the sun wash the face and neck with this preparation.
So, if you’ve exposed yourself to too much sun and wish to get rid of the tan you could try this method –
An excellent receipt to clear a tanned complexion
At night going to rest, bathe the face with the juice of strawberries and let it lie on the part all night and in the morning wash yourself with chervil water. The skin will soon become fair and smooth.
A liniment to promote the growth and regeneration of the nails, given that this recipe contains arsenic we would strongly advise against it.
Take two drachms of Orpiment, a drachm of Manna, the same quantity of Aloes and Frankincense and six drachms of white wax. Make them into a liniment and apply to the part with a thumb stall.
Next we move to the feet for a cure for sweaty feet, but it does seem like a waste of good wine and finally a corn treatment.
A remedy for moist feet
Take twenty pounds of Lee made of the ashes of the Bay tree, three handfuls of Bay leaves, a handful of Sweet Flag, with the same quantity of Calamus Aromaticus and Dittany of Crete; boil the whole together for some time, then strain off the liquor and add two quarts of wine. Steep your feet in this bath an hour every day, and in a short time they will no longer exhale a disagreeable smell.
Why pay for corn removal treatments when you could try this method – onions/garlic – who knew?
A remedy for corns on the feet
Roast a clove of garlic or an onion, on a live coal or in hot ashes; apply it to the corn and fasten it on with a piece of cloth. This softens the corn to such a degree as to loosen and wholly remove it in two or three days. Foment the corn every other night in warm water, after which renew the application.
The Toilet of Flora by Pierre-Joseph Buc’hoz. 1779