Saturday, August 25, 2012

Daily Life 1770-1830 - Bathing and personal care products

I thought it would be fun to have a daily life post. Now, I'm sure some of you have noticed my posts have slacked from once a day to once in while. Sorry about that. I'm just not able to keep up with such a rigid blogging schedule with my little ones, moving, and writing. So I thought it would be nice to do a once or twice a week schedule.
Here's the plan. I'm going to post one painting or drawing a week about daily life in the late Georgian/Regency era's I write in, and speak on a topic it suggests. Any other posts are gravy. :-)

Bathing and personal care products

The Morning Toilet. Boudoir Scene

A lady's toilet was not a private affair. At the least she had a maid or other woman in the room to assist her into her clothing. The toilet could take hours. I found some fun recipes for beauty care products from a wonderfully humble book.

The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the Kind Yet Published.
 By Hannah Glasse 1784

An approved Method practiced by Mrs Duiely, the Queen's Tyre Woman, to preserve Hair and make it grow thick

TAKE one quart of white wine, put in one handful of rosemary flowers, half a pound of honey, distil them together; then add a quarter of a pint of oil of sweet almonds, shake it very well together, put a little of it into a cup, warm it blood warm, rub it well on your head, and comb it dry.
A number of these recipes I could make. (And I doubt they will kill me.) I may try making this one on my youtube channel. I love the term blood warm too. Very nice.

Liquid for the Hair

Two Shillings a Quarter of a Pint
TO three quarts of sweet oil, put a quarter of a pound of alkanet root, cut in small pieces let it be boiled sometime a steam, add thereto three ounces of oil of Jessamine, and one ounce of oil of lavender; strain it through a coarse cloth, but do not squeeze it.
 I love that she included 1784 pricing for some items. This appears to be a scented dye. Alkanet root is used to color hair dye, lip balm, etc, and jessamine is a climbing vine.

A Stick or Composition to take Hair out by the Roots

TAKE two ounces and a half of rosin, and one ounce of bees wax, melt them together and make them into sticks for use.
 Unfortunately no use instructions, so I assume they were used in a way similar to waxing your legs in 2012.

To make White Lip Salve and for chapped Hands and Face

Six Shillings and Three pence per Pot
MELT some spermaceti in sweet oil, add thereto a small bit of white wax; when it is melted, put in a small quantity of white sugar candy, and stir it well therein; then pour it into pots for use

To make Shaving Oil

One Shilling per Bottle
DISSOLVE a quantity of oil soap; cut into thin dices in spirits of wine, let it stand a week, then put in as much soft soap till the liquor becomes of a clammy substance, scent as you please, and bottle it for use. 

Wash for the Face

TAKE one quart of milk, a quarter of a pound of saltpetre beaten to a powder; put in two pennyworth of oil of anise-seed, one pennyworth of oil of cloves, about four thimble fulls of the best white wine vinegar, put it into a bottle; let it stand in sand half way up, in the sun, or in some place for a fortnight without the cork; afterwards cork and seal it up.
Saltpeter is a  skin irritant, but it won't kill you.

Hope you found these recipes interesting and helpful whether you read, write, or just love history/historical romance novels.

Next week, cosmetics.


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