Saturday, September 1, 2012

Daily Life 1770-1830 - Cosmetics

Madame de Pompadour at Her Toilette, 1758
Women's cosmetics were not worn as wildly as some portray them, however, many of them could, and did, kill the women who wore them. The penchant of the time, as you can see above, was for pale complexions, rosy cheeks and rosebud lips.Anything to affect the look of youth. Earlier in the century, women powdered their hair, but as the century wore on, taxes and changing styles made this rare. Beauty marks in various shapes were worn to accentuate the features, and were said to have meanings at court (the wearer was married, taken, etc...) depending on where they were worn. Also, late in the century, makeup, hair, and dress became more and more natural, partly because of the changing social and fashion climate caused by the French Revolution. Though I feel I must say, contrary to what some believe, the wild hairstyles and outrageous outfits were not worn on a daily basis, and some women would go their entire lives without gluing mouse fur to her eyebrows. :D Below I have some fun recipes as well as some pictures you might find interesting.

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

To make Lip Salve

TAKE half a pound of hog's lard, put it into a pan with one ounce and a half of virgin wax; let it stand on a slow fire till it is melted, then take a small tin pot and fill it with water, and put therein some alkanet root; let it boil till it is of a fine red colour; then strain some of it and mix it with the ingredients according to your fancy, and scent it with essence of lemon, pour it into small boxes, and smooth the top with your finger.
N.B. You may pour a little out first to see if it is of a proper colour to your fancy.
Alkanet root is a colorant for making the salve red.

The Toilet of Flora
By Flora 1779

 A Rouge for the Face

Cosmetics box - National Palace Museum, Taipei
Take Brazil Wood Shavings, and Roch Alum, beat them together into a coarse powder, and boil in a sufficient quantity of Red Wine, till two thirds of the Liquor are consumed. When this decoction has stood till cold, rub a little on the cheeks with a bit of cotton.

 Brazil wood is still used as a dye. Rock Alum is used as a deodorant, depilatory, and skin whitener, among other things.

Orange water

 Take four pounds of unpicked Orange Flowers, bruise them in a marble mortar, and pour on them nine quarts of cleat Water. Distil in a cold still, and draw off five or fix quarts, which will be exquisitely fragrant. If you are desirous of having it still higher flavoured, draw off at first full seven quarts, unlute the still, and throw away the residuum; empty back the water already distilled, and add to it two pounds of fresh Orange Flowers, bruised. Again luting the still repeat the distillation and draw of five or fix quarts. Then stop, being careful not to draw off too much water lest the Flowers should become dry and burn to.

From how I understand it, luting is where you use a flour and water paste to seal the joints of the still.  Orange water was highly popular, so this sort of recipe would be made often.

You might want to try making one or two of the recipes I put up. If you try, please let me know how it goes in the comments. I'm pretty busy with my move right now, so I can't try any of these on youtube, but rest assured, I'm making mental notes and when I start posting them, I'll post them here first.

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