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 Lemons, in order to correct the bad smell.”

Abdeker: Or, the Art of Preserving Beauty, 1756.


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, in a glazed pipkin, three ounces of very fine white wax, and the same quantity of fresh clean mutton suet… Melt this by a slow fire, and perfume it when taken off, with forty drops of oil of rhodium, or of lavender.”

Mackenzie’s Five Thousand Receipts, 1829

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 bole, or other harmless colouring substance. In this way, any portion that may remain unrinsed off is rendered less conspicuous.”

Instructions and Cautions Respecting the Selection and Use of Perfumes, Cosmetics and Other Toilet Articles, by Arnold James Cooley, 1873, p. 512

Red-colored tooth powders show up much earlier, throughout the 1700s and 1800s, but this is the only primary source I’ve been able to find that explains why.

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 can be used without prejudice.” (Habits of Good Society, 1859)

“Let then the ladies observe the following rules: In the morning use pure water as a prepatory ablution; after which they must abstain from all sudden gusts of passion, particularly envy, as that gives the skin a sallow paleness… Instead of rouge, let them use moderate exercise, which will raise a natural bloom in their cheek inimitable by art… breathing the morning air at sunrise will give their lips a vermilion hue… (“Toilette of Ladies” The New England Farmer, and Horticultural Register, 1832)