Home » Time Period » 1800s » Enamel Powder (1873)

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 poisonous. However, pearl-white is oxide of bismuth, which isn’t as toxic as lead but still isn’t something you want to be putting on your skin. The same book that gives the recipe goes on to say, “The continued use of either of the above ‘bismuth-whites’ injures the skin, and ultimately produces paralysis of its minute vessels, rendering it yellow and leather-like– an effect which, unfortunately, those who employ it generally attempt to conceal by its freer and more frequent application.”

Darn. Better luck next time!

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