Long and Black Hair (1658)

Take a green Lizard, and cutting off the Head and Tail, boyl it in common Oyl, and anoynt your Head with it.

Natural Magick: How to adorn Women, and make them Beautiful by John Baptista Porta, 1658

Do not do this.


To help a face that is red or pimpled

woman 1600s

1600s woodcut

Dissolve common salt in the juyce of Lemmons and with a linnen cloth pat the patients face that is full of heat or pimples It cureth in a few dressings.

Delights for Ladies, 1632

All I can say is… ouch!

To Perfume Gloves (1615)

Portrait_of_woman_with_gloves Frans Hals c.1650

Portrait of a Woman with Goves, Frans Hals c. 1650

To perfume gloves excellently, take oil of sweet almonds, oil of nutmegs, oil of benjamin, of each a dram, of ambergris one grain, fat musk two grains: mix them altogether and grind them upon a painter’s stone, and then anoint the gloves therewith: yet before you anoint them let them be dampishly moistened with damask rose-water.

The English Housewife by Gervase Markham, 1615

Perfumed gloves were very popular in the 17th, 18th, and into the 19th centuries.  Recipes for perfuming them abound (and so do writers complaining of over-perfumed gloves!). Many include expensive ingredients like this one: ambergris and musk were expensive then, and today as well– if you can even find them! The other ingredients shouldn’t be hard to find; “benjamin” is an older term for benzoin gum, and nutmeg oil can either be essential oil of nutmegs,  or you can steep nutmegs in some other oil.