"...morning visits are
never fair by women at her time of life, who make themselves up so little.
If only she would wear a little rouge, she would not be afraid of being
Sir Walter Elliot on Lady
While "painting" was frowned on by most of society (though only
in public of course, the elaborate powderings of the last century still
being used by many of the older generation) girls in Regency times were, by
no means, unconcerned about their complexions, as these excerpts from period
An anonymous book entitled "The Art of Beauty of the Best Methods of
Improving and Preserving the Shape, Carriage and Complexion, Together with
the Theory of Beauty", explains that ‘the colour of lips, the rich, fresh
ruby tint, so highly praised by poets, painters and lovers depends chiefly
on health.' Excellent in principle, the author has an interesting scheme for
achieving this object: the recommended regime for a young lady bans all
fruit, vegetables and fish from her diet as well as pastries, cream and
cheese. After getting up at 6:00 in the morning, and going for a brisk walk
of a least three miles she is told to eat steak and ale for breakfast.
Though a ‘fresh and handsome girl is advised to leave well enough alone',
the author states that when ‘an antique and venerable dowager covers her
brown and shriveled skin with a thick layer of white paint, heightened with
a tint of vermilion, we are sincerely thankful to her.’"
- "[the juice from green pineapples] takes away wrinkles and gives the
complexion an air of youth. If pineapples are not available, onion will
do just as well.
- Another sovereign beautifier of the complexion is pimpernel water
and yet another refresher can be made by mixing 1 lb. of rye
breadcrumbs, hot from the oven, with the whites of four eggs and a pint
of white vinegar, the whole to be used as a face mask.
- Powdered parsley seed is believed to prevent baldness and slices of
cucumber are recommended for tired eyes.
- Ripe elderberries can be used to blacken the eyebrows and a mixture
of Brazilwood shaving and rock alum, pounded and boiled in red wine,
will produce an adequate liquid rouge; grated horseradish immersed in
sour milk would get rid of sunburn or freckles ‘though we confess to
the eccentricity of liking a little dash of sunburn, of a sprinkling of
nice, little delicate freckles on the brow of beauty’."
In her book "An Elegant Madness",
Venetia Murray tells how "Powders, paints, wash-balls, rouges and pomades
were made from everything from almonds to violets. Among the more charming
names of contemporary cosmetics were ‘Royal Tincture of Peach Kernels’,
‘Carnation of Lilies’, ‘Liquid Bloom of Roses’ and ‘Powder of
Pearl of India’. Pomatum for the hair included ‘Pomade de Nerole’ and
‘Pomade de Graffa’, while ‘Olympia Dew’ was the favorite eye lotion,
guaranteed to produce a seductive sparkle."