Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Making Another kind of rouge

The updated recipe
50 ml Red wine
1 gram Brazil wood
1 gram Alum crystal

As this recipe has no measurements whatsoever, I started out with the smallest quality possible for me. The preparations were very simple. The Brazil wood and Alum were briefly grounded in a mortle and then I boiled it with the red wine. As it was such a small quantity the wine cooked down more quickly than I had anticipated, so instead of reducing it with 1/3, it got reduced to ½.

Brazil wood

Monday, August 13, 2012

Making a curious Varnish for the Face

I will begin with saying that this was the most surprising of all the recipes I have tried so far as it didn’t behave at all as I thought.

The updated recipe
Brandy (cheapest brand possible) 44ml
Sandarac 2 gram
Benzoin resin 1 gram

This is something of a famous first. No need to substitute any of the ingredients and the original recipe has measurements for everything. So it was very simple to just pare it down to a suitable test sample. I grounded the resins before pouring it into the brandy. I used a small jar with a lid. After that I just shook it every time I passed it until a week had passed.

Both Sandarac and Benzoin are soluble in alcohol, but though I can’t find any information on how strong the alcohol should be for the Sandarac, Benzoin is generally recommended to be dissolved in 80% alcohol, dissolving even easier if you warm it a little. Brandy is about 40% and this recipe says nothing about warming the solution either. The Swedish pharmacopeia of 1775 recommends 50% alcohol in a ratio to 6 parts alcohol to 1 part Benzoin. Let it stand for three days and strain though a paper. (Source) A recipe with both stronger and more alcohol than the recipe I used.

Benzoin resin

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another rouge for the face

The recipe
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 is cold, rub a little on the cheeks with a bit of cotton. (The Toilet of Flora, p. 193)

Breaking down the recipe
Brazilwood Warm red pigment coming from wood of Caesalpina brasiliensis. Safe, but the tree is considered an endangered species. Substitute with Red sandalwood.

Alum There are several kinds, but here it is most certainly Potassium alum in crystal form. It has been, and is still, used in cosmetics as it works as an astringent, a preservative and is antibacterial. In crystal form it can be used on shaving cuts or as a natural deodorant. It has also been used as a skin whitener. As a powder it can be used in cooking and found at the spice section in food stores.

Red wine Alcoholic beverage made from black grapes. Most of the red pigment are plant pigments.

My thoughts
The nice thing with this recipe is that there is no need to substitute any of the ingredients because they are not harmful. The bad thing is that Brazilwood is an endangered species and though you can still obtain it today, it's likely it will soon be banned. I bought a small quantity years ago before I knew that and I wouldn't buy it today, but as I have it, I will make this recipe with it.

A bit annoying is that this is a lovely example of the lack of measurements. However, there is another recipe where you take equal parts of Brazilwood and Alum, so I will do so here. How much of it in ratio to the red wine, well... I will start with small amounts and work my way up, if need be. I am very curious on what red shade it will turn into. Red wine is blue-toned, but Brazilwood leans toward yellow. My assumption is that the blue and red will neutralise each other and give a more neutral red colour.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Oil of Pearls

The Recipe
Put upon a Plate any Quantity you please of Pearls, and pour over them some good distill’d Vinegar. When the Pearls are dissolved, add a small Quantity of Gum Arabic. Keep the solution for Use Wash your face before you bathe it with this Solution, which will soon dry of itself. This is one of the best Secrets that have been invented for rendering the face both white and fair. (Abdeker: or, the art of preserving beauty, p. 76)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Making an Excellent Cosmetic for the Face

Before I start to tell you about my latest experiment I would like to take a moment and say that I hope you enjoy this little blog. I have had a lot of fun these last few months trying out recipes and there are so many that I want to try out! But time and budget has their say, so I will have to continue to hasten slowly. With that said I can add that I will probably branch out a little and venture into the 17th century as well. I have a big interest in that century and I feel that it's sorely underexposed. And, I have found a 17th century recipe for rouge that uses the shell of boiled crayfish as red pigment. How can I resist that.

What is your opinion, dear readers? What would you like to read about? Would you find it interesting if I wrote more about makeup history in general, not just the 18th century? What about hairstyles?Anything else? I would love to hear your what you think! Here i take the opportunity to tell you that if you are interested in the late Victorian and Edwardian, then I can point you in he direction of The Gibson Girls Guide to Glamor for beauty recipes of that era.

I have another thing to ask you as well. If you find my blog worth reading, could you please consider mentioning it on your blogs/Facebook/or similar? Partly, of course, because I love to find new readers (who doesn't?) but also because this blog is very much a learning experience for me. there is a lot of things I don't know or like to hear others opinions on. And the more I learn, the better this blog will be.

Making an excellent Cosmetic for the Face

The updated recipe

Rice powder 23 gram
Titanium dioxide 6 gram
Dolomite 6 gram
Tincture of Frankincense made out of 2 gram resin
Gum Mastic 2 gram
Gum Arabicum 2 gram
Rose water 50 ml