Regency Beauty - Part II

First I should let you know that next Monday I will be driving back from the New Jersey conference, so I will not be here. Expect to see me back on Thursday.

Joanna commented on last day's blog and sent along this picture and comment view of a 1788 Chippendale Shaving Stand. What the drawing doesn't show is that there's a plug in the bottom of the porcelain wash bowl. The water drains into a bucket or chamber pot in the cabinet below. Everything folds down to create an innocuous-looking table. Thank you Joanna, it is indeed a lovely piece of furniture and just the kind of think a mechanically minded male might take a fancy too, don't you think.

More about cosmetics this for both genders.

PEARS TRANSPARENT SOAP.Personal beauty depends so much on the appearance and texture of the skin, that whatever contributes to protect it from injury, or to improve it, must be considered an object of importance to all who are solicitous to possess the advantage, which Lord Chesterfield denominates “a letter of recommendation on all occasions; and certainly the present and future ages must feel themselves indebted to the Inventor of the curious Chemical Process by which Soap is separated from all the impure and noxious substances with which, in its crude state, it is invariably united; this refinement is manifested by its Transparency and Fragrance.Prepared and sold by A. Pears, at his Manufactory, No. 55, Wells-street, Oxford-street, London, price 1s and 1s 6d. per square; and in large squares which are perfumed with the Otto of Roses, for 2s 6d. Also Gentlemen’s Shaving Cakes at 2s 6d—But observe that wheresoever or by whomsoever sold, it never can be genuine without the Inventor’s signature, A. Pears, in his hand-writing. For the accommodation of the nobility and gentry residing in the country, it is likewise sold by Mr. Smith, Perfumer, Dry Bridge, Newark; Mr. Hill, Cheltenham; Mr. Buttler, Perfumer, Oxford; and by most respectable Perfumers in Town and Country.

Note, I am unable to date the picture, but obviously it was well-known during the regency.

English Lavender Water. This light, refreshing potion is perhaps the oldest known and most frequently used lavender product. It was mentioned by Jane Austen in her letters and in her books.

* Use as a facial splash morning and night
* Bathing the forehead and temples with Lavender water will help to overcome fatigue and exhaustion.
* a soothing compress for a tension headache. Sprinkle a few drops on your pillow, just see how it helps you sleep. Fleas, flies, and midges, they hate it, making lavender water a natural insect repellent!

This is a home recipe from the Regency era.

Put two pounds of lavender pips into two quarts of water, put them into a cold still, and make a slow fire under it; distil it off very slowly, and put it into a pot till you have distilled all your water; then clean your still well out, put your lavender water into it, and distil it off slowly again; put it into bottles and cork it well.

Do let me know how it turns out.

Until next Thursday, Happy Rambles.

Regency Beauty

Women today spend a great deal on cosmetics and skin preparations and toiletries, what did they do in the Regency.

One thing we often read is that people did not wash in those days. In the 1806 Belle Assemblee the following was said

The toilette without cleanliness fails of obtaining its object. A careful attention to the person, frequent ablutions, linen always white, which never betrays the inevitable effect of perspiration and of dust; a skin always smooth and brilliant, garments not soiled by any stain, and which might be taken for the garments of a nymph; a shoe which seems never to have touched the ground; this it is that constitutes cleanliness

Ablutions is of course washing. this picture is of an early watercloset. During the Regency period, indoor plumbing was making an appearance particularly for personal hygiene. There were baths being installed and even showers.

The writer of the article also makes a pitch for rouge. It seems that painted faces were the norm rather than not since he says if paint was proscribed, or done away with, he would vote for keeping rouge.

If ever paint were to be proscribed, I should plead for an exception in favour of rouge, which may be rendered extremely innocent, and may be applied with such art as sometimes to give an expression to the figure which it would never have without that auxiliary. The colour of modesty has many charms; and in an age when women blush so little, ought we not to value this innocent artifice, which is capable at least of exhibiting to us the picture of modesty?

A recipe for a "red lip pomade" from the year 1805 listed the following ingredients: half a pound of fresh unsalted butter and two ounces of pure wax, plus currants and one to three grams of alkanna tictoria. To give it a pleasant fragrance a spoon full of strong orange blossom water was also added.

Something else we often wonder about. Hair. It is quite often said that there was no hair removal in this period. But we read in La Belle Assemblee, the following:

Superfluous Hairs are one of the greatest drawbacks from the delicacies and loveliness of the Female Face, Arms &c. TRENTS Depilatory removes them in a few minutes, and leaves the Skin softer and fairer than it was before the application; it is used by the First Circles of Fashion and Rank, and now stands unequalled in the World. It is sold by every respectable Perfumer, Medicine Vender &c. in London.

Now how effective it would be I cannot say. But clearly they were as concerned with at least some superfluous hair as we are today.

And something for the gentlemen? A home remedy.

To increase the Growth of Hair. Hartshorn beat small and mixed with oil, being rubbed on the head of persons who have lost their hair will cause it to grow again as at first.

Lots more cosmetics to come. Join me again for another Regency Ramble.