Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Regency era face-lift

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Loretta reports:

Instead of a face-lift, here’s what you could do in 1811.

Aura and Cephalus

[This curious receipt is of Grecian origin, as its name plainly indicates, and is said to have been very efficacious in preventing or even removing premature wrinkles from the face of the Athenian fair.]

Put some powder of the best myrrh upon an iron plate, sufficiently heated to melt the gum gently, and when it liquifies, hold your face over it, at a proper distance to receive the fumes without inconvenience; and, that you may reap the whole benefit of the fumigation, cover your head with a napkin. It must be observed, however, that if the applicant feels any head-ach, she must desist, as the remedy will not suit her constitution, and ill consequences might possibly ensue.

A Paste for the Skin.

[This may be recommended in cases when the skin seems to get too loosely attached to the muscles.]

Boil the whites of four eggs in rose water, add lo it a sufficient quantity of alum; beat the whole together till it takes the consistence of a paste. This will give, when applied, great firmness to the skin.

From The Mirror of the Graces; or, The English Lady's Costume by a Lady of Distinction, 1811

Illustration: A fashionable lady in dress & undress, color etching by Robert Dighton, 1807, courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA


Heather Carroll said...

I can't imagine that having the best immediate results with a fair complexion such as mine. But then again that is the same sort of complexion ladies of the regency had.

Vanessa Kelly said...

How could you not get a headache when you stick your head under a towel and inhale burning myrrh!?

Ah, the things we do for beauty!

Jane O said...

Probably not much nuttier than Botox or surgery like lyposuction or tummy tucks.

LorettaChase said...

I find myself staring at the labels of moisturizers and wrinkle creams, etc., wondering what people will think of their ingredients in a century or two.

nightsmusic said...

When I was a teenager about a million years ago, I used to put my head over a steaming pot of water with a couple drops of witch hazel in it and then a towel to keep all that steam in. Believe it or not, it really did help with the acne. Everything old is new again as the saying goes. I wonder what the next best thing will be in another 50 years.

As an aside, that woman in the picture is bald in the first. I'm speculating as to why and hope it wasn't done as some fashion thing but her hair was perhaps removed due to a high fever. But I am curious!

Marjorie said...

No worse than the stuff we buy today.What we're really buying is optimism in a jar, anyway, and I doubt it was any different for regency ladies.

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