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[-59-] PART II
THE GENERAL CARE OF THE BODY.
Cleanliness of the Body.
"CLEANLINESS is half a virtue, and uncleanliness is a vice and a half," says Alexandre
Dumas, and this is not saying enough.
Want of cleanliness is an ugly and ignoble
vice, and it is marvellous that women above
all should lay themselves open to such a
reproach, for it is incompatible with their
desire to be beautiful and beloved.
It was in the darkness of the Middle Ages that people dared to condemn cleanliness as a baleful remnant of ancient times (times when humanity, being more civilised, practised the use of baths and ablutions) it was in the gloom of those centuries that [-60-] this virtue was looked upon as an impiety. The impiety, on the contrary, consists in not taking care of one's body, that body which ought to be daily freed from every speck or stain which the conditions of life impose upon it in our present state of existence.
Even now young girls leave convents and large schools with inadequate notions of cleanliness, and this is inconceivable; and even when they return home, their mothers systematically neglect to instruct them in that part of hygiene which consists in those habits of neatness and daintiness which they themselves have only gradually acquired-sometimes, indeed, not without humiliation.
The Romans washed their bodies before going into the Temple. All Eastern religions, we may observe, order ablutions before prayer. Does not this rule, as hygienic as it is religious, show plainly that physical purity should go hand-[-61-]in-hand with moral purity? The Koran incessantly recommends the use of baths.
Shall we, then, who are in so many ways above Orientals, be content to remain so much below them in these all-important matters? In these times of ultra-civilisation, shall we continue to ignore the most elementary rules of the dignity of humanity? The animals, which do not possess our hands with a separate thumb, and have none of our facilities for care and neatness, clean their bodies, brighten up their fur or their plumage, from a natural instinct; and shall man, who is their king by his reason and divine intelligence, neglect his body? And shall woman, that marvel of creation, suffer her satin skin, with its pearly reflections, to be profaned by any impurity? Surely not; and therefore the whole human body should be purified every night and every morning from any stain or impurity it may have received under the animal and material laws to which it is still in subjection.
[-62-] As long as we are not ethereal spirits, as long as we have to live as mortals, we should submit ourselves to our condition, doing all that is in our power to ameliorate it.
And indeed cleanliness already brings us a step nearer to the angels of light while slovenliness, on the other hand, keeps us down in the depths of our original mire.
Cleanliness is as indispensable to health as it is to beauty.
A woman who keeps the pores of her skin open by the daily and abundant use of cold or tepid water, will keep well and grow old slowly. But under the closed pores of a skin not well or frequently washed the flesh becomes flabby and soft.
A well-washed skin is smooth, silky, and fresh ; but if repeated layers of perspiration and dust are allowed to accumulate, the skin becomes dry and feverish.
But for numbers of people, it may be [-63-] argued, it is not possible to take baths every day; the time and the means to do so are not at their disposal. To this I reply that a sponge-bath, which is quite sufficient as regards cleanliness, only requires a few moments of time and a quiet corner. If one cannot spare these few moments every day to take an entire bath, at least one might take time for a partial one, certain parts of the body requiring more care than others. Then, one or twice a week at the least, the necessary time for taking a complete bath should be made. This is the very minimum of washing that our bodies absolutely require. As for the maximum of cleanliness, it is impossible to fix it, for there can be no limit on this point. There are people so scrupulously clean that they purify their stomachs and intestines by swallowing a large glass of hot or cold water every morning, according to their state of health; others have recourse to the classic instrument of Molère, simply as a [-64-] means of cleanliness. It is easy to imagine that they are quite as much concerned with the care of their outer being.
The slightest negligence on this point is altogether inexcusable. We are wanting in self-respect if we fail to keep our person rigorously clean and neat. And Nature will quickly punish us for such neglect by sickness and premature old age. Bathing and washing, assisted by good soaps, and even vinegars and perfumes, will make our bodies firm, fit, and capable of endurance. Water has the virtue of dissipating all fatigue, destroying the germs of illness, and by giving us pure bodies it renders our souls also more pure. "A healthy spirit in a healthy body."
[-65-] THE FACE.
Ablutions of the Face.
It is admitted, then, that to exercise
their functions properly the pores of the
skin should be kept open, and that washing
is the best means of keeping them free from
the secretions or accumulations which might
obstruct and clog them.
It is, therefore, as contrary to the rules of hygiene and coquetry as to that of cleanliness to abstain (as Patti has been accused of doing) from ever washing the face.
At the same time, there are some precautions to be taken on this subject.
If you have a red face, you should use hot water; it will send the blood away, and stop the congestion caused by the rush of [-66-] blood to the parts affected. It is also bad to wash in cold water when the weather is very warm, or when the face is very much heated either by natural or artificial warmth. Tepid water should be used, with lotions, but without soap. The face should then be slightly powdered, and allowed to dry without being wiped. The same treatment applies when the weather is very dry.
The face should be dried, very gently, with a very fine and rather worn towel. Rough friction with a hard towel will have the effect of thickening the skin. It would be well to remember that the face requires as delicate care as a precious piece of porcelain or a fine work of art. The face, for instance, should never be bathed in too violent a manner, such as plumping the head into a great basin of water. Neither should the face be too constantly washed over and over again in the course of the day, at all moments. One celebrated beauty has never made use of anything but her [-67-] own hand with which to wash her face. She dries it with a light and very soft flannel. Another beauty prefers a sponge.
We are told that one of the prettiest of our women in society plunges a towel into very hot water, wrings it out, and lays it on her face, where she keeps it for about half- an-hour. She goes through this performance at night, before getting into bed, wiping off lightly with the humidity produced on the surface of the skin any dust that may have collected there during the day. This lady has no wrinkles.
A woman of fifty whose skin is as smooth as that of a young girl has never washed her face except with extremely hot water, which, she declares, tightens the skin and destroys wrinkles. One of this lady's friends washes with cold water immediately after the hot (Russian fashion), and her sister washes with hot water at night and cold in the morning.
These are rather contradictory counsels; [-68-] but all these apparent contradictions no doubt depend on the state of the skin in these different persons. I will add the advice of a physician in winter wash your face with cold water, in summer with warm or tepid water, so as to keep in harmony with the external temperature. Hard water which will not dissolve soap is bad for all ablutions, especially for those of the face. If it is impossible to obtain rain or river-water, at least soften the hard water by means of a little borax or a few drops of ammonia.
The spirituous essences which are often added to the water for washing the face are very destructive to it. Frequent applications of alcohol dry and harden the skin, and consequently prevent it from performing its proper functions or from nourishing itself with the fresh air or the damp atmosphere.
On the other hand, it is advisable not to expose the face to the air immediately [-69-] after washing it. When the pores have just been opened by the use of water, the skin should be protected from the action of the air, or it will become coarsened and chapped. Half an hour should be allowed to pass before going out, sitting at an open window, etc. It is for this reason that women who do not occupy themselves much with their household concerns prefer to wash their faces just before going to bed.
It may sometimes be necessary to use soap for the face. In this case the soap (of which we shall speak later) should be very carefully chosen, and it is well not to use it more than is really necessary, and never when the weather is very warm.
Lemon-juice cleans the skin very well, and is much better than soap. Strawberry-juice has the same detergent action, and is, moreover, very good for the skin. Rainwater is better than any Turkish bath for washing the face. Enveloped from head to foot in a waterproof, encounter the [-70-] downpour or the soft rain of heaven without an umbrella, exposing your face to it during an hour's walk. The rain and the dampness of the air will not only soften and wash the tissues perfectly, but they will efface also from the skin the little lines made there by the dryness of the artificial heating of rooms. Quiet, and sufficient sleep, and walks in the rain, are said to have been the sole beauty-philtres used by Diana de Poitiers, who went out every day, no matter what the weather was, and who used no umbrella, for the good reason that they had not yet at that time been re-invented from the Romans.
All women who belong to the white
race have always concerned themselves,
and will always concern themselves, about
the purity, freshness, and brilliancy of their
complexion. And in truth a beautiful
colour, a white and fine skin, form one of [-71-] the great attractions of a woman, who
cannot be pronounced perfectly beautiful
if there is any defect in her complexion.
It is generally thought that the colour and texture of the skin can be improved by outward applications, and this is to a great extent an error. The complexion, of whatever kind it is, depends mainly on the state of the health, on the constitution or the temperament. It is clear, then, that we must have recourse to hygiene rather than to cosmetics in order to diminish the faults of colour.
There are families in which a fine complexion is transmitted as a heritage. You may be sure that such a race is healthy, and has pure blood, which has never been tainted by any of those atrocious diseases which desolate humanity. A celebrated beauty was once asked the secret of the roseleaf tint of her cheeks and the delicacy of her blue-veined skin. "Robust and virtuous ancestors," was her laconic reply.
[-72-] Nothing is less desirable from the point of view either of health or aesthetics than a face too highly coloured, especially if the roses extend all, or nearly all, over the whole of it. It indicates a plethoric habit.
People afflicted with this very high colour, whose eyes even are bloodshot, are generally, it may be noticed, large eaters and lovers of ease and luxury, and have a great repugnance to healthy exercise. It is evident that to lower the tone of their complexion these people should restrain their appetites, choose less succulent foods, deny themselves some of their comforts, and keep their over-nourished bodies a little under. They would at once find their health benefited by such r?gime, and their headaches, confusion of mind, and dizziness would disappear. Instead of being red all over, their complexion would change to the brilliant stage, which is a totally different thing, for even very bright roses are not out of place on the cheeks only, and then [-73-] they make the forehead, nose, and chin, which they have happily forsaken, appear all the fairer. A brilliant feverish colour which shows itself on the cheek-bone only, is too often an indication of consumption. Unfortunately, it is not to hygiene alone that we must have recourse in such cases.
When the complexion is muddy, pale, pasty, too white, greenish, yellow, or purple, it always proclaims a bad state of health. Sometimes a muddy complexion is natural, but much more often it denotes dyspepsia, languid circulation, etc.
A pale colour is due to an indoor life without exercise, from the habit or the necessity of shunning the daylight and the sunshine. A pasty colour belongs to a lymphatic temperament. An olive complexion is not always a sign of ill-health; those who have it should look back and see whether they have not had some Southern or Creole ancestor before making themselves uneasy on the subject. A very white [-74-] complexion, without any colour, belongs to persons seriously attacked in their health, though there is at times nothing else to show this. A purple colour may be produced by heart disease ; a yellow one needs quite special attention.
Thus we see that whenever the complexion is defective, care and precaution should always be taken.
Hygiene may often suffice, and we shall endeavour to trace the great outlines of this preventive remedy for the use of women at least.
A very thin woman may be in good health, but she never has a good complexion, according to the proverb which says "there is no beautiful skin over the bones. But presently we shall show her the means of growing a little fatter. We may, however, tell her and all women at once that it is necessary to restrain their impatience and irritability, which dry up the blood more than illness or even sorrow itself.
[-75-] Everybody may be recommended to preserve the face from too great artificial heat.
Cold is unfavourable to dark complexions, and heat to fair ones. The wind makes the face either blueish or pale. Whenever it is possible to choose a walk, going against the wind should be avoided. Many parents dislike seeing their children kissed frequently, for the velvety skin of a baby suffers much therefrom. Too much kissing is bad for the complexion.
Further on we shall explain to women how they should live, and what they should eat, in order to preserve or improve a pretty colour, and how to remain beautiful while keeping their health.
There would be fewer wrinkles if people
would correct themselves of certain bad
habits. Repeated frowning leaves an indelible mark, in certain straight lines [-76-]between the eyebrows. Lifting the eyebrows at every movement for nothing at all
is done at the cost of long horizontal lines
across the forehead, which makes people
look five years older than they really are.
A stereotyped artificial smile stamps two
large creases from the nose to the corners
of the mouth. Sitting up late at night
reading novels is infallible for drawing that
terrible network of crows' feet round the
eyes which disfigures the prettiest face.
People who laugh a great deal have little wrinkles on their cheeks close to the mouth, but these are rather pleasing. There need be no anxiety except about wrinkles that come from causes we ought to fight against: cheerfulness is a virtue to be encouraged. Suffering traces lines on worn features, but they disappear with the return of health.
To delay the appearance of wrinkles, and to reduce the heaviness of the chin, the face should be washed and dried from the [-77-] lower part up to the top. To avoid the dreaded crows' feet, wash the eyes in the direction from the temple towards the nose.
It is an immense mistake to fill up with face powder the lines made by wrinkles; it only makes them the deeper.
Some of the millionaires in New York, whose skins suffer from the over-heated rooms, have their faces sprayed with soft water for a quarter of an hour every night before going to bed. This has the effect of a very fine rain, which effaces the wrinkles and produces the required humidity for the epidermis. To counteract the disastrous effects of the dry and burning heat of stoves and calorifères, it is indispensable to stand vessels full of water on them, that the evaporation may render the air damp enough. Even better results may be obtained by using wet cloths, and renewing them as often as necessary.
The fear of wrinkles leads many women [-78-] to submit to the hardest sacrifices, in the hope of conjuring away the demon of old age.
Here is the manner in which one woman in society proceeds to efface the signs which late hours and gaieties leave on her face. When she feels knocked up and in the blues, if something has gone wrong or worried her, she goes to bed and stays there till her fatigue has passed off, or her irritation is over and her good-humour come back. Then she gets up, fresh, beautiful, in an amiable frame of mind, and all her wrinkles smoothed out. She declares that if all idle women followed her example in the like circumstances, they would prolong their youth and beauty, calm their nerves, and thus gain a desirable equanimity of character.
A mother, careful of the beauty of her daughter, tried the following treatment for her during her first season. The young lady went to a ball every day in the week, [-79-] but on Sundays she stayed in bed, only rising in time for five o'clock tea and retiring again at an early hour. The results of this kind of life were happy. The young girl did not catch cold once during the season, and when the time came for going to the seaside, she seemed to be the only one who did not need any of the benefits which society women expect from the sea air. She was like a country girl, and as fresh as a rose.
Women who have no children, and are deprived of the immense joys and many and arduous duties of maternity, would do well to spend their leisure in perfecting their own characters and hearts. Once again, I would persuade all women that the moral character is quite as - or, indeed, much more - worthy of interest than the physical body.
Far better have one wrinkle more, and acquire a good quality, than a smooth forehead and the faults of a child.
[-80-] Nevertheless if it is possible to take a moment of respite from the accomplishment of daily duties, I would urge a little rest for the face, four or five times a day, by shutting the eyes and remaining perfectly still for one, two, or five minutes, when it can be done without neglecting anything important. Even these short rests from occupations and agitations will greatly retard the ravages that time and life imprint on the face.
You are no doubt justly annoyed, dear
reader, when your jasmine-tinted complexion is burnt after walking in the hot
sun or sitting for a long time on the beach.
But it is easy to restore to your face the pearly whiteness of which you were justly proud.
Bathe it in the evening with a cold infusion of fresh cucumbers cut up in slices in milk. A decoction of tansy in butter-[-81-]milk is still more efficacious. Butter-milk by itself even will be of some use.
Another certain means of getting rid of the burning caused by sea or country air consists in washing with the juice of green grapes, which can be obtained as follows:- Wet your bunch of grapes, and sprinkle them lightly with alum; then wrap them up in white paper, and put them to cook under hot charcoal embers. When the grapes are fender, they will be sufficiently done. Take off the paper, and squeeze the bunch under a vessel to press out the juice, and wash your face with this juice. You must perform this operation three times over at intervals of four-and-twenty hours, but it is an infallible remedy.
Many people believe, and not without reason, that it blackens the skin to wash at midday in summer. The hour of noon should be dreaded by those who have delicate skins.
A foreign physician affirms that the [-82-]electric light burns the faces of those exposed to it, as much as the sun does. And the moon - even the pale moon - is supposed to have the same effect upon our skin. After all, it is said to eat away stone; so it may well have some effect upon our complexions. The Mar?chale d'Aumont, "as beautiful in her old age as in her youth," was in mortal fear of the night- dew and the moon.
But let us return to the misdeeds of the sun. The Italians proceed very simply when they wish to remedy the effects of the sun or of the sea air after a sojourn in their country villas or on the borders of the Adriatic, the Mediterranean, or the lakes, in this wise:- They take the white of an egg beaten into a good froth, bathe the face with it, and leave it to dry on the skin for a quarter of an hour, then rinse it off with fresh water. This is done three or four times, and always at night, just before getting into bed. This last injunction, and [-83-] also that of drying the face gently with a very fine towel, are essential. I have already given the reasons for both. Finally, a mixture of lemon-juice and glycerine in equal parts has good results against the injuries done to our epidermis by the sun and the wind. If the skin will not bear glycerine - of which more later on - it should be replaced by rose-water.
Freckles are the despair of blonde and
florid women especially, but also of brunettes
who possess a white skin. Some doctors
attribute these spots to the presence of a
certain amount of iron in the blood. It
has been proved that the abuse of ferruginous medicines is often the
cause of these yellow stains which spoil
many a beautiful forehead.
Others say that freckles indicate a delicate constitution and a slow and feeble [-84-] circulation. The following are remedies for these annoying spots:-
1st. One of my friends found the following mixtures beneficial, with one or other of which she anointed her freckles every night, going to bed: one part of tincture of iodine and three parts of glycerine. 2nd. In half a pint of oil of turpentine dissolve 7 grammes of powdered camphor, then add 2 grammes of oil of sweet almonds. This is an excellent liniment for the inconvenience of which we are now speaking. 3rd. 28 gramrnes of powdered camphor and 112 grammes of pure olive oil, melted by a gentle heat. 4th. Try applications of butter-milk, which is as good as, if not better than, the foregoing recipes. 5th. In some countries the perfumed water extracted from the iris by means of steam (bain-marie) is used to beautify the skin and complexion; if a little salt of tartar is dissolved in this, it will remove freckles. 6th. Dissolve 16 [-85-] centigrammes of borax in 20 grammes of rose-water and the same quantity of orange- flower water, and bathe the spots with this lotion. 7th. Fresh Leans boiled in water, mashed and applied as a poultice, will produce an excellent effect. 8th. Mix vinegar, lemon-juice, alcohol, oil of lavender, oil of roses, oil of cedar, and distilled water; use this lotion going to bed, and wash with fresh water the next morning. 9th. Use recipe No. 1 for curing redness in the nose. 10th. A mixture formed of two parts juice of watercress and one part honey is much recommended for freckles and sunburn. The two substances, when mixed, should be passed through muslin, and rubbed in night and morning.
A few very simple precautions may prevent the appearance of freckles. Our ancestors, who were most careful of their complexions, wore masks of velvet in winter to protect their skin from the cold; in summer they wore silk masks to defend [-86 -] their delicate epidermis against Apollo's darts, which produce these hateful spots. If it is impossible to revive the use of masks, wear straw-coloured veils in April, when the buds begin to star the meadows, and spots unfortunately begin to blossom on faces. It would be too long to explain scientifically why you will be as safe from the rays of the sun under yellow gauze as under a mask, but I will answer for the efficacy of this device. It may be objected that straw-coloured veils are hardly becoming. The question is whether you care most for the admiration of the people you meet out of doors (who are often unknown to you), or for that of the people who see you at home with your face uncovered-your friends, and, above all, your husband.
While travelling the face should be only washed at night, and add to the water for use a few drops of tincture of benzoin. Lait virginal is nothing but this. In all cases never confront the open air till you [-87-] have well dried, and lightly powdered, your face. Carrots, which are a specific for the complexion, are thought highly of as a remedy for freckles. Take a thin carrot soup for your early breakfast instead of café au lait with rye bread steeped in it.
I think it was Montaigne who said "I
love Paris, down to its very warts." That
may be all very well for a great and magnificent city, but a pretty or beautiful face
is terribly disfigured by these little hard
bumps, vulgarly called poireaux.
I will therefore give some safe and simple means of getting rid of them:-
1st. Take some small doses of sulphate of magnesia (Epsom salts). For an adult the dose is from 60 to 90 grains a day for a month. After a fortnight of this treatment the warts have almost always disappeared.
2nd. In other days the fuller's teazel (Labrum Veneris or Virga Pastoris or, [-88-] scientifically, Dipsacus Fullonum) was much prized as a remedy for warts; it was thus named because the leaves are arranged in the form of a basin, "and in fact the said leaves, sometimes bent into a bow, represent a basin wherein water and dew will always be found." The warts were rubbed with the water or juice found in these hollows.
3rd. Someone recommends that the wart should be pressed against the bone with the thumb, moving it in and out till the roots become irritated and painful. The wart will then melt away or fall off.
4th. Warts may be cured by rubbing them three or four times a day with a potato. Cut the end off the potato, and rub the wart with the part freshly cut ; and after each rubbing, cut another slice off the potato.
5th. Rub night and morning with the following ointment :- 4 parts by weight of chromate of potassium, well mixed with [-89-] 5 parts of axungia or vaseline. Three or four weeks of this treatment will effect a cure.
6th. Lemon-juice will remove warts. Touch them three or four times a day with a camel's-hair brush steeped in the juice.
7th. Take a slate, and have it calcined in the fire; then reduce it to powder, and mix this powder with strong vinegar. Rub the excrescences with this wash, and they will give way to the treatment.
8th. European heliotrope (herb for warts, or Verrucaria in the pharmacopoeia) is much vaunted, and its juice, mixed with salt, is said to destroy warts and lumps.
9th. Caustic or nitrate of silver exterminates warts very well; they should be touched with it every two or three days.
10th. A wart may be got rid of by steeping it several times a day in castor-oil.
11th. Melt some spirit of salts in water, and wash the warts with this water. This caustic will make them fall off in scales. [-90-] The utmost care must be taken, especially if this remedy is used for the face.
12th. The caustic juice of the greater celandine may also be used.
It is a mistake to imagine that warts can be caught by contact. Before burning a wart with caustic, it should be cut to the quick.
Diseases of the Skin affecting the Face.
For the little scurfy eruptions which
sometimes conic on the face, one doctor of
my acquaintance recommends rubbing with
Ulcerated eruptions have been cured by bathing with strawberry-juice. An easier or more agreeable remedy can hardly be imagined. It is much less repugnant than, and quite as efficacious as, a live yellow slug, with which the sore used to be rubbed till the unhappy mollusc was used up. Bathing with strawberries is sovereign against ulcers as well as eruptions. If used daily while [-91-] they are in season, they will drive away all redness, inflammation, pimples, etc., from the face.
Eczema on the face should be treated with poultices of potato flour, and the patient should drink a tisane of alder-root (?ounce to a quart of water, decocted). A pint of the decoction should be taken, fasting, at two or three different times; another pint to be taken in the evening, at least two hours after the last meal. The diet should be very severe - neither wine nor coffee, no game, fish, or pork in any shape. In this case strawberries are forbidden, as well as asparagus, cabbage, turnips, and cheese, with the exception of Gruyère.
Almost the same diet should be used for redness (couperose) of the face; and for this the following lotion and ointment are also recommended:-
Lotion - refined sulphur, 1 oz. ; alcohol, ?oz.; distilled water, 1 pint. Sponge the [-92-] face with this mixture often. (Hot vapour douches are also excellent.)
Ointment - 1 part of oxide of zinc to 10 parts of vaseline. Anoint time face with this, going to bed. This treatment should be interrupted twice a week for twenty-four hours. Before bathing or anointing the face, it should be well washed in tepid water.
It is unnecessary to say that these simple remedies may be used for the same diseases on other parts of the body.
Some women have another and still
deeper cause for despair. I speak of the
hairs which appear on time chin in maturity,
and of the down which may darken and
give a mannish look even to the rosy lips of
a girl of twenty.
Let none give way to despair-there is more than one remedy for these ills:-
1st. I consider that the use of a pair of [-93-] small steel pincers is the most efficacious and unobjectionable of all remedies. But care must be taken to pull the hair out by the roots, and not to break it during the operation: it requires a determined pull. An electrical operation has lately been much vaunted also - it is called electrolysis; the hair never grows again after this operation, while the use of the pincers must be constantly renewed.
2nd. Water distilled from the leaves and root of celandine. It is applied as a compress on the desired spot, and left on all night. It should be repeated till the down disappears.
3rd. Sulpho-hydrate of soda 1? drachms of quick lime 5 drachms, starch 5 drachms. Mix these into a paste with a little water, and apply it, keeping it on for an hour, and washing with fresh water afterwards.
4th. Cut up an oak-apple into little pieces, and put it into a basin, with white wine over it to the depth of a finger. Let [-94-] it steep in this bath for twenty-four hours; then distil it with boiling water till nothing more ascends. Apply it in a compress on the affected part, and keep it on all night. Repeat this every night till time desired result is produced.
If it were true, as some people affirm, that lentils have the property of increasing in length and thickness the growth of the hair, of causing the moustaches of youths and the beards of men to grow and become bushy, then indeed should women who have a tendency to down on their lips and chins eschew having anything to do with this formidable vegetable.
Waters and Cosmetics for the Face.
Never use any kind of paint; all rouges
are bad for the skin, and white paints are
The Chinese have, however, discovered an inoffensive rouge, made of the juice of beet- root, with which they redden their cheeks.
[-95-] The ordinary essences, ointments, and powders of commerce, are either without any effect at all, or produce exactly the opposite to the one hoped for.
Nevertheless I shall give the recipes for some waters and cosmetics, but it is because I am certain of their perfect harmlessness, and that some of them are refreshing to the skin.
We begin with the simplest.
Very greasy and oily skins will be the better for being washed with wine (all those of France and the Rhine) about once a fortnight. If the skin is dark, red wine should be preferred. Fresh cucumber-juice is among the best timings for time skin; and almost equally good is the water in which spinach in flower has been boiled. But strawberry-juice - of which we have already spoken - is superior to both.
In the sixteenth century time water in which beans were cooked was ill great favour, and this mealy water did really deserve time reputation it then had.
[-96-] The Gauls, whose brilliant carnation was the envy of the Roman patricians, washed their faces with the froth of beer. They also used chalk dissolved in vinegar. I do not know what to think of this solution, but I can answer for it that the foam of beer is still used with advantage by the women of the North. Belladonna takes its name from the use the Italians made of its juice for improving the complexion.
The Roman ladies of antiquity, who were such great coquettes, considered, it is said, the blood of the hare as time most precious of cosmetics - a somewhat repellent recipe for modern taste.
The following lotion is excellent :-A wineglassful of fresh lemon-juice, a pint of rain-water, five drops of rose-water. This should be kept well corked, and used from time to time it will preserve the colour of the skin.
Flabby and relaxed skins will derive benefit from the following cosmetics, used [-97-] at intervals of eight days :- Equal parts of milk, and brandy made from corn. Wet the face with this mixture by means of a soft towel, after having washed, and before getting into bed. The result is not immediate, but after a year the skin will have become sufficiently strung up, firm, smooth, and fine.
If you have a very dry skin, and require oily ointment, instead of the softening creams so erroneously praised, use highly-rectified vaseline, with a few drops of perfumed oil in it.
Oil of cacao enriches a dry skin. A mixture called "Princess of Wales" consists of half a pint of milk, with the juice of a slice of Portugal lemon squeezed into it. The face is to be anointed with this mixture at bedtime, and washed with fresh (not cold) water the next morning.
Lastly, here are some real cosmetics which are not dangerous to the tissues :-At the end of May take a pound of the freshest [-98-] butter possible (of course, perfectly unmixed with salt or anything else); place it in a white basin, and put it where the sun will be on it the whole day, but where no dust or dirt can fall on it. When the butter is melted, pour over it plantain-juice, and mix the two well together with a wooden spoon. Allow the sun to absorb the plantain-water, and put more juice on six times a day. Continue this till the butter has become as white as snow. During time last few days add a little orange-flower and rose water. Anoint your face with this ointment at night, and wipe it carefully in the morning. This is an old and good recipe of the time of la belle Gabrielle.
Here is one that dates from the time of the Crusades :-Boil six fresh eggs hard, take out the yolks, and replace them by myrrh and powdered sugar-candy in equal parts. Then join the two halves of the white of the eggs (which had been cut in two to take out the yolks), and expose the [- 99-] six eggs to the fire on a plate. A liquid will come from them which is to be mixed with an ounce of lard or white vaseline, prepared as I shall direct under the heading "Pomades and Hair-Oils." The face should be covered in the morning with the ointment thus obtained, which should be allowed to dry on it, and then gently wiped off.
It is said that this secret of beauty was brought back from Palestine by a beau chevalier with whom a sultana had fallen in love. If his lady-love got wind of his infidelity, she may well have forgiven it for the sake of this cosmetic which he brought back from the harem into which he had intruded.
Cosmetics for the Hands, Arms, etc.
The recipes which we have given above
may be used for the neck, arms, and hands.
Here is another, to be used on evenings, when the arms and neck are uncovered:- 80 grains of oxide of zinc to 1 oz. of [-100-]glycerine, with the addition of a little rose- water. This preparation has the advantage of not coming off on the coats of one's partners.
The Use of Face Powder.
I have said that it is sometimes
necessary to powder the face, and I have
pointed out on what occasions. But it
must be done artistically and with a light
hand-simply enough to give the skin the
delightful surface of the peach.
Nothing is so ugly as a face powdered like a Pierrot ready to grin. The spectator should be left in doubt as to whether the skin is imperceptibly veiled by a thin cloud of powder, or whether it is the natural bloom. Then the effect is pretty, especially under a veil; not but that a natural skin is preferable if it is fine, smooth, and just the right colour.
The puff should be dipped into the powder with precaution, so as not to come [-101-]out too full of powder, which will prevent a wise use of it. Nor should the puff be wiped on the skin; it should barely touch the face, and that in a succession of small quick taps. Care must be taken not to powder the eyebrows and eyelashes, and to take off any that may have adhered to the lips.
A touch of powder should be put on the whole of the face, except the eyes, eyebrows, and lips; otherwise any part that is not touched with powder will look ridiculously dark compared with those that are.
[nb. grey numbers in brackets indicate page number, (ie. where new page begins), ed.]