Today’s post offers up some intriguing early modern beauty tips, which reveal that wrinkles, sunburn, pimples, and chapped lips were just as much of annoyance to women in the seventeenth century as they are to their modern-day counterparts.
Take two handfuls of Rosemary and boil it softly in a quart of Spring-water till it comes to a pint, and let it be covered. Then strain it out, and every morning when you Comb your head, dip a sponge in this water and rub up your hair.
Make a decoction of Turmeric and Rubarb. Wash your Hair very clean, and then with a Sponge moisten your Hair with the decoction therewith, and it will make it fair.
To make the Hair black, take the juice of red Poppy, the juice of green Nuts, Oyl of Myrtle, Oyl of Costomary [?], each one part, boyle it a while and anoint the Hair therewith.
To curl the Hair, take a quantity of Pine Kernels burnt and beat to a powder, mix them with Oyle of Myrtle, make an Oyntment therewith, and anoint the Head.
To make the Nails grow, take wheat-flower and mingle it with Honey, and lay it to the Nails and it will help them.
Anoint your fingers with the powder of brimstone, Arsenick, and Vinegar.
To make the hands white, take the flower of Beans, of Lupines, of Cornstarch and Rice, of each six ounces. Mix them and make a powder, with which wash your hands in water.
Take Harts-horn, and horses Teeth, of each two ounces, sea-shells, salt, and Cypress-Nuts each one ounce. Burn them together in an Oven and make a powder. Rub the teeth therewith.
To make breath sweet, wash your mouth with the water that the peels of Citrons have been boyled in, and you will have sweet breath.
For cleansing the face and skin, wash the face with water that Rice is sodden in, and it cleanseth the face, and taketh away Pimples.
To beautifie the face, take a pinte of Cuckoo-spittle and bruise the thick parts with Rose-water, dry it in the Sun three days then use it.
To make a water to take away Wrinkles, take a decoction of Briony and Figgs, each a like quantity, and wash the face with it.
To take away pits in the face by reason of small-pox, wash the face one day with the distilled water of strong Vinegar, and the next day with the water wherein Bran and Mallows have been boyled, and continue this twenty days or a Month.
To make a Pomatum for the Face, take six dozen Sheeps Feet with the bones, break the bones and take out the marrow, then boyl the feet well and scim off the Oyl that rises, and put it to the Marrow. To which, put four great cold-seeds beaten, the rind of one Citron, two penny worth of Borax, three Cloves, Lily roots well beaten, and a little Rose-water. Boil all together for the space of two hours, then strain it and wash it with waters till it be white. Use this at night. It nourishes, smoothens, softens, and whitens the Skin. If you mix it with some Pearl, you will have a most incomparable Cosmetic remedy.
To take away freckles, anoint your face with Oyl of Almonds, or with hares blood.
To take away sun-burn, take the juice of a Lemmon, and a little salt, and wash your Face or hands with it, and let them dry of themselves, and wash them again, and you shall find all the sun-burn gone.
For the Lips Chapt, rub them with the sweat behind your ears, and this will make them smooth and well coloured.
Take two ounces of white Bees-wax and slice it, then then melt over the fire with two ounces or more of pure sallad oyl and a little white Sugar, and when you see that it is well incorporated, take it off the fire and let it stand till it be cold. Anoint your Lips or sore Nose, or sore Nipples with this.
For stench under the Arm-holes, first pluck away the Hairs of the Arm-holes and wash them with White-wine and Rose-water.
Take the juyce of Fumitory, mix it with Gum Arrabick, then lay it on the place, the Hairs first plucked out by the Roots, it will never permit any more Hair to grow on that place.
To make the breasts small, take of Rock-Allom powdered, and Oyl of Roses, of each a like quantity, mix them together and anoint the breasts therewith.
Sources: The Accomplished Ladies Delight, Hannah Woolley (1686), and The Family Physitian, George Hartman (1696)