Thursday, March 13, 2008

1860s Cosmetics

Although no respectable woman of the 1860s would be seen wearing "face paints", they did use some form of cosmetics.

Creams and lotions were used to soften skin as well as bleaching lotions to give the desired lily white appearance.

Moisturizers also were used to combat the effects of lye soap and cleaning chemicals, as well as other abrasives.

They used oil to dress their hair and keep it in place in the confined styles popular in that time period. Herbal rinses softened and brightened hair and henna and dyes were used for coloring.

Cologne and perfume in scents of Lavender, Rose, Orange Blossom and Gardenia were used lavishly.

They used powder beneath the clothing for comfort and to keep them dry and also used it on their face and hands to keep their skin pale, especially for evening events.

Rouge was the only color they applied and was used sparingly. Just a small circle beneath the outer corner of the eyes and a touch to the center of the lips. Full lips were not considered fashionable.

Source: 'Helpful Hints & Timely Tips', Fanny & Vera
The Citizens' Companion, Oct.- Nov., 2006, p. 43.


Anonymous said...

Herbal rinses softened and brightened hair and henna and dyes were used for coloring.

What kind of herbs, Susan? And how did any of the dye affect their scalp? Things you never think of until you need to research it for a book. Or blog. :)

Marlene said...

This is a great blog full of information for my time period. I like the rouge touch on the lips to give them color. Interesting about the hair color as well. Thanks for the ideas.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

I didn't realize they did all that! I've noticed in pictures that their hair is always shiny but I never realized it was due to oils. And I never imagined they even did as much as what you've mentioned here. Let's face it, LOL, women are a vain lot no matter what era we live in!

Susan Macatee said...

Sorry, Christine.
The article didn't go into any more detail on that.
Guess you'll just have to do some research.
I didn't even know they colored their hair back then.

For further research you can check: