I wasn’t actually planning to research Regency showers, but rather Regency soaps and beauty treatments. I discovered that Andrew Pears of Pears Soap fame began making cosmetic products in the 18th Century. He soon had a wealthy clientèle of wealthy socialites. The fashion among the wealthy of the period was for pristine white complexions; tanned faces were associated with those who labored outdoors. Pears found that his powders and creams were frequently being used to cover up damage caused by the harshness of the soaps and other beauty products (many of which contained arsenic or lead) that were in general use at the time. Pears began to experiment with soap purification and eventually managed to produce a gentle soap based on glycerin and other natural products. The clarity of the soap gave it a novel transparent appearance, which provided a marketing advantage. To add to the appeal, Pears gave the soap an aroma reminiscent of an English garden.
Bar soap was extremely expensive during the Regency, but it was possible to buy soap scented with lavender, rosemary, lemon, jasmine, wintergreen, caraway, nutmeg, almond, orange, cinnamon, marjoram, neroli, anise, bergamot, cassia, clove, sassafras, violet, myrtle and rose. The luxury item was used sometimes as a diplomatic gift between leaders of European countries. The Prince Regent spent a fortune on toiletries, particularly on finely made and scented bar soaps wrapped for sale in a fine tissue paper, known as ‘silk paper.’ They were also the first to be molded into simple shapes like disks, squares or rectangles.
I can’t recommend any of the following receipts, as their ingredients are puzzling and at times alarming.
My mother hated her freckles. I like them, but then I’ve never had them. As Mercy also has freckles (she keeps forgetting to wear her hat) she creates a lotion to remove them. In LADY FAITH TAKES A LEAP ~ The Baxendale Sisters #2 released June 1st, fifteen-year-old Lady Mercy, makes cosmetic treatments for a lady’s use.
Unction de Maintenon
To remove freckles. The mode of application is this:
Wash the face at night with elderflower water, then anoint it with the unction. In the morning, cleanse your skin from its oily adhesion by washing it copiously in rose water.
Take of Venice soap an ounce, dissolve it in half an ounce of lemon juice, to which add of oil of bitter almonds and deliquated oil of tar, each a quarter of an ounce. Let the mixture be placed in the sun till it acquires the consistence of ointment. When in this state, add three drops of the oil of rhodium, and keep it for use.
(Not sure about the tar oil, deliquated or not)
Baume à l’Antique
(For chapped lips)
Take four ounces of the oil of roses, half an ounce of white wax, and half an ounce of spermaceti; melt them in a glass vessel, and stir them with a wooden spoon, pour it out into glass-cups for use.
A Paste for the Skin
(This may be recommended in cases when the skin seems to gets too loosely attached to the muscles.)
Boil the whites of four eggs in rose water, add to it a sufficient quantity of alum; beat the whole together until it takes the consistency of a paste. This will give, when applied, great firmness to the skin.
(I doubt you could move your face much at all. I imagine you have to wash it off.)
Lady Mercy also makes her own scent.
Pound in a mortar fifteen cloves and one pound of cinnamon, and put the whole into a quart of water, with four grains of aniseed; let it stand over a charcoal fire twenty-four hours, then strain off the liquor, and put it up for use. This perfume is most excellent, and will do well for the hands, face, and hair, to which it communicates a very agreeable scent.
The first novella of my Lady Baxendale Sisters series, LADY HONOR’S DEBT is available now from Amazon and other on-line book stores.
From the Regency Etiquette The Mirror of Graces (1811) by a Lady of Distinction.
With thanks to: Kathyrn Kane’s The Regency Redingote
#Regency #Regencynovella #Historicalromance #MaggiAndersen #Series #RegencyResearch