Thursday, December 15, 2011
As we prepare for the Christmas photos you might enjoy how a woman made herself beautiful in Elizabethan England
These beauty tips come from a 17th Century book of magic. With advice on everything from removing pimples to making fake tan, what follows are some of the more intriguing suggestions, demonstrating that women in 17th Century London were just as preoccupied with grey hairs and wrinkles as their modern-day counterparts.
How to correct the ill sent of the Arm-pits. The stink of the Arm-holes makes some women very hateful, especially those that are fat and fleshy. Use liquid Allome with Myrrh to anoynt the Arm-pits, or strew the place with dry Leaves of Myrtles in powder. The Roots of Artichokes smeared on doth not only cure the ill sent of the Arm-pits but of the whole body.
It is the singular care of Women to adorn their Hair, and next their Faces, for Women hold the Hair to be the greatest Ornament of the Body, that if it be taken away, all the Beauty is gone, and they think it the more beautiful the more yellow, shining, and radiant it is.
To make Hair yellow, put Barley-Straw into an earthen pot with a great mouth, Feny-Graec [fenugreek] and wild Cummin. Mingle between them Quick-lime and Tobacco made into a Powder, then put them upon the Straw. Put one under the other [making layers as it were] until the whole Vessel be full. Pour on cold water and let them stand a whole day. Then open a hole at the bottom and let it run forth. With Sope use it for your Hair.
The most famous way to make the Hair yellow is to draw Oyle from Honey by the Art of Distillation. First there will come forth a clear Water, then a Saffron-colour, then a Gold-colour. Use this to anoint the Hair with a Spunge, but let it not touch the Skin, for it will dye it Saffron-colour and it is not easily washed off. This tincture will last many days and it will dye Gray-Hairs which few others will.
How Gray Hairs are dyed Black: Anonynt your Hair in the Sun with Leeches that have lain to corrupt in the blackest Wine for sixty days. For long black Hair, take a green Lizard, and cutting off the Head and Tail, boyl it in common Oyle and anoint your Head with it.
Curl'd Hair seems to be no small Grace and Ornament to the Head, and women do all they can to curl the Hair. If you will know how, boyl Maidenhair with Smallage-seed in Wine, adding a good quantity of Oyle, this will make the Hair curl'd and thick. Moreover if you put the Roots of Daffidils into Wine and pour this often on the Head, it will make the Hair curl more.
To dye the Eye-brows. Bitume or Sea-Cole being burnt it is a very fine black, or else the Marrow of an Ox-bone taken out of the Right-Leg and beaten with Soot
Before any thing be used to make the Face beautiful, it must be made very clean and fit to receive it, for oft-times women have excellent Waters and Remedies. This is the best: Bind Barley-meal-Bran in a Linen cloth and let it down into a Pot full of water, and let it boyl till a third part be remaining, and press out the juice. With this decoction wash your face and let it dry. Then bruise Myrhh and mingle it with the white of an Egg, and burn it on hot Fire-sticks or red hot Tiles, and receive the fume by a tunnel. Cover the head with a Napkin, that the smoke flie not away, and when you have received sufficient smoke, rub your Face with a Linen cloth.
To make the Face very soft boyl two Calfs Feet in water, put in Rice one pound, and boyl it well. Let crumbs of Bread steep in Asses or Goats Milk with ten whites of Eggs bruised with their Shells. Distill all at a gentle fire, add to the water with a little Camphire and Borax. Put into a vessel two yong naked Pigeons, with their guts taken forth, and put in as much Milk as will cover them. Add one ounce of Borax, Turpentine three ounces, Camphire one ounce, five whites of Eggs. Put on the cover and distill them.
To colour the body, boyl Nettles in water and wash your Body with it. If you distill Straw-berries and wash your self with the water you shall make your Face red as a Rose.
How to make a Sun-burnt Face white. When women travel in the open Air, and take journeys in Summer, the Sun in one day will burn them black. To remove this, beat about ten whites of Eggs, put them in a glazed Vessel adding once ounce of Sugar-Candy, and when you go to bed anoynt your Face, and in the morning wash it off with Fountain water. If the Face be smeered with the white of an Egg, it will not be sun-burn. Women that have to do in the Sun defend their Faces from the heat of it with the white of an Egg beaten with a little Starch and mingled, and when the Voyage is done, they wash off this covering with Barley-Water. Some rub their foul Skin with Melon-Rindes, and so they easily rub off Sun-burnings and all other sports on the skin.
For a wrinkled face. When Eggs are boiled hard in water, cut them in the middle. Fill the holes where the yokes were with Powder of Myrrh, then over one with the other binder them with a thread. Then take a glazed vessel and lay sticks across it that the Eggs may lie upon them hanging neere the bottom. Put the vessel into a Well and let it hang one foot from the water. By the moysture thereof the Myrrh will dissolve into Oyle of water. Anonynt your face with it. The juice of the green Cones of the Pine tree, being applied to the Face with a Linnen-cloth wet therein will take away all wrinkles from the Face excellently well.