Avoiding the Tan: Regency Skin Creams

"How very ill Eliza Bennet looks this morning, Mr Darcy," she cried; "I never in my life saw any one so much altered as she is since the winter. She is grown so brown and coarse! Louisa and I were agreeing that we should not have known her again." However little Mr Darcy might have liked such an address, he contented himself with coolly replying that he perceived no other alteration than her being rather tanned -- no miraculous consequence of travelling in the summer. - Pride and Prejudice
Regency Misses went to great lengths to avoid (horrors!!!) exposure to sunshine and the associated tans and freckles. If bonnets and parasols didn't do the trick, there were, of course, always these "tried and true" recipes for removing any acquired blemishes. These are reprinted from The Mirror of Graces, published in 1811. Fard [This useful paste is good for taking of sunburnings, effects of weather on the face, and accidental cutaneous erruptions. It must be applied at going to bed. First wash the face with its usual ablution, and when dry, rub this fard all ove rit, and go to rest with it on the skin. This is excellent for almost constant use.] Take two ounces of oil of sweet almonds, ditto of spermeceti: melt them in a pipkin over a slow fire. When they are dissolved and mixed, take it off the fire, and stir into it one table-spoonful of fine honey. Continue stirring till it is cold; and then it is fit for use. Unction de Maintenon [The use of this is to remove freckles. The mode of application is this. Wash the face at night with elder-flower water, then anoint it with this unction. It 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 deliquidated oil of tartar, each a quarter of an ounce. Let this mixture be placed in the sun till it acquires the consistence of ointment. When in this state, add three drops of oil of rhodium, and keep it for use. Enjoyed this article? Browse our Jane Austen Giftshop for recipes and etiquette books!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published