Australian enquiry book of household and general information/The Toilet

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HEARING that in New York there were complexion artists who regularly make it their business to undertake to treat the faces of society ladies, some months back I wrote to one for a few particulars, and will now give my readers the benefit of the information received. The whole letter or paper reads like a fairy tale, and were it not that I have seen accounts of the process in American papers, and also advertisements from the profession, I should be inclined to think it all a hoax. But it is not so, and I am informed that the results of a few visits to one of these complexion artists are quite startling. It would be too much to give the whole paper sent me, so I take from it the chief recipes.

To Prepare the Face for Treatment.—First wash the skin with warm water and soap. Then into a wash hand basin put about two quarts of hot water, the heat must be determined by ones own feeling and the amount of heat one can bear. It is the steam that does the work and the hotter it can be borne the better. Add to the water a teaspoonful of any oil preferred, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, any will do. Now cover a big bath towel over the head, shoulders and the basin and let the face steam from ten to fifteen minutes, after which it must be massaged or rubbed as directed in a recipe on “The Complexion and Freckles.” Having rubbed or massaged the face, apply linen cloths dipped in hot milk, lay them on the face hot. The milk is said to nourish the skin and restore its plumpness. Be very careful not to go into the cold air directly the face is done, half an hour or so should be allowed for it to cool and recover. If the face is treated in this way twice a week there will be a very noticeable change in a short time, no matter what age, or however brown and wrinkled the face is, it can be beautified by the above treatment.


Save your poultry fat and make a face oil with it. Goose fat is the best, but failing that, other poultry, and to make the pomade render the fat in the oven (in a jar), beat it with a fork and put in a few drops of any scented oil or essence preferred and bottle for use. Steam the face at bed time and rub in this oil quite ten minutes till no grease is apparent. In treating the face as directed each individual must be sure that it suits their skin, as there are skins if supplied with too much oil will develop a crop of down. Goose or poultry fat will not do this, and for which reason it is best to prepare ones own oil, as oils bought at the chemists are not always pure.

Gentle massage, mild steaming and care when going into the air will produce the best results.

After massage do not use cold water or very hot either, tepid is best, and dry with a soft towel

Do not rub in too much oil, about half an eggspoonful will be enough at a rubbing.

Milk whey, sweet or acid, is an excellent lotion for the skin, giving softness and cleanliness.

Many Paris belles have baths in milk whey to improve and soften their skins.


THERE are countless remedies for doing away with these—"sun kisses" as some one has poetically named them, all more or less simple. Many young girls try every remedy they come across or hear of, and are surprised when they find that none of them are lasting, and if it is a fact, as we are told, that freckles are the result of iron in the blood, then of course nothing can be of permanent good. I have noticed in testing the many recipes I have given in this volume, that an application that succeeds with one person has no effect upon another, therefore one requires to find out which suits her skin and particular complexion, and keep to that only. I have found the best results from the recipe in which cucumber juice is used with sour milk, but I have heard of good results from an application of sulphur and milk put on over night, and washed off with warm water in the morning. Pure lemon juice is a very good simple remedy, and if it does not remove the "sun's kisses," it whitens the skin without doubt. Many ladies whose perseverance is worthy of a better cause wear a mask of muslin or calico after plastering the face with wet oatmeal. Elder-flower water and soap, used always and regularly at the same time, keeping the face veiled when out, and as free from perspiration as possible, is as likely to produce good results as anything. To those young ladies who have the time and the wish to improve their complexion, much information can be given, and, indeed, it is the bounden duty of every woman to use all means within her power to make herself as beautiful as she can. The pity is that so many neglect their personal appearance till beyond recall, and many girls directly after marriage give up all the little arts and graces they used before to make themselves beautiful as if marriage was the end, and there was no further need for them to take pride in their face and figure; instead of which they should redouble their efforts to look beautiful, for it is far easier to gain a man's admiration than it is to retain it. A man may laugh at a woman and possibly make fun of her for using face washes, &c., but all the same he likes the effect and very soon finds out when his wife's complexion loses the bloom and brightness he has been accustomed to in his courting days. I am by no means an advocate for expensive washes and powders, many of which once used have to be continued; but a young woman can by very simple means retain her beauty, and certainly without spending more than the merest trifle on it. Here are a few hints that anyone can follow:—

First and foremost the laws of bodily health must be attended to and regulated. A blotched pimply complexion frequently results from an irregular condition of the bowels, and if neglected may lead to more serious complications.

The diet comes next, but only in the event of indigestion, biliousness, or other stomachic troubles need any restrictions be placed upon the table.

Indigestion often causes a red nose and blotches, so should be attended to at once. As I have given many simple remedies for this and other everyday disorders elsewhere in these pages, it is unnecessary to repeat them here. If these fail, a medical man should be applied to, but unless there are other complications of the system, one or other of the simple remedies will give relief.

Biliousness gives a yellow, dull tone to the skin and the whites of the eyes, while the limbs are heavy and tired. If only temporary, this is soon set right, but unfortunately very many young people suffer from chronic biliousness, brought on, more often than not, by a want of exercise and a generally unhealthy mode of living. Many young girls take an extraordinary dose of medicine once every three or four months, and are greatly surprised at their internal economy requiring anything more.

Exercise is one of the chief beautifiers as it is one of the chief aids to health. A young girl should walk at least two miles every day. Sauntering and dawdling along the streets is not walking, nor is it exercise. In a town or neighbourhood where there are a number of young people they can form a walking society, and in this way add to their health and beauty, while enjoying each other's society. One may be upon one's feet all day and feel very tired, but that is not exercise; and nothing is, save and except the sharp brisk walk which sends the blood coursing through the body, and brings a bloom and glow to the cheeks.

Exercise we will take as the first aid to beauty.

The bath comes second, and is almost, if not quite, as important as the first.

The third aid to beauty includes or consists of the hundred and one little details one's own common sense suggests, and which are as often as not matters of time and opportunity.

Fourth comes rest and sleep. Late hours take from a young girl's bloom as soon almost as ill health. She should always have a stated hour for rising in the morning, never later than six, so that she can wash her face in the dew. And for going to bed never later than 10.30. But when later through pleasure never let it be an excuse to lie late in the morning, rather make up the lost hours by a nap in the daytime, or by going to rest earlier next night. The morning dew is one of the greatest beautifiers in the world, and few know it. Before going to bed if it is possible take a warm bath, or a cold if it is preferred, and rub every limb well with a rough towel. Where there are sisters they can more effectually rub or massage each other, and without doubt this last is the greatest secret of the toilet. Where one has to do for oneself it is not so easy, though quite possible. To begin with, after using the rough towel effectually, with the bare hands rub and knead every part—legs, arms, the body, shoulders, neck, every muscle in the body. Some people use a perfumed oil on their hands when rubbing, and it impregnates the body with a sweet smell. Any scent can be used, but it needs oil with it to make it rub easily. The "pomade to whiten the hands," given a few pages back is excellent for the purpose, and imparts a sweet scent to the body. Also, rub the face as well, gently, but firmly, kneading the more fleshy parts between the fingers and thumb, and pressing or smoothing out the wrinkles and creases all over the face, using the pomade upon the hands all the time. The first time one performs this office of massage for oneself it is extremely tiring, but like everything else one gets used to it. even if done by another it makes one very tired and inclined to sleep. There are now a days ladies who are professional masseuse, and who go from one to another for the sole purpose of rubbing or massage treatment, but the fee comes expensive, and when one is in health and strength it is as well to help oneself. Concluded the rubbing and pretty well exhausted oneself, the hair should receive a good hard brushing as directed in the article on "The Hair," and then to bed, where, unless one is really ill, sleep will overtake the senses in less than no time. This process reads very long and wearying and for the first time or two it may be so, but directly you get into the way and begin to know the muscles, sinews, &c., &c., of the body it will be simple. Every second night will be often enough at first, unless one has someone to do it for one. Two sisters or two intimate friends can be masseuse for each other and thus perform the office of beautifying each other. Fresh strawberry juice is an excellent beautifier. Crush the berry and rub on the face and let it dry. Wash off next morning.

Orange Flower Scent.—Collect a good basinful of the loose petals of the orange blossom and a few of the flowers entire with the seed, or rather the orange attached to them. Pound or smash these up into a mess or mash, sprinkle with a little fine salt and some spirits of wine, stand it either in the hot sun or in a cool oven (the sun is the best) for a few hours every day for three days, after which it is ready to be filtered through clean blotting paper. In this way you will get a small quantity of strong essence or scent.

Another mode is to collect the blossom, bruise them slightly and having made a cup of blotting paper (like a dunce's cap), put in a layer of orange blossom and on it a pinch of salt, a few drops of good olive oil, and the same of spirits of wine, then another layer of blossom, salt, oil and spirits, and right on layer upon layer, till it is quite full. Place it in the hot sun and by degrees the scent or oil will be tried out. I have done the same with rose leaves very successfully and also with gardenia. I have also used pure lard instead of the oil, but I do not know which is best. The idea was entirely my own and doubtless could be improved upon.

To Prevent Mosquito Bites.—Buy a dried bitter apple from the chemist and pound it up well, then put it into a quart bottle and fill up with hot water, add a tablespoonful of spirit or eau-de-cologne to preserve it. If neck, arms and face is sponged with this and it is allowed to dry on mosquitoes will never attempt to bite. The decoction is not sticky or unpleasant.

Face Cream. (Very good.)—White wax one ounce, dissolve in four ounces of oil of almonds by a gentle heat. Then separately dissolve half a drachm of borax in some rose water just warmed a little, and add it to the oil of almonds and wax. Lastly stir in four or five drops of oil of roses. Stir well and apply at night.

To Take Off Seaside Sunburn.—Into about half a cup of boiling water put a small pinch of borax and a lump of gum-arabic about the size of a small nut. Then dissolve a little bit of camphor in a teaspoonful of eau-de-cologne, or if you use the spirits about half a teaspoonful, add this to the boiling water and gum arabic with a teaspoonful of glycerine. Put this mixture into a bottle, shake well and after bathing the face with water as hot as can be borne, apply some to the face, and repeat it every night while at the seaside or till the sunburn is gone and the skin smooth and clear. When riding in the hot sun the very best veil to wear is of book muslin. In the bush where one need not have regard to appearances and "what the world says," the most suitable veil covering is made like a bag of white book muslin, put right over the hat and long enough to reach to the shoulders so as to protect the neck and throat. For boating this should be a very good protection too, and it is not any hotter than gossamer.

To Soften the Skin.—Pour some boiling water over a few spoonsful of oatmeal and let it stand some hours. At bed time wash the face and hands in the starch water. Distilled water is used for washing the face by nearly all our most beautiful actresses. For oily or greasy skins a few drops of spirits of camphor to the washing water is beneficial. Only some skins can use glycerine with good results. Never use too much glycerine as in time it darkens the skin. Borax is also a good addition to washing water. It softens and improves the skin. Every toilet table should be furnished with a bottle of ammonia and a few drops put into every bath, hot or cold, particularly in hot weather, and for people who perspire much as it takes off all unpleasantness. To remove sunburn, mutton fat rendered down and rubbed on is excellent.

For Freckles. No 1.—Slice a green cucumber into skim milk, let it stand an hour and use the milk liberally, rubbing it well in. The water from the cucumber alone is very good. An old-fashioned remedy is a decoction of tansy and buttermilk, but nothing is better than the cucumber water, though melon water is just as good.

For Freckles. No. 2.—Scrape two tablespoonsful of horse radish into a breakfast cup of sour milk. Let it stand 24 hours then use frequently.

A Good Complexion Wash after Illness.—Into half a pint (one cupful) of distilled water put half an ounce of chlorate of potash, one ounce of glycerine and four ounces of rose water. Rub well into the face night and morning and before going out at all. A few drops of ammonia in tepid water will soften and cleanse the skin.

To Remove Sunburn.—Beat together the whites of two eggs and the juice of two lemons just till it will pour from a spoon. Place the cup or basin in the oven for 15 or 20 minutes or just till it is cooked and stir occassionally. Apply at bedtime.

Another remedy.—Directly you come in cover the parts burned with a paste of starch and cold water. The effect of this is to ease the soreness and smarting.

Another remedy.—Take one drachm of alum, two drachms of borax, one drachm of camphor, half an ounce of sugar candy, and one pound of ox gall. Mix and stir these ingredients together for ten minutes or so, and repeat the stirrings three or four times a day till the mixture is clear; strain and bottle for use. The face should be bathed with very hot water before applying the above. As a rule, hot water will take out most of the sunburn; no soap should be used.

A Shiny Skin.—To prevent a shiny skin use a small lump of camphor, or a few drops of the spirits of camphor, in the washing water.

To Cure a Rough Blotched Complexion.—Take a bran bath at least once a day. Tie the bran in a muslin bag and either boil it in the water or pour boiling water over it; besides this bathe the face two or three times a day in bran water as hot as you can bear it.


A blotchy complexion can be improved by rubbing into the skin some flowers of sulphur mixed with a little drop of milk and left to stand a few hours before using. This is also beneficial for black heads.

For a greasy complexion nothing is better than tomato juice rubbed in and allowed to dry.

The juice of the water melon and cucumber are great beautifiers of the complexion. Fresh they are best, but the juice can be preserved in bottles.


THE hand is said to be an index to the mind and character. But when we consider how the hand alters and deteriorates through hard work we must doubt the theory. So many ladies, particularly in Australia, have to do their own work that it becomes utterly impossible for them to retain their pretty refined hands. Plunging them into hot water, washing, and especially wringing the clothes, destroys both the shape and texture of the hands. However, with care and attention they will recover much of their beauty when the necessity for hard work ceases. I have already given a very good pomade for whitening the hands, and I would impress upon those who use it, to do so regularly or no result will come from it.

The hands should be washed constantly and in warm water as a rule. When they have been doing kitchen work a lemon cut in halves and rubbed all over them before washing will help to cleanse, and is a great help in taking off the smell of grease, &c. You want to cut it, squeeze out the juice into a cup and rub the fruit part all over the hands, and the pure juice after if necessary, then wash in warm water with carbolic soap, or common yellow will do, and again with "pasta mack" used in the water, which gives a pleasant odour to the hands. The nails must be kept very short and well brushed, and a piece of pumice stone should always be kept on the washstand for cleaning the sides of the fingers where the dirt seems to get ingrained in the skin. Biting the nails is a horrible habit and quite spoils the shape of the fingers. In some instances (usually children) the application of aloes to the finger tips is a preventative, but the exercise of one's own will is the best cure for such a habit. It is only a habit, and one that can be broken only by one's own strength of mind. After washing the hands the skin should always be pressed back at the bottom or quick of the nails.

Soap for Whitening the Hands.—A good soap for whitening the hands can be made by scraping down two cakes of brown windsor soap, melt in a saucepan and mix in one wineglass of eau-de-cologne and one of lemon juice. Run into a mould and when hard it is ready to use.

Pomade to Whiten the Hands and Arms.—Cut up a quarter of a pound of white wax into a wide-necked jar or basin, melt in the oven or by standing in boiling water. Add half a pound of honey and a small bottle of the best salad oil. Squeeze in the juice of three lemons and beat all together with a fork till cold. A few drops of any sweet smelling essence can be added if liked. Put into a toilet jar and use at night.

Pomade for the Hands.—Cut up a cake of the best almond soap into a small enamel saucepan. Melt over the fire very slowly, adding by degrees the juice of two or three lemons, two tablespoonsful of honey, and a few drops of essence of burgamot. If too stiff, a little oil may be added, or glycerine if it agrees with the skin.

Before applying either of these pomades the skin should be well washed with hot water. And it is useless to rub on the pomade. It must be rubbed in thoroughly for twenty minutes or half an hour.


THE hair should have constant and regular attention. Many young girls who possess good heads of hair are indifferent about its care and management till they begin to loose it. It should be well brushed night and morning, for only by brushing can each individual hair be cleansed. To realise this you need only put a hair from the head of someone who is not in the habit of brushing under a microscope. You will then see the tiny particles of dust, and in some instances greasy dirt sticking to it here and there. I have seen minute mites on the hair and hundreds, even thousands, of them among the combings from a dirty head. I do not mean the vermin we can see with the naked eye, or the nits; but regular mites too tiny to be seen without the glass. The hair should be well washed once a fortnight, and the ends should not be allowed to split, they should be clipped regularly to prevent it. The reason of this was told me by a ladies' hairdresser. He explained that the hair being a tube was full of life and, as it were, breathed through the tube, so that when it split or curled up at the ends it could not breathe freely and so died eventually. Some heads require grease, others do not having sufficient naturally to nourish the hair, and I have given several recipes for hair washes and hair tonics, all of which are good and can be used in safety, but nothing will improve or make the hair grow if it is not well brushed, say for ten minutes each night and morning.

I have heard it said that dyeing the hair injures it. This is only true when injurious dyes are used, for I have known ladies who dyed their hair as a constant thing for years, yet theirs was not injured. It all depends upon the dye. Many young girls who have fair hair keep it a golden shade by using a small quantity of peroxide of hydrogen when washing it. This does not hurt the hair and the effect is very good. Using soda for the same purpose is very bad, as it bleaches the hair by exhausting the colouring matter.

Good Wash for the Hair.—Mix half an ounce of sesquicarbonate of ammonia with a wineglassful (small) of spirits of rosemary with a cup of rose water. Put into a bottle and shake till well mixed.

Pomade for the Hair.—Get from the butcher a quarter of a pound of fresh marrow, or better still take it from the bones yourself. Render it down in the oven. Let it stand till about half cold and then with a fork or egg-beater beat in one tablespoonful of glycerine and ten or fifteen drops of liquid ammonia. Beat all well together, fill your toilet jar and keep covered.

Hair Lotion.—Procure from a chemist half an ounce of bitter apple and steep it in about a cupful of good Jamaica rum for two or three days. strain carefully through muslin, bottle, and apply to the roots of the hair every second night.

To Keep the Hair in Curl.—Curl in the usual way, either with patent pins or otherwise, and when it is taken out powder with powdered Peruvian bark and comb out to get the bark well mixed with the hair. This is a very old wrinkle and it does not affect the colour of the hair at all.

A Good Hair Wash.—A very good wash when there is much scurf is one ounce of glycerine, nearly a cupful of rosemary water and one teaspoonful of ammonia. Rub into the roots of the hair over night and wash next day in warm water with borax in it.

For Scurf in the Head.—Mix one teaspoonful of Coutt's acetic acid in six teaspoonsful of water and apply several times to the roots of the hair. A never failing remedy.

Good Tonic for the Hair.—When the hair becomes weak and falls out it is often owing to dryness of the skin, or want of nourishment at the roots of the hair. The following is a simple and also a very good wash for the purpose of strengthening the hair at these times. Boil one handful of rosemary leaves and box leaves in one quart of water till it is one pint. Strain, and when cold, add a wineglassful of rum, and the same quantity of glycerine. Pour into bottles and keep well corked. Use occasionally.


Peroxide of hydrogen gives a golden shade to the hair.

To identify oneself with any particular scent. It must be rubbed in all over the body. This is easily done by mixing the scent with a little oil and after the bath rub every part of the body with it. Also make small bags or pockets, buy the scent in powder (if possible) and fill them with it, and then pin or sew them into the dresses, stays, &c., &c. Some ladies use violet powder or orris root in this way and consequently are remarkable for the sweet odour of violets that always accompanies them. It is best to choose a scent the oil and essence of which is obtainable. Lavender, rosemary, violet, &c., &c., for instance, and once fixed upon it should be adhered to.

This new idea of injecting the scents under the skin is not to be recommended.

Pasta mack if used in the bath gives a delightful perfume to the person, and is also very refreshing and pleasant. Nothing is better than a little ammonia in the bath to neutralize the unpleasent effects of perspiration.