The Jewish Manual/The Toilette
The various cosmetics sold by perfumers, assuming such miraculous powers of beautifying the complexion, all contain, in different proportions, preparations of mercury, alcohol, acids, and other deleterious substances, which are highly injurious to the skin; and their continual application will be found to tarnish it, and produce furrows and wrinkles far more unsightly than those of age, beside which they are frequently absorbed by the vessels of the skin, enter the system, and seriousy disturb the general health. A fine fresh complexion is best ensured by the habitual use of soft water, a careful avoidance of all irritants, such as harsh winds, dust, smoke, a scorching sun, and fire heat; a strict attention to diet, regular ablutions, followed by friction, frequent bathing, and daily exercise, active enough to promote perspiration, which, by carrying off the vicious secretions, purifies the system, and perceptibly heightens the brilliancy of the skin.
These are the simple and rational means pursued by the females of the east to obtain a smooth and perfect skin, which is there made an object of great care and consideration. And it is a plan attended, invariably, with the most complete success.
Cosmetic baths, composed of milk, combined with various emollient substances are also in frequent use among the higher classes in the East; and we have been informed that they are gradually gaining favour in France and England. We shall give the receipt for one, as we received it from the confidential attendant of an English lady, who is in the habit of using it every week, and we can confidently recommend it to the notice of our readers. The luxurious ladies of ancient Rome, who sacrificed so much time and attention to the adornment of their persons, always superintended the preparation of their cosmetics, which were of the most innocent and simple description—the first receipt we subjoin was one in general use with them, and will be found efficacious in removing roughness, or coarseness, arising from accidental causes, and imparting that polished smoothness so essential to beauty.
AN OLD ROMAN RECEIPT FOR IMPROVING THE SKIN.
Boil a desert spoonful of the best wheaten flour with half a pint of fresh asses milk; when boiling, stir in a table-spoonful of the best honey, and a tea-spoonful of rose water, then mix smoothly, place in small pots, and use a little of it after washing; it is better not to make much at a time, as when stale it is liable to irritate the skin.
A VALUABLE RECEIPT FOR THE SKIN.
Boil in half a pint of new milk a thick slice of stale bread, and a tea-spoonful of gum arabic; when boiled, set it at a little distance from the fire to simmer almost to a jelly, then pass it through a folded muslin, and stir in a spoonful of oil of almonds, and the same quantity of honey with a pinch of common salt; when cold it will be a stiff jelly. A little of this mixture warmed and spread upon the skin, about the thickness of a crown piece, and left on till it cools, will remove, like magic, all appearance of the dry scurf to which some of the finest skins are subject.
AN EMOLLIENT PASTE.
A SUPERIOR OINTMENT FOR CHAPS, ROUGHNESS, ETC.
Mix with a gill of fresh cream a spoonful of beaten almonds; when perfectly smooth put it in toilette pots, and use as ointment for chaps, &c.; it will keep for a week if a little spirit of camphor is added to it.
WASH FOR PIMPLES.
Dissolve half a dram of salt of tartar in three ounces of spirit of wine, and apply with soft linen; this is an excellent wash for pimples, but, as these are in general the result of some derangement of the system, it will be wiser to discover and remedy the cause, than merely attending to the result.
LOTION FOR REMOVING FRECKLES.
A FINE SOAP.
Blanch and beat to a paste two ounces of bitter almonds, with a small piece of camphor, and one ounce and a half of tincture of Benjamin; add one pound of curd soap in shavings, and beat and melt well together, and pour into moulds to get cool; the above is a very fine soap.
Mix together one ounce of white wax, the same of beef marrow, with a small piece of alkanet root tied up in muslin; perfume it according to fancy, strain, and pot while hot; the above is a fine salve for chapped lips.
CHESNUT PASTE FOR RENDERING THE HANDS WHITE AND SOFT.
Boil a dozen fine large chesnuts, peeled and skinned, in milk; when soft beat them till perfectly smooth with rose water; a tea-spoonful of this mixture thrown into the water before washing the hands renders them beautifully white and soft.
SUPERIOR MILK OF ROSES.
AN EXCELLENT RECEIPT FOR LIP SALVE.
Melt one ounce of spermacetti, soften sufficiently with oil of almonds, color it with two or three grains of powdered cochineal, and pour while warm into small toilet pots. We mention the cochineal to colour the salve, it being usual to make lip salve of a pale rose colour, but we should consider it far more healing in its effects without it.
A COSMETIC BATH.
Boil slowly one pound of starwort in two quarts of water, with half a pound of linseed, six ounces of the roots of the water lily, and one pound of bean meal; when these have boiled for two hours, strain the liquor, and add to it two quarts of milk, one pint of rose water, and a wine glass of spirits of camphor; stir this mixture into a bath of about ninety-eight degrees.
SUPERIOR COLD CREAM.
Melt together one drachm of spermacetti, the same quantity of white wax, and two fluid ounces of oil of almond; while these are still warm, beat up with them as much rose water as they will absorb. This is a very healing kind of cold cream. The usual cold cream sold by perfumers is nothing more than lard, beat up with rose-water, which is heating and irritating to the skin.
PASTE FOR RENDERING THE SKIN SUPPLE AND SMOOTH
(AN ENGLISH RECIEPT).
Mix half a pound of mutton or goose fat well boiled down and beaten up well with two eggs, previously whisked with a glass of rose-water; add a table-spoonful of honey, and as much oatmeal as will make it into a paste. Constant use of this paste will keep the skin delicately soft and smooth.
TO REMOVE TAN.
Cut a cucumber into pieces after having peeled it, and let the juice drain from it for twelve hours, pour it off, and add to it an equal quantity of orange flower-water, with a small piece of camphor dissolved in a wine-glass of soft water, bottle the mixture, and wash the parts that have been exposed to the sun two or three times in the twenty-four hours.
Mix together one ounce of essence of bergamot, the same quantity of essence of lemon, lavender, and orange flower-water, two ounces of rosemary and honey-water, with one pint of spirits of wine; let the mixture stand a fortnight, after which put it into a glass retort, the body of which immerse in boiling water contained in a vessel placed over a lamp (a coffee lamp will answer the purpose), while the beak of the retort is introduced into a large decanter; keep the water boiling while the mixture distils into the decanter, which should be covered with cold wet cloths, in this manner excellent Eau de Cologne may be obtained at a very small expense.
Put into a bottle, Windsor soap in shavings, half fill it with spirits of wine, set it near the fire till the soap is dissolved, when, pour it into moulds to cool.
MILK OF ROSES.
Take three drachms of English oil of lavender, spirits of wine one pint; shake in a quart bottle, then add one ounce of orange flower-water, one ounce of rose-water, and four ounces of distilled water; those who approve of the musky odour which lavender water sometimes has, may add three drachms of essence of ambergris or musk.
ESSENCE OF ROSES.
ESSENCE OF LAVENDER.
Is prepared according to the above recipe, the lavender being substituted for the roses.
Small bags filled with iris root diffuses a delicate perfume over drawers, &c. A good receipt for a scent-bag is as follows: two pounds of roses, half a pound of cyprus powder, and half a drachm of essence of roses; the roses must be pounded, and with the powder put into silk bags, the essence may be dropped on the outside.
ESSENCE OF MUSK.
OIL OF ROSES.
All stimulating lotions are injurious to the hair; it should be cut every two months: to clean it, there is nothing better than an egg beaten up to a froth, to be rubbed in the hair, and afterwards washed off with elder flower-water; but clear soft water answers every purpose of cleanliness, and is far better for the hair than is usually imagined.
One tea-spoonful of honey, one of spirits of wine, one of rosemary, mixed in half a pint of rose-water, or elder flower-water, and the same quantity of soft water, forms an excellent lotion for keeping the hair clean and glossy.
A fine pomatum is made by melting down equal quantities of mutton suet and marrow, uncooked, and adding a little sweet oil to make it of a proper consistency, to which any perfume may be added. If essence of rosemary is the perfume used, it will be found to promote the growth of the hair. Rum and oil of almonds will be of use for the same purpose. A warm cloth to rub the hair after brushing imparts a fine shiny smoothness.
As a bandoline to make the hair set close, the following will be found useful and cheap: take a cupful of linseed, pour over it sufficient boiling water to cover, let it stand some hours, and then pour over three table spoonsful of rose-water; stir the seeds well about, and strain it off into a bottle and it will be ready for use; or take a tea-spoonful of gum arabic with a little Irish moss, boil them in half a pint of water till half is boiled away; strain and perfume.
To remove superfluous hairs, the following receipt will be found effectual, although requiring time and perseverance: mix one ounce of finely powdered pumice-stone with one ounce of powdered quick-lime, and rub the mixture on the part from which the hair is to be removed, twice in twenty four hours; this will destroy the hair, and is an innocent application. In the East, a depilatory is in use, which we subjoin, but which requires great care in employing, as the ingredients are likely to injure the skin if applied too frequently, or suffered to remain on too long: mix with one ounce of quick-lime, one ounce of orpiment; put the powder in a bottle with a glass stopper; when required for use, mix it into a paste with barley-water; apply this over the part, and let it remain some minutes, then gently take it off with a silver knife, and the hairs will be found perfectly removed; the part should then be fomented to prevent any of the powder being absorbed by the skin, and a little sweet oil or cold cream should be wiped over the surface with a feather.
Water is not always sufficient to clean the teeth, but great caution should be used as to the dentifrices employed.
A most excellent dentifrice, which cleans and preserves the teeth, is made by mixing together two ounces of brown rappee snuff, one of powder of bark, and one ounce and a half of powder of myrrh. When the gums are inclined to shrink from the teeth, cold water should be used frequently to rinse the mouth; a little alum, dissolved in a pint of water, a tea-cup full of sherry wine, and a little tincture of myrrh or bark, will be found extremely beneficial in restoring the gums to a firm and healthy state. This receipt was given verbally by one of our first dentists.
Every precaution should be used to prevent the accumulation of tartar upon the teeth; this is best done by a regular attention to cleanliness, especially during and after illness. "Prevention is always better than cure," and the operation of scaling often leaves the teeth weak and liable to decay.
Acids of all sorts are injurious to the teeth, and very hot or cold liquids discolour them.
The best toothpick is a finely-pointed stick of cedar. Toothbrushes should not be too hard, and should be used, not only to the teeth, but to the gums, as friction is highly salutary to them. To polish the front teeth, it is better to use a piece of flannel than a brush.Toothache is a very painful malady, and the sufferer often flies to the most powerful spirits to obtain relief; but they afford only temporary ease, and lay the foundation for increased pain. A poultice laid on the gum not too hot takes off inflammation, or laudanum and spirits of camphor applied to the cheek externally; or mix with spirits of camphor an equal quantity of myrrh, dilute it with warm water, and hold it in the mouth; also a few drops of laudanum and Oil of cloves applied to decayed teeth often affords instantaneous relief.
Powdered cloves and powdered alum, rubbed on the gum and put in the diseased tooth will sometimes lessen the pain.
Toothache often proceeds from some irritation in the digestive organs or the nervous system: in such cases pain can only be removed by
proper medical treatment.
Nothing contributes more to the elegance and refinement of a lady's appearance than delicate hands; and it is surprising how much it is in the power of all, by proper care and attention, to improve them. Gloves should be worn at every opportunity, and these should invariably be of kid; silk gloves and mittens, although pretty and tasteful, are far from fulfilling the same object. The hands should be regularly washed in tepid water, as cold water hardens, and renders them liable to chap, while hot water wrinkles them. All stains of ink, &c., should be immediately removed with lemon-juice and salt: every lady should have a bottle of this mixture on her toilette ready prepared for the purpose. The receipts which we have already given as emollients for the skin are suitable for softening the hands and rendering them smooth and delicate. The nails require daily attention: they should be cut every two or three days in an oval form. A piece of flannel is better than a nail-brush to clean them with, as it does not separate the nail from the finger.
When dried, a little pummice-stone, finely powdered, with powdered orris-root, in the proportion of a quarter of a tea-spoonful to a tea-spoonful of the former, mixed together, and rubbed on the nails gently, gives them a fine polish, and removes all inequalities.
When the nails are disposed to break, a little oil or cold cream should be applied at night.
Sand-balls are excellent for removing hardness of the hands. Palm soap, Castille soap, and those which are the least perfumed, should always be preferred. Night-gloves are considered to make the hands white and soft, but they are attended with inconvenience, besides being very unwholesome; and the hands may be rendered as white as the nature of the complexion will allow, by constantly wearing gloves in the day-time, and using any of the emollients we have recommended for softening and improving the skin.
In dress, simplicity should be preferred to magnificence: it is surely more gratifying to be admired for a refined taste, than for an elaborate and dazzling splendour;—the former always produces pleasing impressions, while the latter generally only provokes criticism.
Too costly an attire forms a sort of fortification around a woman which wards off the admiration she might otherwise attract. The true art of dress is to make it harmonize so perfectly with the style of countenance and figure as to identify it, as it were, with the character of the wearer.
All ornaments and trimmings should be adopted sparingly; trinkets and jewellery should seldom appear to be worn merely for display; they should be so selected and arranged as to seem necessary, either for the proper adjustment of some part of the dress, or worn for the sake of pleasing associations.
Fashion should never be followed too closely, still less should a singularity of style be affected; the prevailing mode should be modified and adapted to suit individual peculiarity. The different effect of colours and the various forms of dress should be duly considered by every lady, as a refined taste in dress indicates a correct judgment.
A short stout figure should avoid the loose flowing robes and ample drapery suitable for tall slight women; while these again should be cautious of adopting fashions which compress the figure, give formality, or display angles. The close-fitting corsage and tight sleeve, becoming to the short, plump female, should be modified with simple trimmings, to give fullness and width across the shoulders and bust, and a rounded contour to the arms. Flounces and tucks, which rise high in the skirt, are not suitable to short persons; they cut the figure and destroy symetry. To tall women, on the contrary, they add grace and dignity. Dresses made half high are extremely unbecoming; they should either be cut close up to the throat or low. It is, however, in bad taste to wear them very low on the shoulders and bosom: in youth, it gives evidence of the absence of that modesty which is one of its greatest attractions; and in maturer years it is the indication of a depraved coquetry, which checks the admiration it invites.
It is always requisite for a lady to exert her own taste in the choice of form, colour, and style, and not leave it to the fancy of her dressmaker, as although the person she employs may be eminently qualified for her profession, a lady who possesses any discernment can best judge of what is suitable to her style of countenance and figure.
In dress there should be but one prevailing colour, to which all others should be adapted, either by harmonising with it, or by contrast; in the latter case the relieving color should be in small quantity, or it would overpower the other in effect, as a general rule, sombre negative colours show off a woman to the greatest advantage, just as the beauties of a painting are enhanced by being set in a dull frame; still, there are some occasions with which the gayer tints accord better, and as propriety and fitness are matters of high consideration, the woman of taste must be guided in the selection of her apparel by the knowledge of the purport for which it is intended, always endeavouring to fix on that shade of colour which best becomes her complexion.
Effect of Diet on Complexion.
As the color of the skin depends upon the secretions of the rete mucuosum, or skin, which lies immediately beneath the epidermis, or scarf skin, and as diet is capable of greatly influencing the nature of these secretions, a few words respecting it may not be here entirely misplaced.
All that is likely to produce acrid humours, and an inflamatory or impoverished state of the blood, engenders vicious secretions, which nature struggles to free herself from by the natural outlet of the skin, for this organ is fitted equally, to excrete and secrete. Fermented and spirituous liquors, strong tea and coffee should be avoided, for they stimulate and exhaust the vital organs, and interrupt the digestive functions, thereby producing irritation of the internal linings of the stomach, with which the skin sympathises. Water, on the other hand, is the most wholesome of all beverages, it dilutes and corrects what is taken into the stomach, and contributes to the formation of a perfect chyle.
Milk is very nutritious, it produces a full habit of body, and promotes plumpness, restores vigour and freshness, besides possessing the property of calming the passions, and equalising the temper.
Eggs are, in general, considered bilious, except in a raw state, when they are precisely the reverse; this is a fact, now so universally acknowledged, that they are always recommended in cases of jaundice and other disorders of the bile.
Spices, and highly seasoned meats import a dryness to the skin, and render the body thin and meagre.
Animal food taken daily requires constant exercise, or it is apt to render the appearance coarse and gross. It should be combined with farinaceous and vegetable food, in order to correct the heating effects of a concentrated animal diet.
Excess as to quantity should be strictly guarded against. When the stomach is overloaded it distributes a badly digested mass throughout the system, which is sure to be followed by irritation and disease, and by undermining the constitution, is one of the most certain methods of destroying beauty.
Influence of the Mind as regards Beauty.
All passions give their corresponding expression to the countenance; if of frequent occurrence they mark it with lines as indelible as those of age, and far more unbecoming. To keep these under proper control is, therefore, of high importance to beauty. Nature has ordained that passions shall be but passing acts of the mind, which, serving as natural stimulants, quicken the circulation of the blood, and increase the vital energies; consequently, when tempered and subdued by reason, they are rather conducive than otherwise, both to beauty and to health.
It is the habitual frame of mind, the hourly range of thought which render the countenance pleasing or repulsive; we should not forget that "the face is the index of the mind." The exercise of the intellect and the development of noble sentiments is as essential for the perfection of the one, as of the other, fretful, envious, malicious, ill humoured feelings must never be indulged by those who value their personal appearance, for the existence of these chronic maladies of the mind, cannot be concealed.
"On peut tromper un autre, mais pas tous les autres."
In the same way candour, benevolence, pity, and good temper, exert the most happy influence over the whole person;—shine forth in every look and every movement with a fascination which wins its way to all hearts.
Symmetry of form is a rare and exquisite gift, but there are other conditions quite as indispensable to beauty. Let a woman possess but a very moderate share of personal charms, if her countenance is expressive of intellect and kind feelings, her figure buoyant with health, and her attire distinguished by a tasteful simplicity, she cannot fail to be eminently attractive, while ill health—a silly or unamiable expression, and a vulgar taste—will mar the effect of form and features the most symetrical. A clever writer has said, "Beauty is but another name for that expression of the countenance which is indicative of sound health, intelligence, and good feeling." If so, how much of beauty is attainable to all! Health, though often dependant upon circumstances beyond our control, can, in a great measure, be improved by a rational observance of the laws which nature has prescribed, to regulate the vital functions.
Over intellect we have still more power. It is capable of being so trained as to approach daily nearer and nearer to perfection. The thoughts are completely under our own guidance and must never be allowed to wander idly or sinfully; they should be encouraged to dwell on subjects which elevate the mind and shield it from the petty trivialities which irritate and degrade it.
Nothing is more likely to engender bitter thoughts than idleness and ennui. Occupations should be selected with a view to improve and amuse; they should be varied, to prevent the lassitude resulting from monotony; serious meditations and abstract studies should be relieved by the lighter branches of literature; music should be assiduously cultivated; nothing more refines and exalts the mind; not the mere performance of mechanical difficulties, either vocal or instrumental, for these, unless pursued with extreme caution, enlarge the hand and fatigue the chest, without imparting the advantages we allude to.
Drawing is highly calculated to enhance feminine beauty; the thoughts it excites are soothing and serene, the gentle enthusiasm that is felt during this delightful occupation not only dissipates melancholy and morbid sensibility, but by developing the judgment and feeling, imparts a higher tone of character to the expression of the countenance.
Indolent persons are apt to decide that they have "no taste" for such or such pursuits, forgetting that tastes may be acquired by the mind as well as by the palate, and only need a judicious direction.
Frivolous employment, and vitiated sentiments would spoil the finest face ever created. Body and mind are, in fact, so intimately connected, that it is futile, attempting to embellish the one, while neglecting the other, especially as the highest order of all beauty is the intellectual. Let those females, therefore, who are the most solicitous about their beauty, and the most eager to produce a favourable impression, cultivate the moral, religious, and intellectual attributes, and in this advice consists the recipe for the finest cosmetic in the world, viz.—content.