This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Beware of exterior application of cosmetics for the purpose of beautifying the skin. The greatest beautifiers in existence are plenty of exercise in the fresh air, the keeping of the pores of the skin completely open by bathing, the feeding of the body with a sufficiency of simple, healthy food, and the obtaining of the requisite amount of sleep.
It is true that sometimes a slight touch of art may improve the personal appearance. The very sallow complexion may be improved by a small amount of color applied; the hair, if naturally dry and stiff, may be kept in place by a simple hair preparation, and a white eyebrow may be brought into harmonious color with the hair of the head by a dye; all this being done so adroitly that the external application cannot be detected. But, as a rule, greatest beauty is obtained by a strict observance of the laws of health.
The following preparations, culled from De la Banta's "Advice to Ladies," are recommended for improving the complexion:
Take a teaspoonful of powdered charcoal (kept by druggists) mixed with sweetened water or milk, for three nights successively. This should be followed by a gentle purge afterward, to remove it from the system. Taken once in two or three months, this remedy will prove efficacious in making the complexion clear and transparent.
Tincture of balsam of Peru, 2 drachms; tincture of tolu, 2 drachms; tincture of benzoin, 2 drachms. Mix with one gill of distilled water, and take of melted white wax, 1 ounce; spermaceti, 1/2 ounce; sweet almond oil, 8 drachms, and rose-water, 1 ounce. Mix all the ingredients together, and beat thoroughly, applying to the skin with a sponge.
This may be used with benefit where the skin presents a greasy appearance:
To 1/2 pint of rose-water add chlorate of potash. 18 grains; glycerine, 1 ounce. Mix carefully, and use in a pure state. Apply with a sponge or linen cloth. Should it irritate the skin dilute with) more water. These lotions should be applied with care, and are best used at night.
The greasy skin, inclined to pimples, is benefited by the following preparation:
Bicarbonate of soda, 18 grains; essence of Portugal. 6 drops; distilled water, 1/2 pint. Mix and bathe the face.
The shiny, polished skin, which is caused by fatty secretions beneath it, may have the difficulty removed by this preparation:
Take 1 quart of camphor water, pure glycerine, 1 ounce, and 1/2 ounce of powdered borax. Mix and bathe the face. Let it dry and remain a few minutes after applying it, then wash the face thoroughly with soft water.
If the skin is very pallid it is improved by a bath in lukewarm water, followed by brisk rubbing with a coarse towel and exercise in the air and sun. The pale skin is improved also by the sunshine. The rough skin is made smooth by the application of glycerine at night, followed by its removal with water and fine soap in the morning.
The skin may be whitened by the following prescription:
To one pint of water add 1 wineglass of fresh lemon juice and 10 drops of attar of roses. Mix, and keep in a well-corked bottle. Use once a day.
The sallow and muddy skin is improved by this preparation:
To one pint of water add 2 drachms of iodide of potassium and 1 ounce of glycerine. Mix and apply with a sponge once a day.
To keep the skin clear, beware of pork, cheese and other substances containing much grease. Also avoid alcoholic drinks. Keep the bowels loose by fruit and a sufficiency of coarse food. Take exercise sufficient, if possible, to produce a gentle perspiration each day; bathe daily, and get into the sunshine and open air.