This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
It is well known that the pores of the skin should be kept open in order to perform thoroughly their functions, and that washing is an excellent means to relieve them of the secretions or accumulations which obstruct and close them. There are, however, precautions to be taken when washing the face. If there is any eruption on the face, warm water should be used. By this means the blood is driven away and the congestion relieved.
When the weather is very warm, or when the face is heated, do not wash in cold water. Bathe in warm water with pure soap. Take care to rinse thoroughly, so as to remove every particle of soap. Powder lightly, allowing the powder to dry on the face.
The face should be then carefully wiped on a piece of soft linen. Rough friction, with a coarse towel, has the effect of thickening some skins. It is well to remember that the skin requires the same delicate care that we bestow on fine porcelain or other rare treasures.
It is said that one of our society beauties every night on going to bed saturates a toilet towel in very hot water, wrings it, and applies it to her face, keeping it there for half an hour. This woman has no wrinkles.
A woman, fifty years old, whose skin is as smooth as that of a young girl, has never used anything on her face but hot water, which she believes prevents the skin from becoming flaccid and wrinkled. One of her friends does the same, but immediately after washes her face in cold water, and her sister uses hot water at night and cold in the morning.
All these apparent contradictions depend doubtless on different conditions of the skin. A well-known physician advises washing the face in cold water in the winter, and in warm or hot water in summer, thus establishing harmony with the existing temperature.
Hard water, which does not dissolve the soap, should not be used for washing or bathing. If no other is to be had, the water for face-washing may be softened with a little borax or a few drops of ammonia.
Lemon juice cleanses the skin very well, and sometimes serves the purpose better than soap. Strawberry juice has the same effect, besides being very improving to the skin.
Dr. Kingsford believes that, in many cases, the skin of the face may be kept smooth to an advanced age by the following mechanical process : The fingers being slightly oiled, the skin of the face should be rubbed, gently but firmly, in a direction opposite to that in which wrinkles threaten to form. This should be done at least once daily, and for five minutes at a time. The pressure must be even, firm, and gentle, and the oil on the fingers occasionally renewed. In this process the effect may be much augmented by the use of wool fat, a substance which is extracted from sheep's wool. Its value consists in the fact that it is readily absorbed by the skin, and thus serves to replace the subcutaneous fatty tissue, where deficient, and give a full, smooth, and rounded outline to the skin. Cold-cream prepared from this wool fat and cucumber juice is a very valuable cosmetic, from the readiness of its absorption by the skin, ordinary oils and fats lying on the surface, without absorption, and forming a greasy film.