The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beauty tips from "Aunt Deborah", Civil War-style.

Godey fashion plate, 1860.  The Costumer's Manifesto.
I dare say many ladies will set me down for a very plain and old-fashiond person, when I say that, for cleansing and softening the skin, the most simple and the most useful articles are soft water and soap, followed by the use of a coarse cloth.  Rain-water is the best, but most water may be rendered sufficiently soft by putting into it a small pinch of the washing or bleaching powders now so much in use.  Soap, in addition to a proper proportion of alkali, should contain so much oily matter as may mechanically soften the skin and promote its smoothness.  I will furnish a receipt or two for the manufacture of suitable soap, or wash-balls, though good almond or Castile soap will generally answer the purpose.  The process will be rendered still more easy and pleasant, if lukewarm water be used instead of cold, but a final rinsing in cold water will be an improvement. 
-- from Godey's Lady' Book, February 1860. 

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)