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Stefan's Florilegium


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Hst-Cosmetics-art - 5/10/14


"A brief History of Cosmetics" by Baroness Anastasia Alexandrovna Andreeva (OL).


NOTE: See also the files: cosmetics-msg, cosmetics-lnks, hair-msg, hair-dyeing-msg, mirrors-msg, Handcream-art, handcream-msg, Hand-Lotion-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at



A brief History of Cosmetics

by Baroness Anastasia Alexandrovna Andreeva (OL)


Beautifying oneself has been an age-old process. Women and even men have always tried to turn back the clock by doing whatever it takes to make themselves look younger.


Ancient Egypt


Many items of a cosmetic interest have been found in tombs and especially are the drawings on the walls of Egyptians applying makeup.


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Bronze mirrors were used when applying makeup. The one on the left has a handle with the image of the goddess Hathor.  Examples of cosmetic containers, such as the one below, survive from tombs. 


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Kohl, an eye-paint made from powdered galena (lead ore), and green copper oxide, was used around the eyes and applied with an applicator stick.


A remedy against the baldness and blemishes, suggested by a fragment of papyri (written at the end of the III century B.C. in Magna Ermopolis in Middle-Egypt):


"how it can be prevent the falling out of hair'. Mix resin with new sourish wine and knead the whole, adding myrrh and more wine: the compound you obtain must be spread on the head before and after every washing. Then it can be spread what remains of the resin with more myrrh and some lavender."


Ancient Rome


Ovid's advice on grooming includes hair removal, and not just men's beards. Whether this was accomplished by shaving, plucking or other depilatory practices is sometimes hard to tell. Julius Caesar was noted by Suetonius to have been meticulous in hair removal. Seems he didn't want hair anywhere except where he didn't have it (the crown of his head, hence the famous comb-over).


Not that hair is inherently dirty or stinks; but there was an aesthetic of cleanness, of refining the surface. I've read somewhere that pervasive hair removal was characteristic of Egyptian priests, maybe as a form of purification; for practical purposes, it reduces susceptibility to lice, for instance.


Tools For Cleaning


A strigil is an instrument for scraping the skin. Bear in mind that oil was used in classical times for removing grime, and unlike soap which forms a lather with water and can be rinsed off, the oil had to be scraped off; thereafter, in a water-rich area (e.g. Italy) a bath could be taken, and in other cases clean (scented) oils could be used to finish off the job.


The strigil at first glance looks a bit like a clasp-knife, handle and blade being in total about 8" (if memory serves) in most cases. The blade is gently curved to accommodate the curves of the body and the handle is sometimes of another material such as bone or ivory.


Apparently Augustus' face had sores caused by excessive use of the strigil.


Romans use of olive oil, along with the strigil was to exfoliate. Soap is mainly just processed fat. The Celts of Gaul are sometimes credited; I think by Pliny, with the invention of soap (sapo) and may have used sheep tallow to make it. I'm not sure rubbing one's body with a product made from the fat of slaughtered animals is inherently more aesthetic or clean than using olive oil.


After a thorough cleansing at the Roman Baths, a moisturizing layer of cold cream is applied. This recipe dates to the second century and was devised by Galen. A foundation layer of white paste is applied. The rich favored white lead (pretty but poisonous), safer alternatives include chalk and orris root.


BEIJING, Nov. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- A cosmetic face cream used by fashionable women in ancient Roman times has been analyzed by scientists at Bristol University, UK, and now reproduced. The cream was found to be composed of refined animal fat, starch and tin, China Radio International reported on Thursday. "The researchers then created their own version from the same recipe. The smooth powdery texture, created by the starch in the cream copy, is still used for whitening women's skin in modern cosmetics.


Researchers say white face paint was fashionable in Roman times and normally derived its color from a lead compound, but the health risks of lead were not recognized until second century AD.


The results of this unique opportunity to analyze the ingredients of the 'foundation' cream are reported in Nature this week. The metal container was discovered at an ongoing archaeological dig in London, UK. It is believed to be the only one ever found intact and in good condition.


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This article is very interesting so I included it. The recipe for Galen's cream can be found in the September FTSO. The article and recipe were submitted to me by Lady Sayna of Lincoln, the current Madrone Arts and Sciences Champion.


After the cream a foundation layer of white paste is applied. The rich favored white lead (pretty but poisonous), safer alternatives include chalk and orris root A healthy glow is restored with a rouge made from red ochre. Roman writers commented on the excessive use of rouge by fashionable young ladies.


Eyes receive special attention. Using a cosmetic grinder (something the British did for the Romans) kohl, made with lamp-black or galena is applied to the eyes and brows. A dramatic effect is aimed for with brows emphasized.


Eye shadow made from saffron is applied. This expensive spice was loved by the Romans, who also added it to perfumes as well as food. Lips are made up with a lip salve tinted with alkanet root and ochre.


A Roman ladies hair was often dressed with bone pins and a ribbon. A lavish application of perfume- perhaps Krocinion or Megalion, finishes the look.

(The Roman Makeover )


Ancient Celts


An oval face, broad above and narrow below, golden hair, fair skin, white, delicate, well-formed hands, with slender tapering fingers: these were considered by the ancient Irish as marking the type of beauty and aristocracy. Among the higher classes the finger-nails kept carefully cut and rounded: and beautiful nails are often mentioned with commendation. It considered shameful for a man of position to have rough unkempt nails. Crimson-colored fingernails were greatly admired. In the Ta/in a young lady is described as having, among other marks of beauty, "regular, circular, crimson nails"; and ladies sometimes dyed them this color. Deirdre, uttering a lament for the sons of Usna, says:


"I sleep no more, and I shall not crimson my nails: joy shall ever again come upon my mind."


Ladies often dyed the eyebrows black with the juice of some sort of berry.  The Irish missionary monks sometimes painted or dyed their eyelids black. An entry in Cormac's Glossary plainly indicates that the blush of the cheeks was sometimes heightened by a coloring matter obtained from a plant named ruam. The ruam was the alder: but the sprigs and berries of the elder tree were applied to the same purpose. Among Greek and Roman ladies the practice was very general of painting the cheeks, eyebrows, and other parts of the face.


The Hair


Both men and women wore the hair long, and commonly flowing down on the back and shoulders -a custom noticed by Cambrensis. The hair was combed daily after a bath. The heroes of the Fianna of Erin, before sitting down to their dinner after a hard day's hunting, always took a bath and carefully combed their long hair.


Among the higher classes in very early times great care was bestowed on the hair; its regulation constituted quite an art; and it was dressed up in several ways. Very often the long hair of men, as well as of women, was elaborately curled. Conall Cernach's hair, as described in the story of Da Derga, flowed down his back, and was done up in "hooks and plaits and swordlets." The accuracy of this and other similar descriptions is fully borne out by the most unquestionable authority of all, namely, the figures in the early illuminated manuscripts and on the shrines and high crosses of later ages. In nearly all the figures of the Book of Kells, for example (seventh or eighth century), the hair is combed and dressed with the utmost care, so beautifully adjusted indeed that it could have been done only by skilled professional hairdressers, and must have occupied much time. Whether in case of men or women, it hangs down both behind and at the sides, and is commonly divided the whole way, as well as all over the head, into slender fillets or locks, which sometimes hang down to the eyes in front. In the seventh and eight centuries this elaborate arrangement of the hair must have been universal among the higher classes: for the artist who drew the figures in the Book of Kells has represented the hair of nearly all of them dressed and curled in the manner described.


For women, very long hair has been in Ireland always considered a mark of beauty. This admiration has come down to the present; for you constantly find mentioned in the Irish popular songs of our own day, a maiden "with golden hair that swept the dew off the grass "-or some such expression.


The Beard


The men were as particular about the beard as about the hair. The common Irish names for the beard were ulcha and feaso/g [faissoge], of which the last is still in use. The fashion of wearing the beard varied. Sometimes it was considered becoming to have it long and forked, and gradually narrowed to two points. Sometimes -as shown in many ancient figures - it falls down in a single mass; while in a few it is cut rectangular not unlike Assyrian beards. Nearly all have a mustache, in most cases curled up and pointed at the ends as we often see now. In some there is a mustache without a beard: and a few others have the whole face bare. In many the beard is carefully divided into slender twisted fillets, as described above, for the hair. Kings and chiefs had barbers in their service to attend to all this. The beard that grew on the upper lip, when the lower part of the face was shaved, was called crombe/ol ('stoopmouth'), pron. crommail, what we now designate a mustache. That the ancient Irish used a razor (in Irish alt or altan) is proved by the fact that it is mentioned in our very oldest documents - such, for instance, as Cormac's Glossary and the eighth-century Milan Glosses - and in such a way as shows it to have been a very familiar article.


The Bath


Bathing was very usual, at least among the upper classes, and baths and the use of baths are constantly mentioned in the old tales and other writings. The bath was a large tub or vat usually called dabach [dauvagh]. In the better class of lay houses a bath was considered a necessary article. There was a bath for the use of visitors in the guest-house of every monastery ; and we are told in the law books that every brewy had in his house a bathing-vessel. Kings and chiefs were in the habit of bathing and anointing themselves with oil and precious sweet-scented herbs. So Ulysses bathes and anoints himself with olive oil after being shipwrecked on the coast of Phaeacea. As the people had a full bath some time down late in the day, they did not bathe in the morning, but merely washed their hands; for which purpose they generally went out immediately after rising and dressing, to some well or stream near the house. This practice is constantly referred to. In both washing and bathing they used soap (sleic, pron. slake).


Small Toilet Articles


Mirrors of polished metal must have been common from very early times, for they are often mentioned; generally by one or the other of the two names, scatha/n [skahan] and scadarc [sky-ark]. The great antiquity of the article is shown by its mention in the Zeuss Glosses, where the old form scaterc is derived from sca/th-derc, 'shadow-seeing,' or a 'shadow see-er.' From sca/th [skaw], 'a shadow,' is also derived the other name scatha/n, which is merely a diminutive form. Small articles of the toilet and especially combs, were kept by women in a little bag which they carried about with them, called a ci/orbholg [keerwolg], i.e. 'comb-bag'. (ci/or, 'a comb,' and bolg, 'a bag').


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Similarly there were mirrors and mirror bags in China and Central Asia at a very early times as well.


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Medieval Cosmetics


The concept of cosmetics as "face paint" did not really begin to resurface in Northern Europe until the 14th century. Even then, cosmetics were not commonly used outside of the bawdy trades. The one exception to that rule seems to be "blanchete" or wheat flour. Women whose complexions were "ruined" by the sun used blanchete on their faces to regain the roses and lily complexions, which were so prized by the chivalric ideal. This ideal colored the perception of beauty until the end of the SCA period It is during the Renaissance that the use of cosmetics crossed trade and station boundaries to become popular with almost everyone.


Boccaccio's Decameron (14th century) mentions washing waters in a love scene (from the translation by Richard Aldington, courtesy Melandra of the Woods):


"Without permitting anyone else to lay a hand on him, the lady herself washed

Salabaetto all over with soap scented with musk and cloves. She then had herself

 washed and rubbed down by the slaves. This done, the slaves brought two fine and

 very white sheets, so scented with roses that they seemed like roses; the slaves

wrapped Salabaetto in one and the lady in the other and then carried them both on

their shoulders to the bed . . . They then took from the basket silver vases of great

 beauty, some of which were filled with rose water, some with orange water,

some with jasmine water, and some with lemon water, which they sprinkled upon them."


Plain handwashing waters were used at the medieval table, being water with rose or violet petals in it, or an infusion of herbs. Le Menagier de Paris (as edited & translated by Tania Bayard), says:

"To make water for washing hands at table: Boil sage, then strain

the water and cool it until it is a little more than lukewarm. Or use

chamomile, marjoram, or rosemary boiled with orange peel. Bay

leaves are also good.



The 16th and 17th Centuries


One of Shakespeare's most popular sonnets pokes fun at the common metaphors used to describe the ideal beauty:

"My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun
Coral is far more fair then her lips fair
If snow be white, why then, her breast is dun,
If hair be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks..."


The ideal Elizabethan female: bright eyes, snow-white skin, red cheeks and lips, and fair hair. A fair approximation of this ideal can be found in Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester and cousin to Queen Elizabeth herself, who was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women at court.


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Pale skin was a sign of nobility, wealth, and (for women) delicacy, and was sought after by many. In a time when skin problems and the pox were commonplace, sunscreen unheard of, and skin creams and ointments out of reach for all but the well-off, smooth, unblemished and pale skin was a rarity.


This pale skin could be achieved by a number of means, the most popular being ceruse, a mixture of white lead and vinegar that was favored by the nobility and by those who could afford it. This white foundation was applied to the neck and bosom as well. The first record of this skin-whitener was found in 1521, and by the time of Elizabeth's reign was well-established as an essential item for the fashionable woman. Naturally, spreading lead upon one's skin caused a variety of skin problems; some authors of the time warned against it, describing how it made the skin "grey and shrivelled", and suggesting other popular mixtures such a paste of alum and tin ash, sulpher, and a variety of foundations made using boiled egg white, talc, and other white materials as a base. Egg white, uncooked, could also be used to "glaze" the complexion, creating a smooth shell and helping to hide wrinkles.


Face paint, generally referred to in period as fucus, came in a variety of reds and was used mainly upon the cheeks and lips. Madder, cochineal, and ochre-based compounds were all used as blush and lip-color, but vermilion (mercuric sulfide) was the most popular choice of the fashionable court lady. Apparently this color could be laid on quite thick; One Elizabethan satirist commented that an artist needed no box of paints to work, but merely a fashionably painted lady standing nearby to use for pigments.


Remedies for spots, blemishes, acne and freckles ranged from the application of lemon-juice or rosewater to dubious concoctions of mercury, alum, honey and eggshells. Indeed, washing one's face with mercury was a common period "facial peel" used to make a woman's skin soft and fresh. Ass's milk was another substance favored by the nobility, and mentioned as an ingredient in baths and washes.


Lettice's features also approximate the 16th century standard of beauty--a small, rosy mouth, a straight and narrow nose, and wide-set bright eyes under narrow arched brows were the theoretical "ideal" of the time. Women would use drops of belladonna in their eyes to achieve that bright sparkle, and outline them with kohl (powdered antimony) to enhance their size or make them appear more wide set. Plucked eyebrows were de rigueur for a court lady, as was a high brow. A high hairline had been for centuries a sign of the aristocracy--Women would pluck their brow hair back an inch, or even more, to create a fashionably high forehead.


Blonde or red-gold hair such as Lettice's were also eagerly sought after. Dozens of recipes for bleaching hair existed, some of them quite noxious; urine was one substance used. If a woman couldn't achieve the color she wanted, she could wear false hair instead-a very common practice in Elizabethan times. Some women went bald and wore wigs rather than struggle with their own locks. It is no accident that Queen Elizabeth possessed almost all of the traits discussed above-golden-red hair, grey, wide-set eyes, very pale skin and narrow brows--she was a guiding force in late 16th century English fashion, more so than almost any monarch before or since. Women strove to imitate her curly red hair and coloring.


One of the most surprising--and appalling--aspects of 16th century make-up was the poisonous nature of many of the cosmetics. If an authenticity-bent re-enactor was truly interested in recreating a "period" make-up job, she could be taking her life into her own hands. In addition, the blatant artificiality of period makeup would look ludicrous to modern eyes. Most Elizabethan re-enactors interested in adding period make-up to their ensemble settle for a modern "interpretation" of the period look-a pale foundation with a light dusting of white powder for the face, black or grey eyeliner to take the place of kohl, and matte red lipstick of an ochre or brick color. A light application of blush, placed in an oval along the cheekbone rather than underneath, is enough unless one is playing a courtesan; if you choose, you may either pluck or draw in high, arched eyebrows to complete the look. Achieving the high plucked brow requires serious stage makeup or serious pain.


Of course, all this is for the court lady. The lower and middle classes didn't have the time or resources to devote to serious makeup; young merchant's wives were somewhat notorious for their fancy dress and fashionable makeup, but otherwise you needn't bother.


As for the hair, tightly curling the front portion and arranging it into rolls on either side of the head is a very Elizabethan practice. False hair was commonly used as well, and is sometimes easier to manage than one's own locks.


Many of the compounds and chemicals used in cosmetics were purchased from the Apothecary; The more home grown face creams, waters and blemish Removers could be made from the herb gardens at the ladies home.


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"Do you know Doctor Plaster-face? by this curd, he is the most exquisite in forging of veins, spright'ning of eyes, dyeing of hair, sleeking of skins, blushing of cheeks, surphling of breasts, blanching and bleaching of teeth, that ever made an old lady gracious by torchlight".

Ben Marston, The Malcontent.


"The ceruse or white Lead, wherewith women use to paint themselves was, without doubt, brought in use by the divell, the capitall enemie of nature, therwith to transforme humane creatures, of fair, making them ugly, enormious and abominable....a man might easily cut off a curd or cheese-cake from either of their cheeks."

Thomas Tuke,A treatise against Painting and Tincturing of Men and Women


Here are some period recipes for cosmetics taken from different sources.

Recipes taken from Ruscelli:


Recipe for Ceruse (white foundation): "take talcum and burned tin, heat them together in a glassmaker's furnace for three or four days, and mix the resulting ashes with green figs or distilled viniger."


Recipe for fucus (red face paint): "Mix Cochineal with the white of hard-boiled egs, the milk of green figs, plume alum, and gum arabic."


Recipe for fucus: "steep brasil well in water for two days and then mix it with two ounces of fish glue that hath itself been steeped in white wine for five or six days."


Milton Carrol, The Elizabethan Woman


"To make a redde colour for the face. Take red sandall finely stamped, and strong Vinegar twice distilled, then put into it as much sandal as you wil, and let it boile faire and softely, and put to it also a little rock alume stamped, and you shal have a very perfect red."

Giovanni Ruscelli (Alessio), The secretes of reverende maister Alexis of Piemount, 1568


"To make the hair yellow as golde. Take the rine or scrapings of Rubarbe, and stiepe it in white wine, or in cleere lie; and after you have washed your head with it, you shall weatte your hairs with a Spoonge or some other cloth, and let them drie by the fire, or in the sunne; after this weatte them and drie them againe."

Giovanni Ruscelli (Alessio), The secretes of reverende maister Alexis of Piemount, 1568


"Take three drachms each of crystal, flint, white marble, glass and calcined rock salt, two drachms each of calcined cuttlefish bone and small sea-snail shells, half a portion each of pearls and fragments of gemstones, two drachms of the small white stones which are to be found in running water, a scruple of amber and twenty-two grains of musk. Mix them well together and grind them into the finest powder on a marble slab. Rub the teeth with it frequently and, if the gums have receded, paint a little rose honey on them. The flesh will grow back in a few days and the teeth will be perfectly white."">9




One item frequently listed with these recipes is the pomander or "scent apple," which was a solid perfume carried in a decorative holder. There are a number of pomander recipes that have survived. The following recipe is from 1573


"To Make a pomander
Take Benjamin one ounce, of storar calamite half an ounce, of laudanum the eigth[h] part of an ounce. Beat them to powder and then put them into a brazen [brass] ladle with a little damask [water] or rose water. Set them over the fire of coals till they be dissolved and be soft like wax. Then take them out and chafe them between your hands as ye do wax. Then have these powders ready finely searched [sifted]: of cinnamon, of cloves, of sweet sanders [sandalwood], gray or white, of each of these three powders half a quarter of an ounce. Mix these powders with the other and chafe them well together. If they be too dry, moisten them with some of the rose water left in the ladle, or other. If they wax cold, warm them upon a knife's point over a chafing dish of coals. Then take of ambergris, of musk, and civet, of each three grains. Dissolve the ambergris in a silver spoon over hot coals. When it is cold make it small, put to it your musk and civet. Then take your pome that you have chased and gathered together, and by little and little (with some sweet water if need be) gather up the amber, musk, and civet, and mix them up with your ball, till the be perfectly incorporated. Then make one ball or two of the lump, as ye think good, for the weight of the whole is about two ounces. Make a hole in your ball and so hang it by a lace."">13


There is a scented lye-based soap recipe in The treasurie of commodious conceits, & hidden secrets by John Partridge (Imprinted at London : By Richarde Iones, 1573).


"To Make Muske Soape Take stronge lye made of chalk, and six pounde of stone chalk: iiii, pounde of Deere Suet, and put them in the lye; in an earthen potte, and mingle it well, and kepe it the space of forty daies, and mingle and [styr? fyr?] it, iii, or, iiii times a daye, tyll it be consumed, and that, that remayneth, vii, or, viii, dayes after, then you muste put a quarter of an ounce of Muske, and when you have done so, you must [sty?re] it, and it wyll smell of Musk."


From Hugh Plat (Delights for Ladies):

"Diverse sorts of sweet handwaters made suddenly or extempore with extracted oyles of spices.


First you shall understand, that whensoever you shall draw any of the Oyles of Cinnamon, Cloves, Mace, Nutmegs or such like, that you shall have also a pottle or a gallon more or lesse, according to the quantity which you draw at once, of excellent sweet washing water for your table; yea some doe keepe the same for their broths, wherein otherwise they should use some of the same kinds of spice.


But if you take three or foure drops only of the oyle of Cloves, Mace, or Nutmegs (for Cinamon oyle is too costly to spend this way) and mingle the same with a pinte of faire water, making agitation of them a pretty while togther in a glasse having a narrow mouth, till they have in some measure incorporated themselves together, you shall find a very pleasing and delightful water to wash with and so you may alwaies furnish yourself of sweet water of severall kinds, before such time as your guests shall be ready to sit downe. I speake not of the oyle of Spike (which will extend very far this way) both because every Gentlewoman doth not like so strong a scent and for that the same is elsewhere already commended by another Author. Yet I must needs acknowledge it to be the cheaper way, for that I assure myself there may be five or six gallons of sweet water made with one ounce of the oyle, which you may buy ordinarily for a groat at the most."


The Manual de Mujeres gives a perfume recipe which may or may not be a body perfume:


109 Pasticas de olor para perfumar


Dos libras de agua rosada y una libra de agua de azahar, una libra de menjuí y media de estoraque, una onza de ámbar y media de almizcle, un cuarto de algalia. Junto todo y molido, ponerlo con el agua en una redoma, y poner la redoma al fuego sobre unas brasas. Menearlo con un palo y cueza hasta que mengüe de tres partes la una. Y desque haya menguado, sacar de aquella pasta y hacerla, si quisieres pasticas, y si no, guardarla así en pasta.


109 Scented tablets for perfuming


Two pounds of rose water and a pound of citrus blossom water, a pound of benzoin and half of balsam, an ounce of amber and half of musk, a quarter of civet [musk].  All together and ground, put it with the water in a flask, and put the flask on the fire over some embers.  Stir it with a stick and cook until it reduces three parts [from?] one.  And when it is reduced, remove the paste from that and make it [into tablets], if you wish tablets, and if not, keep it thus in paste.

(Text from; translation by Dana Huffman)




Angeloglou, Maggie. A History of Make-up. London, 1970.


Bayard,Tania (Trans. & edited) A Medieval Home Companion: Housekeeping in the fourteenth century. (from  Le menagier de Paris) by. (NY: HarperCollins, 1991)


Boeser, Knut, ed. The Elixirs of Nostradamus: Nostradamus' original recipes for elixirs, scented water, beauty potions and sweetmeats [1552]. London, 1994.


Corson, Richard. Fashions in Makeup: From Ancient to Modern Times. New York, 1972.


Culpeper, Nicholas. Culpeper's Complete Herbal. Published by W. Foulsham & Co, New York. ISBN: 0-572-00203-3.


Dioscorides Pedanius, of Anazarbos. The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides: illustrated by a Byzantine, A. D. 512; Englished by John Goodyer, A. D. 1655; edited and first printed, A. D. 1933, by Robert T. Gunther ... with three hundred and ninety-six illustrations.


Ellis, Aytoun  The Essence of Beauty. A history of parfume & cosmetics. New York: MacMillan, 1960, New York


Freeman, Margaret B.  Herbs for the Medieval HouseHold: for Cooking, Healing, and Divers Uses. (NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1943). ISBN: 0-87099-776-9 *


Furnivall, Frederick, ed. Caxton's Book of Curtesye. (printed at Westminster about 1477-8). London, 1868.


Gunn, Fenja,  The Artificial Face. A History of Cosmetics. Newton Abbot. David & Charles. 1973


Hildegarde of  Bingen. Hildegard von Bingen's Physica: the complete English translation of her classic work on Health and Healing. Trans. from the Latin by Patricia Throop. (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts, 1998). ISBN 0-89281-661-9


Joyce, P.W. M.A. (One of the Commissioners for the Publication of the Ancient Laws of Ireland ) (President of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, Ireland )A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland Treating Of :The Government, Military System, and Law ; Religion, Learning, and Art ; Trades, Industries, and Commerce ; Manners, Customs, and Domestic Life, of the Ancient Irish People. Longmans, Green, and Co. London, New York, and Bombay. Dublin M.H Gill & Sons, Ltd. 1908


Markham, Gervase. The English Housewife: containing the inward and outward virtues which ought to be in a complete woman., first printed 1615. Published 1986 by McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal; edited by Michael R. Best. ISBN: 0-7735-0582-2.


McLaughlin, Terence. The Gilded Lily. London, 1972.


Morris, Edwin Scents of Time: Perfume from Ancient Egypt to the 21st Century Bulfinch Press.


Plat, Sir Hugh. Delightes for Ladies, to adorne their Persons, Tables, Closets, and Distillatories: with beauties, bouquets, perfumes & waters (1609). Introduction by G. E. Fussell, and Kathleen Rosemary Fussell. London, 1948.


Romm, Sharon. The Changing Face of Beauty. St. Louis, 1992.




The Roman Makeover Site created 29/10/01; last update 16/02/2004 Sally Pointer


Elizabethan Make-up 101 by">Drea Leed">


The Painted face By Danielle Nunn-Weinberg">


Glossary of Ingredients


Alum --A white transparent mineral salt Ambergris --An odiferous wax-like substance of ashy marbled color, made from the intestines of the sperm whale
Belladonna --The specific name of the deadly nightshade, used cosmetically to enlarge the pupil of the eye.
Benjamin --Gum benzoin (a dry and brittle resinous substance with a fragrant odor and slightly aromatic taste).
Buffin cloth --A coarse cloth.
Calamus Aromaticus --Some Eastern aromatic plant or plants (supposed by some to be the sweet scented lemongrass of Malabar). Applied by some English herbalists to the native Sweet Flag or Sweet Rush.
Ceruse --A name for white lead.
Civet --A musk-like substance obtained from sacs or glands in the anal pouch of several animals of the civet genus.
Dittany --A labiate plant, formerly famous for its alleged medicinal values.
Drachms --A weight approximately equivalent to the Greek coin, the Drachma. In Apothecaries weight it equals 60 grains or 1/8th of an ounce.
Fucus --A paint or cosmetic for beautifying the skin, or a wash or colour for the face.
Graines --A unit of weight equal to1/5760th of a pound troy or 1/7000th of a pound avoirdupois.
Kohl --A cosmetic powder used around the eye that usually consisted of finely powdered antimony.
Labdanum --A resinous balsamic substance.
Laudanum --A name for various preparations in which opium was the main ingredient.
Lignum Aloes --A type of tree.
Limbek --(alembic) - An apparatus formerly used in distilling consisting of a gourd shaped vessel containing the substance to be distilled surmounted by the head or cap or the alembic proper the beak of which conveyed the vaporous products to a receiver in which they were condensed.
Lye --Alkalized water made from vegetable ashes used for washing.
Marshmallow --A shrubby herb that grows near salt marshes.
Mastic --A gum or resign exuded from the bark of an evergreen shrub.
Musk --An odiferous reddish-brown substance secreted in a gland or sac by the male musk deer.
Oil of Vitriol --Concentrated sulphuric acid.
Sandiver --A liquid saline found floating over the glass after vitrification.
Searce --A sieve or strainer.
Storar calamite --A fossil plant.
Storax --A fragrant gum resin.
Sublimate --A solid product of sublimation, especially in the form of a compact crystalline cake
Verdigris --A green rust naturally forming on copper and brass.


Copyright 2011 by Marilee Humason <stasiwa at>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at