Beauty Recipes From An 18th Century Cookery Book

Hannah Glasse was the Julia Child of her day. Born in London in 1708, but grown up in the North of England, she moved back to her birth place after her marriage to Irish soldier John Glasse. The couple had eight children. In addition to taking care of her big family, Hannah spent time writing a book, The Art of Cookery, which was published by subscription in 1747. The book was a huge success. Written in a colloquial style, it features both English staples such as Yorkshire pudding and French (although she wasn’t too fond of their cooking), Jewish and Indian recipes! But what has this to do with beauty? Well, at the end of the book, Hannah also shares a couple of DIY beauty recipes. I thought it’s be nice to share them, so here they are:

A fine lip salve

Take two ounces of virgin’s wax*, two ounces of hog’s lard, half an ounce of spermaceti**, one ounce of oil of sweet almonds, two drams of balsam of Peru, two drams of a alkanet root*** cut small, six new raisins shred small, a little fine sugar, simmer them all together a little while; then strain it off into little pots. It is the finest lip salve in the world.

*pure beeswax
**sperm-whale wax
***it is a rare pink dye

How to preserve hair and make it grow thick*

Take one quart of white wine, put in one handful of rosemary flowers, half a pound of honey, distill them together; then add a quarter of pint of oil of sweet almonds, shake it very well together, put a little of it into a cup, warm it blood warm, rub it well on your head, and comb it dry.

* This was a method practised by Mrs Dukely, Queen’s Charlotte’s tyre-woman.

If you’re interested in food history and recipes of the past, you can read the whole book, The Art Of Cookery at Google Books, for free.

Photo: Frontispiece to Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.
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    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Kuri, I’m not 100% sure but I do think it is ambergris too. It is a very interesting recipe, isn’t it?

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Amanda, I’m like you. I use only a handful of ingredients when making homemade products too eheh. :)

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Makeup Morsels, I’m so glad you enjoy mu beauty history posts. Isn’t it fascinating to find out what beauty tricks they were using in the past? I’m not really sure what the raisins were for either.. flavour maybe?

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Tammy, these recipes are fascinating, aren’t they? And it must have been hard for them not to eat/drink some of the ingredients.. :)

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