An Empress’ Advice On How To Treat A Sunburn

If you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sunny spring and summer months, you’re gonna tan and even get a sunburn. In the past, when sunscreen wasn’t around yet, royal and noble women would use parasols to shield their faces from the sun’s rays and keep their complexions as fair and natural as possible. Fair skin was, in fact, at the time a sign of nobility and status as it showed that you didn’t have to work for long hours in the fields.

But not every woman cared about that. Some just wanted to enjoy the outdoor life and spent hours riding or walking outside. One such woman was the Grand Duchess Catherine of Russia, the future Catherine The Great. After a spring spent this way, her face had become pretty sunburned. What could she do about it? Luckily the Empress Elizabeth I of Russia came to the rescue with a special elixir.

Here’s how Catherine recalled the episode:

I rode constantly all day; no one stopped me and I could break my neck if I wished. But because I had spent the spring and part of the summer constantly outdoors, I had become very tanned. The empress, seeing me, was shocked by my cracked, red face and told me that she would send me a rinse to get rid of my sunburn and make my face soft again. She sent me a bottle with a liquid composed of lemon juice, egg white and French brandy. In a few days my sunburn disappeared and since then I have always used this mixture.

Aren’t you glad that now, thanks to sunscreen, we can enjoy the sun safely?

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  1. Lily says

    Interesting! I’m very glad indeed. I love beauty history posts. The one you did on Empress Sissi is one of my favourites.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Lily, I’m so glad you enjoy this type of posts. Beauty history is a fascinating subject, isn’t it?

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Icaria, I agree with you that that was the best they could come with considering the ingredients available at the time. And at least they didn’t add lead or anything nasty like that.

      And thank goodness we know so much more about skincare and have better ingredients available nowadays!!

  2. Janessa says

    I was seriously so excited to see a history beauty post! :] I am so glad there’s sunscreen!
    Today, I hauled some lovely beauty products! At a department store, they had Korres products on sale. They came in cardboard boxes as a skincare set and I got two sets. One had a yoghurt mask, yoghurt cream (both full-sizes), and travel sized white tea cleanser and evening primrose eyecream for just $15! :O Gasp. The expiry date is 10/2013 too. The other was the Querecetin and Oak line (day and night cream, serum, eye cream, milk foaming cleanser which cost $17 total.
    I picked up some Tarina Tarantino when I went the Sephora store as they had nearly all the lipstick colors available! :] I got “Showroom” which is a light pink with a tiny bit of yellow making it look *barely coral.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Janessa, I’m glad you liked the post.

      Those Korres sets sound like great value for money. And Showroom seems a lovely colour! Enjoy your goodies and let me know how you like once you’ve used them. :)

  3. Janessa says

    Even though she got sunburnt, I’m glad she enjoyed herself and I bet it must have been a bore to stay indoors all day.

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