The Toilet of Flora


The Toilet of Flora
The Toilet of Flora

The Toilet of Flora is “a collection of the most simple and approved methods of preparing baths, essences, pomatums, powders, perfumes, and sweet-scented water with receipts for cosmetics of every kind, that can smooth and brighten the skin, give force to beauty, and take off the appearance of old age and decay.” published originally in 1779.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of the receipts provided therein so that we may, god forbid, take off the appearance of old age and decay.

Let’s start with a remedy for Corns on the Feet (as you do). Roast a Clove of Garlic, or an Onion, on a live coal or in hot ashes; apply it to the corn, and fasten it on with a piece of cloth. This softens the corn to such a degree, as to loosen and wholly remove remove it in two or three days.

How about A Coral Stick for the Teeth? Make a stiff paste with Tooth Powder and a sufficient quantity of Mucilage of Gum Tragacanth: form with this Paste little cylindrical Rollers, the thickness of a large goose quill, and about three inches in length. Dry them in the shade. The method of using this stick is to rub it against the teeth, which becomes cleaner in proportion as it wastes.

Maybe you’d like you’re worried about your child having excess hair on his forehead. Try A Simple Depilatory.  All you need is Oil of Walnuts frequently rubbed on a child’s forehead to prevent the hair from growing on that part.

Frida_Kahlo_(self_portrait)If you have a hankering to Change your Eyebrows black, First wash your eyebrows with a decoction of Gallo Nuts; then wet them with a pencil or a little brush dipped in a solution of Green Vitriol, in which a little Gum Arabic has been dissolved, and when dry, they will appear of a beautiful black colour.

feetAnd I leave you with a remedy for that ever-troubling problem, Moist Feet: Take twenty pounds of Lee made of the Ashes of the Bay Tree, three handfuls of Bay Leaves, a handful of Sweet Flag, with the same quantity of Calamus Aromaticus, and Dittany of Crete; boil the whole together for some time, then strain off the liquor, and add two quarts of Wine. Steep your feet in this bath an hour every day, and in a short time they will no longer exhale a disagreeable smell.

You’re on your own to find sources of Calamus Aromaticus and Dittany of Crete.  Let me know how you do.

Do take a look at Toilet of Flora.  It’s all there on Google Books.  Yes, most of these receipts are hilarious from where we sit, but some of them might be useful, if not for moist feet, then for authorial purposes.  Enjoy.


About Myretta

Myretta is a founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a major Jane Austen destination on the web. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, and on Twitter @Myretta.
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9 Responses to The Toilet of Flora

  1. Elena Greene says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Myretta. That recipe for stinky feet actually sounds kind of pleasant–or maybe I just find the idea of sitting still and soaking my feet for an hour appealing!

  2. Myretta, you find the most interesting gems!! I think I am more interested in finding a new recipe for a perfume or sweet water that my new wip heroines (and the heroes who smell them) can enjoy, but this looks like a great place to go hunting for some. Thanks for sharing both the source and the laughs!

  3. Myretta says:

    Elena, I think I’d be more comfortable sticking my feet into the soak if I knew what Dittany of Crete was.

    • Elena Greene says:

      Dittany is some sort of a plant, I’m pretty sure. So I guess I am imagining some sort of nice herbal concoction. OTOH who knows? Plants can be poisonous, smelly or dye your feet green, I suppose!

  4. Myretta says:

    Hi Gail. My library is a never failing source of blog topics (and it comes in useful for research, too).

  5. Nan says:

    I did a Google search for some of the items you mentioned (Ok, MOST of the items you mentioned), but the only hits I got on “Gallo nuts” were Pico de Gallo recipes. LOL

  6. Great resource, Myretta ! I’m not certain I want my feet to smell like wine, but the other ingredients sound promising. Another item to take up hours reading when I should be writing. Sigh.

  7. I love such old recipes for beauty products or for medicine!

  8. Pingback: Ladies of Ill-Repute » Risky Regencies

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