Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ancient Beauty

Do you ever wonder what women did before the invention of modern beauty treatments? Surely women had wrinkles, acne, unwanted hair and smelly armpits before the introduction of chemicalized products. So what did they do? Long before Lancome and Lauder, women were using natural ingredients to solve their beauty conundrums. Cleopatra bathed in milk, scrubbed her skin with sea salt and honey, and lined her eyes with kohl. Esther underwent twelve months of beauty preparations including daily massages with myrrh oil. Roman women waxed their legs with tree resins and made deoderant from alum, iris and rose petals.
Though some ancient recipes aren't used anymore (hello lead based face powder) many still are and have proven just as effective as their manufactured counterparts. As I've switched my beauty products out for greener, more natural alternatives, I have found that in many cases that I can make it myself, just like the women before me. Making your own beauty products is fun, economical, and best of all, it produces a safe and effective remedy for whatever beauty issues you may be having!

I have only just begun dabbling with my own recipes. So far, I have made hand salve, body scrub, and eye make up remover but I'm really excited about my latest recipe. Homemade eye cream! Despite the religious use of sunscreen, I'm starting to see little lines pop up around my eyes. Nothing major, but something I'd definitely like to slow the progress of! There are a number of lovely organic eye creams, most of which do not fit in to my budget. I came across a basic DIY eye cream recipe that I loved and tweaked a few things to suit my needs and personal tastes. To the basic coconut oil and vitamin E base I added:
  • Evening Primrose-excellent in the treatment of eczema. Used to prevent premature aging of the skin.
  • Lavender- smells good and is believed to stimulate skin cells for faster regeneration.
  • Lemon-has a tonic action on the lymphatic system, helping deflate puffiness.
  • Carrot-also known as "nature's retinol." This rejuvenating oil is used to fight premature aging and dryness.
 Here's the exact recipe I devised:

Soothing Coconut Eye Cream

2 Teaspoons Organic Coconut Oil
1 Capsule Evening Primrose Oil
1 Capsule Vitamin E Oil
2 drops of Lavender
1 drop of Lemon
3 drops of Carrot

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave. Poke holes in the vitmain E and evening primrose capsules and add to liquid coconut oil. Add your essential oils. Mix thoroughly and pour into an appropriate container. Once hardened it is ready to use. Apply sparingly each night.

For further reading on beauty treatments of the past, check out The Toilet of Flora. Published in 1784, this super fun read is "A collection of the most simple and approved methods of preparing baths, essences, pomatums, powders, perfumes, and sweet-scented waters..." The link provides a full text version of the book meaning you can read all 252 pages of colonial beauty remedies! Who knows what you might find!



  1. I love this! I am fascinated with the daily lives of ancient peoples, and have never thought about beauty routines. I am also a fan of making my own treatments. Scrubbing your body down with sugar and olive oil makes it so incredibly soft, I will never buy a body scrub again! Love the pictures of these ancient beauties!


  2. love that cream recipe. I think I'm gona try it!

  3. I have primrose capsules because I took them while pregnant. Thanks for the receipt I am going to make this, this week-end. The carrot, is it juice from a carrot?

  4. @ Good Girl-it is actually essential oil of carrot. I think carrot juice might go rancid. I got my carrot oil from a local health food store but you can find it online, perhaps at Rose Mountain Herbs. Good luck!

  5. Mmmmm...sounds good enough to eat! I need to pick up some carrot essential oil to add to my next skincare concoction!

  6. OK, Stephanie, this is awesome! I love the additions you made. I use lemon in my sugar scrub. Did you use lemon EO or juice? How is the consistency of the finished cream? I may try YOUR recipe next time. :) Thanks for linking back to my post. I thought the pictures you used and the references to the ancient remedies made for an absolutely beautiful post. Thanks for letting me know you made this! Love it!

  7. Oh la la! This sounds awesome and easy to do!

  8. I definitely will try this! I've recently fallen in love with making my own beauty products, this recipe is now next one my list.