Skin Lightening Advice and Recipes from The Woman Beautiful, 1901

Pure glycerine is, perhaps, the most valuable cosmetic that modern chemistry has placed at the service of woman. It has a wonderfully beautifying effect upon the skin, whitening and softening it and making it very supple; and possesses such a solvent power over all coloring matter, that it is one of the most effective agents for bleaching a sun-browned skin. It must never, of course, be used in a concentrated form, as it abstracts so much water from the skin that it appears to burn. There are many skins with which it does not seem to agree, but probably this is because it is used in too concentrated a form. For the average skin, it should be diluted about one half with some perfumed water; orange-flower, lavender, rose, elder-flower, and violet, are all good. For sensitive or dry skins, a solution of a quarter or a third part of glycerine to the aromatic water will probably have a happy effect.

Still another efficacious powder which, used instead of soap, will whiten and soften the skin of face or hands, is made of two ounces each of powdered marshmallow root and carbonate of soda stirred into twelve ounces of barley meal. 

A refreshing toilet-water for which almost as fabulous virtues are claimed as for Hungary Water is

             EAU DES BAYADÈRES.

Oil of bergamot -- 12 grammes

Oil of citron -- 5 grammes

Oil of Portugal -- 5 grammes

Oil of neroli -- 3 grammes

Oil of petitgrain -- 3 grammes

Oil of rosemary -- 1 1/2 grammes

Otto of roses -- 2 drops

Balsam of Peru -- 3 drachms

Spirits of wine (rectified) -- 1 quart

Infuse for two to three weeks; then filter. Fifteen to twenty drops in a quarter-glass of warm water makes a most delightful lotion. Dilute it with four parts of rosewater, to fill an atomizer, as the body is sprayed while still wet from the bath. It is said to whiten the skin, make freckles grow dim, and to stimulate the functions of the skin so much as to heighten the color.


Oatmeal bags used frequently in the bath are very pleasant ; they whiten the skin and give it a velvety softness, besides imparting to it a delicate fragrance. Make the bags of cheese-cloth, about four inches square, and fill them loosely with the following mixture:


Oatmeal -- 5 pounds

Florentine orris root (powdered) -- 1 pound

Almond meal -- 1 pound

Old Castile soap, scraped to a powder -- 1/2 pound


A tonic emollient for strengthening relaxed tissues as well as whitening and softening the skin, to be massaged into face, throat, and neck after the bath, and which can be used to advantage over the whole body, is this:


Oil of sweet almonds -- 3 ounces

Oil of bitter almonds -- 10 grammes

Balsam of tolu -- 2 grammes

Benzoin -- 2 grammes

Essence of lemon -- 2 drops

Essence of cajeput -- 2 drops

The resins are powdered and triturated in the oils; keep at a gentle heat for twenty-four hours; then decant from the sediment and add the essential oils. These preparations are all valuable in correcting cutaneous disturbances, and, used for the nightly massage,will,unless internal irritations prevent, make the skin beautifully soft, white, and supple. Specially commended for use when the skin is red, dry, rough, or tanned from exposure to wind and sun, are the two following:


   Almond-oil -- 3 ounces

White wax -- 5 drachms

Spermaceti -- 5 drachms [Ed: use jojoba]

Lanoline -- 1 ounce

Oil of bitter almonds -- 1 drachm

Elder-flower water -- 3 ounces

Witch hazel -- 1 ounce

            CUCUMBER CREAM.

   Almond-oil -- 4 ounces

Spermaceti -- 1 ounce [Ed: again, jojoba wax]

White wax -- 1 ounce

Cucumber juice -- 2 ounces

Select cucumbers ripe enough for table use; cut and chop them fine; pound to a paste; and extract the juice by squeezing through a jelly-bag. Perfume with a halfdrachm of violet extract. Lettuce and iris creams, made in the same way, are claimed to possess special efficacy in healing a tanned and wind-irritated skin. The lettuce must be scalded with boiling water; let stand a few moments, then pour the water off, and pound the lettuce to a paste in a mortar or an earthen bowl; strain through a cloth. For the iris, extract the juice from the fresh flowers and the whitish parts of their stems, and obtain enough from the deep purple flower-petals to tint the cream violet color. The violet perfume is suited to both of these.