Today it would seem strange if we bought a cook book and it had tips and recipes for home repair products or cough remedies but it was very common to find this combination in a cook book in 1906. It’s a bit like modern women’s magazines that have recipes, fashion, beauty and health tips and decorating ideas all in one package. The 1906 Berlin Cook Book has a section called Miscellaneous that includes a recipe for A Lotion for the Face. The recipe isn’t credited to anyone but is a typical example … an example that doesn’t have any dangerous or completely obscure ingredients at least.
My new kitchen floor was installed yesterday but my kitchen appliances are still sitting useless in the living room. This recipe can be made without a stove (at least in our modern world). I used water hot from the tap but I could probably have hunted for my electric kettle if the water needed to be boiled. I measured 2 cups (1 pint) of hot water into a jug and used a shot glass to measure an ounce of rose water. Rose water is available in many places. The most inexpensive way to buy it for this purpose is in a store specializing in food from the middle east.
The next ingredient needed is Florida water. This citrus scented cologne was used in a number of ways in the past. I have vague memories of seeing it in barber shops when I was a child and accompanied various “men folk” to that mysterious world of hot towels, straight razors, elevator chairs and interesting bottles on mirror backed shelves. It is still possible to get Florida water but I haven’t seen it locally. Apparently it can be ordered over the internet – a very modern way to buy a product first seen in the early 1800s. It was named for the idea that Florida held the fountain of youth. No wonder it is used in this lotion. I have a eau de cologne from Germany that is very similar to Florida water but it is currently packed away along with most of my possessions so I’m substituting orange blossom water with a little rubbing alcohol added. The orange water is an edible product available in middle eastern stores alongside the rose water. I poured almost an ounce of orange water into the jug and added a few drop of rubbing alcohol. Be sure not to consume any of this after you add alcohol.
I used my kitchen scale to measure 8 ounces (1 cup) of epsom salt. That’s a product I keep on hand to make my own bath salts. It’s available at most drug stores and in some bulk food stores. I stirred everything together and even had some bottles with corks to store the lotion.
It is a hot summer day and even at my age my skin becomes oily in this weather — the perfect time to test A Lotion for the Face. I poured some into my hands and started rubbing it on my face. It smelled nice and was very soft on my skin. Now a few minutes later I’m sitting here with non oily skin feeling refreshed. However, if you chose to make and/or use it you do so at your own risk. Be careful if you have dry skin or allergies. Do a test. I’d avoid adding the alcohol if you have dry skin and perhaps watch the amount of epsom salts. Don’t put any of this liquid on your lips or get it in your eyes and of course DO NOT DRINK IT!!. I’ll keep you posted as to whether my skin turns funny colours or I get a rash.
A LOTION FOR THE FACE
This lotion is of good service in an oily and shiny condition of the skin. it is also useful for an eruption of pimples on the face. It consists of the following — To a pint of hot water, add 1 ounce of rose water, and 1 ounce of Florida water, then add 8 ounces magnesium sulphate (epsom salts). Stir well, put in cork bottles. When applying to face, moisten hands with the liquid and rub on face till dry.