Beats the hell out of pinching

Yesterday’s post mentions I don’t wear face powder. Good thing it was yesterday because I haven’t figured out how to link back to another post. I have got to find some time and read all the technical tips.  Anyway I don’t wear face powder but I do have a few vintage compacts, one with shea butter the other has rouge. Not blush, rouge.  Although cosmetic use has been around for a long, long time it wasn’t until the 1920’s that retail cosmetics became widely available. Local drugstore chemists and  apothecaries made them or you made your own.  Beet juice for lips and cheeks, burnt matchsticks and hot wax for eyes and lashes and rice powder for faces were among the items girls used to make-up. And they looked fabulous. You know me, I want to do it 1920 style.

I love making beauty products and household products.  The reasons are many. I like the idea of using simple products, much the same as a gal would have used 100 years ago. I prefer as few products in my home as possible.  I LOVE saving money. And honestly I feel just a bit smug at not falling for the marketing, brand name hype.  I am however, a sucker for a little vintage pot or compact. So I fill them with shea butter, melted down lipstick or rouge.

Rouge is fairly simple to make although there are some old formulas with scary ingredients like ammonia and hydrochloric acid.  They are not needed.But color and a base/fixative are.  Carmine and safflower were most widely used for color.  The base was for dry rouge was usually talc and some sort of oil. Liquid rouge usually had a glycerin base. Essential oils or cologne to fragrance and that’s it.  The recipes I use are as follows

Classic Rouge

1/2 oz Carmine

2 oz french talc

1 oz of oil( sweet almond or olive)

fragrance oil of choice(rose oil traditionally)

Sift the carmine and talc together (I just shake in a jar) Add the oil and mix thouroughly. Press into compact with finger then place wax paper on top and lay something heavy on it to shape. You could even stamp a design into it.

I like to add a little shea butter and beeswax to make a creamy rouge.

If you like more of a stain( like Benetint):

Shred a beet root. Place in an old pot and barely cover with water. Boil until beet is limp and liquid is red/purple. Let stand until cool.

Strain into a measuring cup. Add the exact amount of glycerin to the amount of  beet water you end up with. ( I have seen a few beet stain recipes and none tell you this. Glycerin is a humectant and draws moisture. You want to even it out with the water so it doesn’t draw from your skin).

Test on your skin.You may need to apply more than once if too light.  If too dark add glycerin/water mix until desired color is acheived.


Take a Mason Jar and steep Alkanet root in sweet or olive oil(just enough to cover)3 or 4 days standing in the sun  minimum. Add to your oil the exact same amount of gycerin/water mix. Play around with amounts untill you get tint you want. Add essential oil or cologne fragrance of choice to scent(if desired). Again you may add vitamin E to preserve.

Fill into a cute vintage style bottle. I store mine in a bit of an unusual container, I’ll have a post about it soon as I take a flick. Glycerin is a preservative so this will keep a long time but you can add a little liquid vitamin E if you want to be extra sure.

Carmine is available online at diy makeup shops.

Alkanet root is available at health stores and online in herb stores.

Don’t forget for an authentic vintage look apply to apples of cheeks only!

Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hiya! Mugwump here – well, looks like a fun recipe. Aaaand, you know I’ll be enjoying those beets with dinner!
    I’m curious…would you use the same on lips? My problem is Celiac / Sprue, therefore anything wheat, barley or rye derived is a no-no (therefore most vitamin E – aka tocopherol or tocopherol acetate – is bad for me). Also, the only lip goo (I call all products like Chapstick goo, forgive me) that my lips seem to like is the Body Shop’s hemp lip protector…any ideas on how to tint lips?

    Will be reading more of your blog… 🙂

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