A few weeks ago I received an email inquiring about beauty products today that are similar to those used in the 18th century. Today we have different ingredients and products, items we love are affordable because rare and expensive ingredients have been replaced with synthetics.
While I do not have a list of 18th century products you can buy today I have found some items that are along the same ideas, similar themes, or inspired by the beauty products of the time.
A major must have of the time was scented gloves! They were scented through a time consuming process of soaks in various essential oils. Some were even soaked in special waxes so that they both smelled delightful and moisturized your hands! This was very useful when you went riding because it helped prevent blisters on your hands. Not many companies are keeping this old tradition alive, but Maître Parfumeur et Gantier is! So if you want some perfumed gloves, check out their site and pick a pair. Their process is more modern and innovative but I suspect the fragrance can last much longer or even be refreshed!
This is a side note- Scented fans! They were popular in the Victorian days, but I am actually not sure if they were something of use in the 18th century. But either way you can get these scented fans for a bargain of a price, and choose the scent you want!
Crème Anglaise is a smooth skin lotion by B Never too Busy to be Beautiful, and it is an all natural vegan approved product. It reminds me of what would have been Pâte Royale hand cream used for softening and preventing chapping. Pâte Royale was created especially for Marie Antoinette. Crème Anglaise is made of natural butters and oils and goes on very lightly. It is super moisturizing and smells fab.
Rose Water was used for cleansing and keeping an nice even complexion, very very important for elegant ladies. Burt's Bees has a really nice Rose Water product that is super refreshing on the skin and it has aloe in it to soothe sensitive skin. Bonus!
Marie Antoinette had once asked her perfumer for something she could use in the bath. She was brought up to follow good hygiene practices, and something fun and scented for the bath was just a natural thought! She got special sachets which were to be put in hot water to release benefits for the skin and fragrance, which would cling to the skin. If you want something like this, you must select a Bath Bomb from Lush! The same idea, these bath bombs spin and fizz the minute they enter your tub making the water scented and extra moisturizing for your skin. They are packed with essential oils and some have extra surprises that appear in your water. I am linking to English Countryside (US site) because we all know Antoinette LOVED floral scents, and this one has just the right combination of floral and meadow to transport you completely.
A bonus to Marie Antoinette's bath sachets was that she could take the smaller ones and rub them on her skin, producing a smoothing and exfoliating effect, while adding fragrance to her skin. The result? Soft, smooth, scented skin. I think Lush follows suit here with their Body Butters. You rub these on moist skin and as they moisturize, they have great natural exfoliating bits in them for smoothing. Antoinette's sachets had almonds in them, and ta-da! Lush's Buffy Body Butter has crushed almond shells in it! (USA site)
Finally the closest you will come to a fragrance of the time is Marie Antoinette's Sillage de le Reine, created by Francis Kurkdijan. It was made using research on the queens favorite scents, and is sold by the Chateau de Versailles. It can be purchased at Versailles, but if you did buy this amazing, expensive little bottle of history, would you even use it??