Some 18th century beauty tips (just for fun!) | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Some 18th century beauty tips (just for fun!)

September 04, 2013

Some 18th century beauty tips (just for fun!)

18th century beauty tips based on A Scented Palace: The Secret History of Marie Antoinette's Perfumer.

You always want to make sure your look works in print, and above all, elegant. Be the star of the room, catch everyone's attention!

Wash the face for a nice clean pallet. What? Sun damage? at 24? Shame! Its ok though, we can take care of that later. Cleanse the skin with lotion, and eau cosmétique de pigeon, that is, if your wallet allows.

Next apply an astringent, such as eau des charmes. This will fix up those reading lines on the forehead!

Now we are going to cover our beautiful canvas! This will hide all signs of nasty sun damage. Again! Shame! Apply thin white paste, use a brush for smoothest application Some colour theory: Keep the brightest whites on the forehead, this is where light hits you first.  Apply alabaster white around your mouth/chin.

Eau de Trianon, from the Perfumed Court collection. Based on detailed notes for the fragrance, “Parfum du Trianon”, commissioned by Marie Antoinette. I have this (my review here) and love it!
According to the fabulous Jean-Louis Fargeon, base the colour of rouge you select on your activities of the day. Late night party with friends? Choose a light demi-rouge. Spending the day at the amusement park? Go with a natural Carmine. This is my favourite choice, its first recorded appearance was in 1523, England.

Gilles Edme Petit after François Boucher, Woman at her toilette. 18th century, etching.  Musée du Louvre

Okay, lets work on our details. Eyeliner, eyeliner, eyeliner! You got them so flaunt them! Always go with black, the contrast is key here. Use a thin beauty brush and apply a line around the outside of your eyes. Now you have Pop! and look at those eyes sparkle!

Pomade. It comes in a large variety of delicious scents.

For the lips use a rouge pomade and also apply a pomade, such as cucumber pomade, to the eyebrows and lashes. Comb to make them straight.

Finally apply beauty spots liberally! Remember that placement of beauty spots has special meaning...

The night is over and you were the biggest hit at the party! now what? Well you can fall asleep in all your splendor but if you want to keep 24 year old skin forever it is suggested to remove your make up at night. Need a make up remover? Lotion of milk, lotion of sweet almonds, or lily water. Remember Take Care of Your Skin!

Read more on 18th century beauty secrets and cosmetics in:

Feydeau, Elisabeth de. 2006. A Scented Palace: The Secret History of Marie Antoinette's Perfumer. London: I.B. Tauris. 


  1. HA HA HA ...*tries to stop laughing* OMG, eau cosmétique de pigeon, oh gosh....I need to stop laughing. That's disgusting.

    But, in all serious, they did at least get the blush right. At least, in theory. They would have gone a bit overboard with it, but a *tiny* bit of red on the apples of the cheeks and on the lips does WONDERS for the complexion.

    Now, back to laughing.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I love learning about the court life.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I enjoy learning about the court life of Marie Antoinette.

  4. Hey, they did not use any eyeliner at that time? What are talking about?