Beauty Shop | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Beauty Shop

February 17, 2009

Beauty Shop

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??


  1. What a fabulous post! I love discovering 18th century beauty secrets. thanks!

  2. Oh me too! So if you have any beauty secrets up your sleeve let me know!

  3. What a fabulous post. Two of my favorite things, beauty products and Marie Antoinette. Also, I'm a HUGE Lush fan and use MANY MANY of thier products.

    A good read on this topis is "A Scented Palce: The Secret History of Marie Antoinette's Perfumer" by Elisabeth De Feydeau. It was actally her research for this book that found the recipe for the fragrance you mentioned that is for sale by Versailles.

    Also, Perfume is a good book to read about the process of perfume making and such. Although technically it's fiction and a bit gory.

  4. I would love to try out the Marie Antoinette perfume from Versaille. Would definitely use it and treasure the bottle and box forever.
    -marie @ mariesmarche

  5. I want the Burt's Bees Rose Water! Thanks for the great post Lauren! You are amazing.

  6. Hi Amy! Thanks for the award!!!

    Laurel Ann, the stuff is so nice to use I have a bottle in my medicine cabinet!

    Marie - If you try the perfume you would have to tell all of us about it! I think its like 450 Euro a vile, or some other outrageous number. Fit for Queens right?

  7. Thanks, this was interesting. You and Heather have convinced me; I think I'll go to Lush this weekend and get one of their bath bombs.

    Other "secrets"? I've got a few! Actually I made a really brief post about it on my blog a few weeks ago (not nearly as nice or informative as yours though).

    Hair powder!

    Muslin cloths! Not sure if they were actually used in the 18th century, but muslin certainly was!

    My favorite rose skin tonic from CO Bigelow. Their rose water, if they still make it, is even better, and comes in a cute box and a gorgeous glass bottle.

  8. Hi there,

    I've done this for your sister sie too, nominated you for an excessively diverting blog award :-)

    Pop by sometime and pick it up!

    Kindest regards

  9. @stiletto storytime I know! I am a little sad to see this company is going out of business... sadness! I am hoping Lush will offer some of their fun items soon!

  10. Fabulous post and really informative. Am most tempted by the hand cream and scented gloves.

  11. The hand cream has been repackaged and according to Heather, it is amazing!

    Go here: Crème Anglaise