Bedroom— Personal Care

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ears and ear-boring in preparation for earrings

The ordinary process of ear-boring is simple, and seldom either very painful or dangerous, although there are cases recorded of erysipelas and death having followed. The operator, be he jeweler or surgeon, holds a cork firmly against one side of the lobe of the ear, while from the other side he transfixes it with a needle or an awl, as a saddler punches a hole into a leather strap. Then a thread is passed through and left to fester, so that the opening once made may not close again.

the bazar book of decorum, 1870, p. 124-125


skin and facial hair

The depilatories of the nostrum venders for the removal of superfluous hair are dangerous. If dame or damsel should be troubled by the show of a mustache or beard, we know of no means of checking this masculine encroachment but by the patient use of the tweezers.

The American Indians are said to succeed in smoothing their faces by persistently plucking out each hair as it grows.

the bazar book of decorum, 1870, p. 35

skin and arsenic

Ever since a traveler imprudently revealed the fact that some women, of the Carpathian valleys, we believe, secured for themselves beautiful complexions by feeding on arsenic, this practice, it is said, has been more or less generally adopted, not only in Europe, but in this country. Physicians have, moreover, for a long time been in the habit of prescribing, in diseases of the skin, a preparation called Fowler's Solution, the principal constituent of which is arsenic. This remedy is considered an effective one, but its danger is so great that it is given only in the smallest doses, and its operation is watched with the utmost care and anxiety. Arsenic is one of the deadliest poisons, and no one should venture, with the remote possibility of its giving clearness to the complexion, to dabble with it.

the bazar book of decorum, 1870, p. 30

toilet recipes

to remove freckles

Bruise and squeeze the juice out of common chick-weed, and to this juice add three times its quantity of soft water. Bathe the skin with this for five or ten minutes, morning and evening, and wash afterwards with clean water.

Elder flowers treated and applied exactly in the same manner as above. When the flowers are not to be had, the distilled water from them, which may be procured. from any druggist, will answer the purpose.

A good. freckle lotion is made of honey, one ounce, mixed with one pint of luke-warm water. Apply when cold.

Carbonate of potassa, twenty grains; milk of almonds, three ounces; oil of sassafras, three drops. Mix and apply two or three times a day.

One ounce of alcohol; half a dram salts tartar; one dram oil bitter almonds. Let stand for one day and apply every second day.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 372

for pimples on the face

Wash the face in a solution composed of one teaspoonful of carbolic acid to a pint of water. This is an excellent purifying lotion, and may be used on the most delicate skin. Be careful not to get any of it in the eyes as it will weaken them.

One table-spoonful of borax to half a pint of water is an excellent remedy for cutaneous eruptions, canker, ringworm, etc.

Pulverize a piece of alum the size of a walnut, dissolve it in one ounce of lemon juice, and add one ounce of alcohol. Apply once or twice a day.

Mix two ounces of rose-water with one dram of sulphate of zinc. Wet the face gently and let it dry. Then touch the affected part with cream.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 373

wash for the hair

This is a cleanser and brightener of the head and hair, and should be applied in the morning.

Beat up the whites of six eggs into a froth, and with that anoint the head close to the roots of the hair. Leave it to dry on; then wash the head and hair thoroughly with a mixture of rum and rose-water in equal quantities.

etiquette for ladies, published 1843, p. 215

to prevent hair falling out

Ammonia one ounce, rosemary one ounce, cantharides four drams, rose-water four ounces, glycerine one ounce. First wet the head with cold water, then apply the mixture, rubbing briskly.

Vinegar of cantharides half an ounce, eau-de-cologne one ounce, rose-water one ounce. The scalp should be brushed briskly until it becomes red, and the lotion should then be applied to the roots of the hair twice a day.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 375

wash for the complexion

A tea-spoonful of the flour of sulphur and a wine-glassful of lime-water, well shaken and mixed; half a wine-glass of glycerine and a wine-glass of rose-water. Rub it on the face every night before going to bed. Shake well before using.

Another prescription, used by hunters to keep away the black flies and. mosquitoes, is said to leave the skin very clear and fair, and is as follows: Mix one spoonful of the best tar in a pint of pure olive oil or almond oil, by heating the two together in a tin cup set in boiling water. Stir till completely mixed and smooth, putting in more oil if the compound is too thick to ran easily. Rub this on the face when going to bed, and lay patches of soft cloth on the cheeks and forehead to keep the tar from rubbing off. The bed linen must be protected by cloth folded and thrown over the pillows.

The whites of four eggs boiled in rose-water; half an ounce of alum; half an ounce of sweet almonds; beat the whole together until it assumes the consistency of paste. Spread upon a silk or muslin mask, to be worn at night.

Take a small piece of the gum benzoin and boil it in spirits of wine till it becomes a rich tincture. In using it pour fifteen drops into a glass of water, wash the face and hands and allow it to dry.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 373-374

to soften the skin

Mix half an ounce of glycerine with half an ounce of alcohol, and add four ounces of rose-water. Shake well together and it is ready for use. This is a splendid remedy for chapped hands.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 374

a paste for the skin

This may be recommended in cases when the skin seems to get too loosely attached to the muscles. Boil the whites of four eggs in rose water, add to it a sufficient quantity of alum; beat the whole together till it takes the consistence of a paste. This will give, when applied, great firmness to the skin.

etiquette for ladies, published 1843, p. 218

eau de veau

Boil a calf’s foot in four quarts of river water till it is reduced to half the quantity, Add half a pound of rice, and boil it with crum of white bread steeped in milk, a pound of fresh butter and the whites of five fresh eggs; mix with them a small quantity of camphor and alum, and distil the whole.

This recipe may be strongly recommended; it is most beneficial to the skin, which it lubricates and softens to a very comfortable degree. The best manner of distilling these ingredients is in the balneum marice; that is, in a bottle placed in boiling water.

etiquette for ladies, published 1843, p. 219

to take stains out of silk

Mix together in a vial two ounces of essence of lemon and one ounce of oil of turpentine. Grease and other spots in silk must be rubbed gently with a linen rag dipped in the above composition. To remove acid-stains from silks, apply with a soft rag, spirits of ammonia.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 381

to remove stains from white cotton goods

For mildew, rub in salt and some buttermilk, and expose it to the influence of a hot sun. Chalk and soap or lemon juice and salt are also good. As fast as the spots become dry, more should be rubbed on, and the garment should be kept in the sun until the spots disappear. Some one of the preceding things will extract most kinds of stains, but a hot sun is necessary to render any one of them effectual.

Scalding water will remove fruit stains. So also will hartshorn diluted with warm water, but it will be necessary to apply it several times.

Common salt rubbed on fruit-stains before they become dry will extract them.

Colored cotton goods that have ink spilled on them, should be soaked in lukewarm sour milk.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 382

remedy for burnt kid or leather shoes

If a lady has had the misfortune to put her shoes or slippers too near the stove, and thus had them burned, she can make them nearly as good as ever by spreading soft-soap upon them while they are still hot, and then, when they are cold, washing it off. It softens the leather and prevents it drawing up.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 383

remedy for corns

Soak the feet for half an hour two or three nights successively in a pretty strong solution of common soda. The alkali dissolves the indurated cuticle and the corn comes away, leaving a little cavity which, however, soon fills up. Corns between the toes are generally more painful than any others, and are frequently so situated as to be almost inaccessible to the usual remedies. They may be cured by wetting them several times a day with spirits of ammonia.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 383-384

inflamed eyelids

Take a slice of stale bread, cut as thin as possible, toast both sides well, but do not burn it; when cold soak it in cold water, then put it between a piece of old linen and apply, changing when it gets warm.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 384

to remove a tight ring

When a ring happens to get so tight on a finger that it cannot be removed, a piece of string, well soaped, may be wound tightly round the finger, commencing at the end of the finger and continued until the ring is reached. Then force the end of the twine between the ring and finger, and as the string is unwound, the ring will gradually be forced off.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 388

to cure warts

Take a piece of raw beef steeped in vinegar for twenty-four hours, tie it on the part affected. Apply each night for two weeks.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 390


To remove the unpleasant odor produced by perspiration, put two tablespoonfuls of the compound spirit of ammonia in a basin of water, and use it for bathing. It leaves the skin clear, sweet and fresh as one could wish. It is perfectly harmless, very cheap, and is recommended on the authority of an experienced physician.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 395

to remove flesh worms

Flesh worms, or little black specks, which appear on the nose, may be removed by washing in warm water, drying with a towel, and applying a wash of cologne and liquor of potash, made of three ounces of the former to one ounce of the latter.

our deportment, published 1882, p. 395