For those of your interested in 18th century makeup – recipes, application, general wear – you’ll be pleased with Litttle Bits Clothing Company’s line of Georgian beauty products for the face.
I had a chance to try out the lip salve, hair and face powder, and cheek rouge while in Colonial Williamsburg. Here are my experiences…
|Here I am wearing Litttle Bits rose lip balm, and the lavender face powder|
1772 Tinted Rose Balm Lip Salve
This stuff is pretty great. It’s Georgian chapstick, and kept my lips from going dry (I’m a chapstick addict). It smells good, and doesn’t leave a weird sticky residue on the lips.
Made with rose water and alkhanet root, the balm is slightly colored with a rose hue. It will give you just the slightest hint of color, but you have to put quite a lot on if you want a deeper tone. I found it worked really well with just the slightest dab of lipstick applied to the lips, then the balm rubbed over.
The balm comes in a little tin that is easy to slip in your pocket. I would definitely recommend this to 18th century ladies who need to keep their lips from chapping.
18th Century Lavender Hair and Face Powder
I will admit I was wary of this product at first, because (and this is just me), I hate lavender. That majorly bummed me out, because I *really* wanted to give the powder a try, so I bit the bullet and popped the can open, and much to my surprise, the smell of lavender is not at all overwhelming.
So I gave it a try on my face, over the top of regular, modern foundation, and I found the effects very lovely. It leaves a nice, silky, matte finish. I also tried the powder on my hair, and was pleased with the effects as well, though it’s good that you get 3.5 ounces, because it takes quite a lot of powder to do the hair fully (In the photo, I have applied some of this powder, but also sprayed my hair with modern aerosol temporary hair color)
|Wearing the lip balm and the lavender powder. The blush on my cheeks is modern.|
I would recommend the hair and face powder, to be sure, even for weirdos like me who don’t care for lavender.
1772 Liquid Rouge and Blush
I was most excited to try the Liquid Rouge from Litttle Bits, to get that period look and be oh-so-authentic. The rouge stays true to the original recipe, with alkhanet root, alcohol and benzoin root, rosewood oil, spearmint oil, and with the addition of vitamin E.
I applied my usual makeup base, then dipped into the rouge, rubbing the rose-colored liquid into my cheeks, but nothing happened, so I thought perhaps there was something I was missing. I wrote to Litttle Bits to ask, and here’s what a found out. Ladies! If you are using or planning to use this product, here are some things you need to know…
For the rouge, you must apply it over clean skin, without any foundation makeup on.
The rouge soaks into the skin, dries, and then brings out the color. It will tingle and feel a little funny while it dries. Litttle Bits recommended that the rouge be dabbed on, not rubbed in, and for a bolder color, you may want to apply several coats. This process gives a blotchy appearance, similar to the ruddy complexions seen on ladies in 18th century portraits.
This rouge is not for everyone. Reenactresses, you will like it, because it is one of the authentic ways that women rouged their cheeks 240 years ago. Theater gals, and general costumers, you may be less excited about it, because it does give an appearance that is a bit removed from our modern sensibilities, and it cannot be worn with other foundation makeup.
If you would like to try Litttle Bits’ makeup products, they can be found in her shop, along with lots of other cool things, on Etsy: Little Bits
ChelseaOctober 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM
I'm a chapstick addict, too! I shall have to get some of this lip salve to go with my "pocket trash" – of which I'm building up a small stash. 🙂
Laura MorriganOctober 25, 2012 at 3:20 AM
Fascinating. I am always interested in the historical products that did not contain things such as lead in them. Does the powder pale the complexion at all? I wonder how it is with sensitive skin such as mine.
The lipbalm sounds wonderful and I may try it sometime. I always use a beeswax and hemp lipbalm usually, and it works wonders.
Lauren StowellOctober 25, 2012 at 8:03 AM
Hi Laura – I did not notice that the powder lightens the complexion. I already have pasty white skin as it is, and also very sensitive skin, and there were no ill-effects from the powder.
BethOctober 25, 2012 at 5:34 AM
I've naturally got that splotchy, ruddy complexion – this tells me I really need to do some 18th C costumes!!
Lauren StowellOctober 25, 2012 at 8:03 AM
Yes! Come to the dark side!
IsisOctober 25, 2012 at 7:33 PM
I have been looking at her store, but not yet tried anything. Thanks for teh review!
Witchcrafted LifeOctober 26, 2012 at 9:37 AM
Splendid review – I'm especially intrigued by the lip salve, as I have perpetually dry lips. Off to investigate this wonderful sounding line more right now. Thank you for introducing me (us) to it.
M'ladyNovember 10, 2012 at 8:03 PM
My skin goes red n blotchy like that if I try to wear foundation. lol! Looking at old paintings and comparing, I think I must have an 18th century face.