Moisturizer and Lotion Recipes – Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes

Moisturizer and Lotion Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes

Face and skin care was very important in the Victorian and Edwardian era. So in this part of my Victorian and Edwardian beauty series, I’m sharing with you historical recipes for DIY natural face moisturizers, skin and body lotions and lotion bars.


Glycerin Lotion (Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, 1872)
  • 1 oz glycerin
  • 19 oz distilled or soft water, or rosewater or elderflower water

Mix both together. For skin, and hair; ‘preferable to milk of almonds’.


Honey Balsam (Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, 1872)
  • 4 av oz pale honey
  • 1 oz glycerin
  • 1 imperial fl oz rectified spirit
  • 6 drops essence of ambergris

Unite ‘by a gentle heat; when cold,’ add spirit and essence of ambergris, ‘and at once bottle it. Used to soften and whiten the skin, prevent chaps, etc.’


Moisturizer and Lotion Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes


Honey Balsam (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 2 av oz honey
  • 1 av oz grated castile soap
  • 26 fl oz oil of sweet almonds
  • 1 fluiddrachm oil of bitter almonds
  • 1/2 fluiddrachm oil of bergamot
  • 15 drops oil of cloves
  • 1 fluiddrachm Peru balsam
  • sufficient liquor potassa


‘Mix the honey with the soap in a mortar, and add enough liquor potassa (about 1 fluidrachm) to produce a nice cream. Mix the volatile oils and balsam with the sweet almond oil, mix this with the cream, and continue the trituration until thoroughly mixed.’


Whitening Lotion (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)
  • 2 oz almond oil
  • 160 grains white wax
  • 160 grains spermaceti
  • 50 grains powdered and sifted benzoin
  • 160 grains rice starch
  • 1/2 grain carmine

Melt the waxes, add benzoin, add oil. Mix rice starch and carmine, and carefully stir into the lotion.


Milk Of Roses/ Milk Of Cucumbers (Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, 1872)
  • 1 oz oil soap
  • 5 – 6 oz rosewater or cucumber juice
  • 1 oz spermaceti
  • 1 oz white wax
  • 1 pound blanched almonds, pounded finely in a mortar
  • 3 1/2 pints rosewater or cucumber juice
  • 2 drachms rose oil
  • 8 oz alcohol

Melt the soap in 5 or 6 oz rosewater, add the waxes. Gradually add rosewater to the pounded almonds, then strain this emulsion through washed muslin. Add the emulsion to the soap mixture while stirring energetically. Mix rose oil and alcohol, and gradually add it to the cream. Strain it, let it stand for a day, and bottle it. ‘This is a highly esteemed cosmetic for the skin and complexion.’


DIY cucumber moisturizer recipe


Milk Of Cucumber (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)

A bleaching cream after vacations at the seashore or in the mountains.

  • 2 oz almond oil
  • 1/2 oz white wax
  • 1/2 oz spermaceti
  • 1 oz cucumber juice

To make cucumber juice: Chop a cucumber with peel, add a teaspoonfull of water, then ‘simmer gently until the mass is pulpy’, and strain it. Melt the waxes and oil, and add the cold cucumber juice.

-> tried


Victorian Cucumber Complexion Cream


Cucumber Complexion Cream (The Woman’s Own Book of Toilet Secrets, ca. 1896)
  • liquid from 2 overripe cucumbers
  • 20 grains white wax
  • 2 oz almond oil
  • 1/2 oz glycerine
  • 6 drops oil of roses

‘Slice cucumbers very thin, put on plate and cover with another plate for twelve hours. Melt wax and almond oil in shallow dish over hot water, and as it begins to cool, add slowly glycerine and the liquid drained from the cucumbers, lastly add oil of roses, and strain through a fine piece of muslin: beat with silver fork or spoon until cold and snowy white. Bathe the face in dew and apply cream.’

-> tried


Cucumber Complexion Cream (Chicago Tribune, 1897)

‘To make cucumber cream, which not only clears and cleanses the complexion, but it also very healing, proceed as follows: Remove the soft part from two or three cucumbers, warm it sufficiently to make it squeeze through the colander, then squeeze through a hair sieve; to half a teacupful of this add a teaspoonful of glycerine and five drops of salicylic acid; both the latter are preservatives, and if glycerine does not agree with the skin the salicylate alone will be sufficient. Add a few drops of any perfume liked, and the ointment is ready for use.’


Homemade Moisturizer and Lotion Recipes


French Cosmetique (Goodwin’s new hand book for barbers, 1884)
  • 2 oz gum arabic
  • 2 oz oil soap
  • 4 oz rosewater
  • 1/4 lb white wax
  • scent to suit

Melt gum, soap and rosewater over low heat stirring constantly, then add wax and stir till cold.


Fine Glycerin Lotion (Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, 1872)

Don’t use pure glycerin on the skin as it dries it; so before use, mix it with an equal part of water, or use this lotion.

  • 1 drachm quince seeds
  • 1/2 pint water

Boil the quince mucilage 10 minutes, then strain.

  • 3 fl oz glycerin
  • 10 fl drachms quince mucilage
  • 5 grains pulverized cochineal
  • 11/2 fl oz hot water
  • 2 fl oz alcohol
  • 8 drops (or less) rose oil
  • 1/2 drachm pulverized gum arabic
  • 8 fl oz water

Mix cochineal and hot water, add alcohol. Mix rose oil and gum arabic, gradually add the water. Mix both solutions, and filter. Add glycerin and quince mucilage, and shake well.


Victorian Jelly Of Roses Recipe


Jelly Of Roses (Heredity, Health And Personal Beauty, 1890)

‘An elegant preparation for the skin and lips.’

  • 1/2 oz finest Russian isinglass
  • 2 oz glycerine
  • 6 oz rosewater
  • 10 drops oil of roses

‘This preparation is usually kept in flexible metallic tubes, and squeezed out in small quantities as used.’

-> tried


Emollient Skin Balm (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 1/2 oz quince seed
  • 7 oz water
  • 1 1/2 oz glycerine
  • 4 1/2 oz alcohol
  • 6 grains salicylic acid
  • 10 grains carbolic acid
  • 10 drops oil of bay
  • 5 drops oil of cloves
  • 10 drops oil of orange peel
  • 8 drops oil of wintergreen
  • 2 drops oil of rose

‘Digest the quince seed in the water for 24 hours, and then press through a cloth; dissolve the salicylic acid in the alcohol; add the carbolic acid to the glycerine; put all together, shake well, and bottle.’


Rose Cream (The Woman’s Own Book of Toilet Secrets, ca. 1896)
  • 30 grains whole gum tragacanth
  • 7 oz rosewater
  • 1/2 oz alcohol
  • 1/2 oz glycerine
  • perfume to suit

Soak gum tragacanth in rosewater for 2 days, ‘strain forcibly through muslin’, add alcohol and glycerine. ‘Use immediately after bathing.’


DIY victorian natural face lotion and moisturizer recipe


Gelatine Lotion Bar (Heredity, Health And Personal Beauty, 1890)

‘The following is a convenient preparation, because it takes a solid form, and can be used in small quantities, as needed’.

  • 120 grains French gelatine (cut up into little bits)
  • 1 1/2 oz glycerin (warmed)
  • 1/2 oz warm water
  • 1-2 drops oil of roses

Dissolve the gelatine in the water, then add glycerin, shake it thoroughly, add the rose oil, pour it into moulds, ‘and put it away in a cool place until it sets. When removed from the molds, wrap it up in paraffin-paper, such as the confectioners use. In using it, first moisten the skin with water, and then apply it.’


10 thoughts on “Moisturizer and Lotion Recipes – Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes

    1. Thank you, Jann! And some of the recipes really work, such as the milk of cucumber and the cucumber complexion cream.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *