Facial Cleanser And Toner – Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes

Facial Cleanser And Toner – Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes

The face should be washed just once a day with water, preferably in the evening before going to bed. To clean the face: Smear cold cream on the face, wash off the cream with Castile soap, then dip a piece of soft cloth in hot water and hold it to the face (If the water is hard, it should be mixed with a water softener.).

Afterwards, pat the face dry with soft fabric, and apply good face cream.  Chill the face thoroughly with fabric dipped in cold water, and again apply a small quantity of face cream. [It’s very similar to the ayurvedic oil cleansing method.] Protect the pillow with a soft towel. Next morning, wash the eyes with warm water. Mix 3 oz rosewater and 1 oz. alcohol (+ optional 1/2 oz. glycerine). Dip a cotton cloth in this solution and wipe the face with it. (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

Related: 200+ Historical DIY Natural Beauty Products


Facial Cleanser And Toner – Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes


Mild Rice And Almond Flour Facial Cleanser (The Druggist’s General Receipt Book, 1886)
  • 16 oz almond flour
  • 2 oz rice flour
  • 1 oz powdered soap
  • 1 oz orris powder
  • bergamot or other scent

‘It is used for cleansing the skin, and is less irritating than soap.’


Oil Cleansing (My Secrets Of Beauty, 1914)
  • olive oil

‘To keep the face cleansed from dust keep always a bottle of olive oil and a companion bottle of witch hazel on your dressing table or toilet shelf. Before going out pass a bit of cotton or a piece of soft linen that has been moistened in the oil over the face. Protect the face further by dusting it with rice powder.

Returning from out of doors remove the powder and dust by washing the face with yet more olive oil applied in the same way. […] Before retiring the face should have another of these oil baths, unless you prefer to use the cold cream which is more unwieldy and so less quickly cleanses.’


Face Toner (Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909)
  • one part milk
  • one part whisky

‘Moisten a soft towel with the mixture, after having first washed the face. The results do not follow immediately, but within a year the skin will frequently contract, become firm, fine, and soft.’


Astringent Wash For Flabby Skin (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)

‘This is used to correct coarse pores, and to remedy an oily or flabby skin. Apply with sponge night and morning:’

  • 1 1/2 oz cucumber juice
  • 1/2 oz tincture of benzoin
  • 1 oz cologne
  • 5 oz elderflower water

‘Put the tincture of benzoin in an 8-ounce bottle, add the other ingredients, previously mixed, and shake slightly. There will be some precipitation of benzoin in this mixture, but it will settle out, or it may be strained out through cheese cloth.’


Watermelon Toner (Housekeeper’s Handy Book, 1913)

‘The water from the watermelon is most soothing to the face, and it is claimed that if applied continuously it will often remove freckles.’


walking in the rain as facial toner: Victorian And Edwardian Beauty Routine And Recipes
My Edwardian cycling costume


Walking in the rain, for persons who are not susceptible to cold, is an excellent tonic for the complexion. To dress suitably for wet weather: wear a short, warm, woolen walking skirt, a flannel blouse, a short jacket, a felt hat ‘trimmed with one or more wings and a band of soft silk, and laced walking boots ending half way between knee and ankle and with thick soles. Silk bloomers ‘are to be preferred to petticoat for this particular costume’. (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910) An umbrella isn’t necessary. Take care not to overtire yourself in the rain, or you may easily catch cold: ‘Just ten minutes’ brisk walking in a steady downpour will make the blood circulate with vigor and put the pedestrian into a delightful glow’. Don’t drive home in a motor. At home, all damp clothes must be removed immediately.

‘The perfection of weather as a cosmetic is a damp, sunless day, with a mist that is perhaps a little short of a drizzle. With stout boots and a short walking skirt the golfing or tramping woman may take her stint of exercise with the comfortable thought that she is giving her skin the most beautifying treatment possible – fresh air and moisture.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1901)


Toilet Vinegar (Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909)

Astringent, cooling face wash for oily skin. Best used in the morning after washing. Don’t use it soon after washing the skin with soap which would ‘seriously injure the skin’.

  • 1 oz dried rose leaves
  • 1/2 pint white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 pint rose water

‘Pour the vinegar on the rose-leaves and let it stand for a week; then strain and add the rose-water. Bathe the face morning and evening by wetting the corner of a soft towel with the lotion.’


Lettuce Water (New Remedies, 1880)
  • 1000 parts fresh garden lettuce
  • 2500 parts water

Cut lettuce, cover with water, and distill off 1000 parts.


Modern Lettuce Water (source 1, source 2)
  • chopped lettuce leaves
  • enough water to cover

Cover lettuce with water, bring to a boil, let cool, then strain.


strain diy homemade fresh cucumber juice
-> Edwardian Milk of Cucumber (cold cream with fresh cucumber juice)


Cucumber Essence (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1916)

‘Greasy skins are benefited by washing in the juice of fresh cucumbers.'(Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909) ‘Press the juice from cucumbers, mix with an equal volume of alcohol and distil. If the distillate is not sufficiently perfumed, more juice may be added and the mixture distilled. It is said that the essence thus prepared will not spoil when mixed with fats in the preparation of cosmetics.’


Cucumber Juice (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1916)

‘It is well to make a large quantity, as it keeps indefinitely. Washed unpeeled cucumbers are grated and pressed: the juice is heated, skimmed and boiled for 5 minutes, then cooled and filtered. Add 1 part of alcohol to 2 parts of juice, let stand for 12 hours or more, and filter until clear.’


Cucumber Face Wash (Chicago Tribune, 1897)

‘While cucumbers are plentiful it is well to have thick slices of the softest, with the soap on the washstand, and to use after the former, to rub face, hands, and throat, rinsing afterward. The clean, soft feeling of the skin will answer for its future use.’


Skin Whitening Tomato Facial Cleanser (Chicago Tribune, 1897)

‘While tomatoes are ripe and plentiful they are excellent to remove freckles and muddiness from the skin. […] A thorough rubbing of the skin once or twice daily while the season lasts with a ripe tomato will work wonders’.


Strawberry Facial Cleanser (Chicago Tribune, 1897)

‘A seasonable face bleach after a day on the water is made from a recipe of our ancestors. Mash a pint of fresh ripe strawberries and cover the face, neck, arms, and the hands well with the fruit, letting it dry on the skin. After a couple of hours wash it off with warm, pure rain water, in which bran has been soaked. The juice of the berries is whitening and the bran water is healing.’


Remedy For Freckles (San Francisco Call, 1903)

‘A cheap remedy for freckles is made of 1/2 oz. each of glycerine and water and 2 drams of latic acid. Apply with a small camel’s hair brush, which you can buy at an art store for about 15 cents.’


Aquafaba – Bean Water (Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909)

‘During the sixteenth century the water in which beans had been boiled was in vogue for the complexion. This farinaceous water is entitled to the fame which it possessed Belladonna (beautiful lady) derives its name from the use which the Italians of the Renaissance made of its juice to improve them complexions.’


Lemon Lotion (Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909)

‘The following lotion is excellent: A wineglassful of lemon juice, a pint of rain water, five drops of essence of rose, well corked. Wash the face occasionally with this mixture, which often prevents the discoloration of the skin.’


Here you’ll find my Conversion Table for US, UK, and metric system units of measurement.

Leave a Reply

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