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’.


Glycerin Lotion (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)

Almond cold cream ‘is troublesome to make and rather expensive, and it is perhaps no better for the purpose than glycerine. The mistake is often made of applying the latter too freely, its “stickiness” being unpleasant, and it is best to dilute it largely with water. Such a lotion may be made by mixing:’

  • 1 part glycerin
  • 9 parts rose water


After Sun Lotion (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 2 drachms quince seeds
  • 10 oz distilled water
  • 2 oz glycerin
  • 1 oz alcohol, 94%
  • 2 oz rose water

‘Boil the seeds in the water for 10 minutes, then strain off the liquid, and when cold add to it the glycerine, alcohol, and rose water.’


After Sun Lotion (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 2 1/2 drachms white soft soap
  • 1 1/2 drachms glycerin
  • 11 drachms almond oil

‘Well mix the glycerine and soap in a mortar, and very gradually add the oil, stirring constantly until perfectly mixed.’


After Sun Lotion (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 2 drachms glycerin cream
  • 4 drachms almonds
  • 5 oz rose water
  • 3 drops essential oil of almonds

‘Blanch the almonds, and then dry and beat them up into a perfectly smooth paste; then mix in the glycerine cream and essential oil. Gradually add the rose water, stirring well after each addition; then strain through muslin.’


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


Cucumber Lotion (Housekeeper’s Handy Book, 1913)

‘Mix together and stand overnight three tablespoonfuls of cucumber juice and three of alcohol; add slowly, the next day, one tablespoonful of oil of almonds and ten drops of benzoin. This is recommended for sunburn and freckles. Cucumber water is made by cutting up three large cucumbers, skin and all, and steeping in half a cup of water over a slow fire till pulp is soft; then straining.’


Attach Labels To Glass With DIY Wheatpaste - Tutorial


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


Glycerin Lotion With Tannin (Sacramento Union, 1907)
  • 20 grams of glycerin
  • 50 centigrams tannin
  • 3 1/2 ounces of rosewater

‘Here is an excellent formula for rough skin of the face and hands that we have found good: Mix 20 grams of glycerin and 50 centigrams of tannin in 3 1/2 ounces of rosewater. Use only a few drops at a time night and morning on face and hands. The amount of tannin in this formula is not large enough to stain or discolor the skin.’


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.’


Glycerine Milk (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 1,150 parts glycerin
  • 160 parts powdered starch
  • 400 parts distilled water
  • 20 parts tincture of benzoin

‘Rub up 80 parts of the starch with the glycerine, then put the mixture on the steam bath and heat, under continuous stirring, until it forms a jellylike mass. Remove from the bath and stir in the remainder of the starch. Finally, add the water and tincture and stir till homogeneous.’


Lanolin Toilet Milk (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 22 grains powdered castile soap
  • 1 oz lanolin
  • 12 drachms tincture benzoin
  • 4 fl oz water

‘Dissolve the soap in 2 fluidounces of warm water, also mix the lanolin with 2 fluidounces of warm water; then incorporate the two with each other, finally adding the tincture.’


Carrageen Mucilage Cream (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 30 parts starch
  • 480 parts carrageen mucilage
  • 15 parts boric acid
  • 240 parts glycerin
  • 240 parts cologne water

‘Boil the starch in the carrageen mucilage, add the boric acid and the glycerine. Let cool, and add the cologne water.’


Linseed Mucilage Cream (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 240 parts linseed mucilage
  • 2 parts boric acid
  • 1.3 parts salicylic acid
  • 60 parts glycerin
  • 120 parts cologne water
  • 120 parts rose water

‘Instead of the cologne water any extracts may be used. Lilac and ylang-ylang are recommended.’


Witch-Hazel Cream (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 4 oz quince seed
  • 16 oz hot water
  • 32 oz glycerin
  • 128 oz witch-hazel water
  • 6 oz boric acid
  • 2 oz rose extract
  • 1 oz violet extract

‘Macerate the quince seed in the hot water; add the glycerine and witch-hazel, in which the boric acid has been previously dissolved; let the mixture stand for 2 days, stirring occasionally; strain and add the perfume.’


Witch-Hazel Jelly (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 256 parts almond oil
  • 10 parts extract of with-hazel fluid
  • 32 parts glycerin
  • 20 parts soft soap
  • tincture of musk, quantity sufficient to perfume

‘Mix in a large mortar the glycerine and soft soap and stir until incorporated. Add and rub in the witch-hazel, and then add the oil, slowly, letting it fall in a very thin, small stream, under constant agitation; add the perfume, keeping up the agitation until complete incorporation is attained. Ten drops of musk to a quart of jelly is sufficient. Any other perfume may be used.’


Glycerin Cream (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 100 parts almond oil
  • 13 parts white wax
  • 25 parts glycerin
  • perfume

‘Melt, on the water bath, the oil, wax, and glycerine together, remove and as the mass cools down add the perfume in sufficient quantity to make a creamy mass.’


Glycerin Cream 2 (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1914)
  • 1 oz quince seeds
  • 16 grains boric acid
  • 1 oz starch
  • 16 oz glycerin
  • 30 minims carbolic acid
  • 12 oz alcohol
  • 30 minims lavender oil
  • 10 drops rose oil
  • 1 oz white rose extract
  • Water enough to make 64 ounces

‘Dissolve the boric acid in a quart of water and in this solution macerate the quince seed for 3 hours; then strain. Heat together the starch and the glycerine until the starch granules are broken, and mix with this the carbolic acid. Dissolve the oils and the extract of rose in the alcohol, and add to the quince-seed mucilage; then mix all together, strain, and add water enough to make the product weigh 64 ounces.’

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.

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