Saturday, April 28, 2012

White pigments in the 18th century

Bones Pulverised bones from cuttlefish, sheep and ox where used to colour hair powder white. I suppose the powder gets too coarse to be used in makeup. However, the white pigment in bones is really Calcium carbonate which is easy to find.

Chalk Also used to whiten hair powder. However, pulverised chalk may irritate skin and can be corrosive if you get it into the eyes, so substitute it with Calcium carbonate instead.

Talc, Talcum Powder, French Chalk A mineral that becomes a very fine powder and is still in used in cosmetics. It doesn't cover well, but clogs up the pores and and the fine powder may irritate your throat. However, in the 18th century Magnesium oxide was also called Talc. It has supposedly better coverage and is indeed also used in modern cosmetics. It seems to be a better option when a recipe calls for talc in white makeup.

Tin white, Tin dioxide It is listed in Kallopistria, oder die Kunst der Toilette für die elegante Welt from 1808 as used for white makeup. Though not as poisonous as lead, tin doesn't seem to be all that nice to get into your system. It is supposedly similar to zinc, so if I would definitely use that instead!

White lead, Ceruse, Litharge. White pigment made of lead. This is very poisonous and should not, under any circumstances, be tested! Despite being known to be dangerous it was very popular for white makeup as it provided a very smooth, opaque surface. Luckily there is a safe substitute nowadays in Titanium dioxide. This white pigment is used in both makeup and sun block and can be bought at any art store that sells pigment. When called Litharge it can also mean red lead pigment.

Zinc oxide, Flowers of zinc. White pigment made of zinc that has been around since Classical times, but was rare until the 1780's. Still, The Toilet's of Flora from 1779 lists a recipe for a white paint that contains zinc, so it seems to have been used earlier. It is safe to use, zinc is used today in makeup and sun block and can be bought as loose pigment, but doesn't cover up as well as lead did.

2 comments:

  1. Roligt att du har startat en blog om enbart historisktsmink :-)
    En fråga. Har du provat att ha pomada i håret innan du pudrar det? Jag har endast provat att pudra håret när jag använt vax men jag funderar på att koka egen pomada för att se om pudret blir mer jämt. När man har vax klumpar sig pudret tyvärr om man inte är extremt noga med att fördela vaxet tunt över håret. Annars så ramlar det av håret. Fast jag läste på en annan av dina bloggar att man kan specialbeställa puder som inte är lika finkornigt och som stannar PÅ håret, inte i botten.

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  2. Kul att du tycker det. :) Jag har provat med pomada och kan inte påstå att jag märkte någon skillnad. Vet inte om det sitter bättre, dock, för jag har bara testat i hemmets trygga vrå. Jag tycker inte att det blir speciellt klumpigt med vax så jag har inte funderat så mycket över saken. Talk är svårare att få jämt än hårpudret jag har däremot. Det jag har är från Ageless Artifice, men huvudingridiensen är majsstärkelse, alltså maizena, så du kan ju alltid testa hur det fungerar innan du beställer durt från USA.

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