Take three ounces of Oil of Almonds, three quarters of an ounce of Spermaceti, and a quarter of an ounce of Virgin's Wax; melt them together over a slow fire, mixing them a little of the powder of Alkanet Root. Keep stirring till cold, and then add a few drops of Oil of Rhodium. (The Toilet of Flora, p. 159)
Breaking down the recipe
Oil of Almonds i. e. almond oil. A common oil in cosmetic for thousands of years. safe and keeps well.
Spermaceti Fat from Sperm whales that has been used as an stabiliser in cosmetics since the 18th century. Impossible to find, except perhaps in Japan, which I think is the only country that still hunts Sperm whales. Substitute with Saturated fatty acids (like coconut butter), Jojoba butter, Emulsifying wax or Cetyl alcohol.
Virgin's Wax Bees wax
Alkanet Root Cold, or blue-toned red pigment coming from a plant, Dyer's bugloss Considered safe and is used today as colourants both in makeup and food.
Oil of Rhodium Has nothing to do with the chemical element. Rhodium oil is also known as Rosewood and comes from the Brazilian Rosewood. Used in perfumes but is also healing and antiseptic. It also have a slightly deodorising effect. Considered safe. Note: A bit late it has come to my attention that Brazilian Rosewood is an endangered species, so my recommendation is to leave the salve unscented or add a few drops of another scented oil.
After making the lip salve with Iron oxide I would like to make one with a more cold red colour, as that suits me better. This recipe is wonderfully simple and I have everything at home except, of course, the Spermaceti. In the past I have tried to substitute it in pomade with Jojoba oil, which worked but made the pomade rather too runny. This time I plan to use Coconut butter as that is easy to pick up in the food store.
I'm going to an 18th century event next Saturday and I would like to have finished the lip salve then as well as another recipe for white face paint. So stay tuned...