The updated recipe
50 ml Red wine
1 gram Brazil wood
1 gram Alum crystal
As this recipe has no measurements whatsoever, I started out with the smallest quality possible for me. The preparations were very simple. The Brazil wood and Alum were briefly grounded in a mortle and then I boiled it with the red wine. As it was such a small quantity the wine cooked down more quickly than I had anticipated, so instead of reducing it with 1/3, it got reduced to ½.
What the recipe doesn’t mention, but what you need to do, is to strain the finished rouge through a piece of fabric or a coffee filter as the Brazil wood forms tiny splinters that you don’t want to rub into your cheeks. All in all it took about 15 minutes to prepare and make.
I did anticipate that the colour wood is more of a true red than leaning towards blue or yellow, and I was basically right. The rouge turned out to be blood red. The Brazil wood and wine combine gives it a smell that reminds me of spiced wine, which I think smells rather nice. Being a liquid it works very much like a lip stain and it takes some practice to apply it, but I don’t find that difficult. The colour on my cheeks turned rosy red and in a shade that suits me much better than the previous red paints I have tried. However, that is very much a matter of your personal colouring.
Here are four red rouge/lip colours made after 18th century recipe. The colour are fainter than they were in reality- it’s always a bit tricky to take picture where colour show up right. Still, it gives you an idea. On the top is the lip salve with Iron oxide, next the one with Alkanet. Then comes the rouge, with Brazil wood, though I did a mind slip and wrote the Swedish name for it, Bresilja. And last is a liquid rouge from Ageless Artifice that contains brandy, Red sanders and Brazil wood. As you can see, that rouge is much warmer in tone than the one I made.
What would I do different?
Would I do it again?
I would like to, but after reading up on Red sanders I realize that that is an endangered species as well, so there goes my imagined substitute. Oh well. If I find something else to substitute the Brazil wood with, then I will definitely make it again as the colour is pretty and it was extremely easy to make.