Monday, October 01, 2012

An economical rouge

The recipe
Fine Carmine, pulverized and prepared for for this purpose [rouge], is without doubt the best of all Paints, and which the Ladies ought to adopt. In order to use it in an agreeable and frugal manner, procure some fine pomatum, without scent, made with the fat of pork and white wax; take about the bigness of a pea of this pomatum, and lay it upon a piece of white paper; then with the end of a tooth-pick add to it about the bigness of a pin's head of Carmine— mix it gently with your finger, and when you have produced the tone you wish, rub in it a little compressed cotton, and pass it on the face, till the Paint is quite spread and it no longer feels greasy.
Ladies have nothing to fear from this economical Rouge—it neither injures the health or skin, and imitates perfectly the natural colour. (Constant de Massoul, Treatise on the Art of Painting and the Composition of Colours, p 198, 1797)
Portrait of a Young Girl by Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun, 1775

Breaking down the recipe
Pomatum A cream made of water, fat and very often beeswax. There are several recipes around from the 18th century. Cold cream of today is quite similar, so if you don’t want to make your own pomade you could substitute with that.

Carmine A bright red pigment derived from cochineal scale. Common as food colourant and in makeup today. Can also be called Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470 and E120

My thoughts
This is a very easy recipe- if you have pomatum in the house, that is. I have, but I don’t have any Carmine. I do, however, have cochineal scale, so I plan to try to make Carmine on my own. Then I’ll have to try this recipe!


  1. I just bought a little carmine recently -- I bought it along with some bismuth from a company that seems to specialize in ingredients for homemade cosmetics. It's kind of pricy -- 1 ounce was $15.

    1. Quite pricey indeed! But if it lasts a long time. Would you mind sharing where you bought it? I would like to get some as well as Bismuth. Even if my skin break out on Bismuth I would like to have som so I can compare it with the Titanium oxide with mica I have to substitute it with.

    2. I got them from this site:

  2. And... just tried a similar recipe to this, using lard alone (no wax added.) I thought the mixture was pretty great!


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