263. A curious Varnish for the Face.
Fill into a bottle three quarters of a pint of good Brandy, infusing in it an ounce of Gum Sandarac, and half an ounce of Gum Benjamin. Frequently shake the bottle till the Gums are wholly dissolved, and then let it stand to settle.
Apply this varnish after having washed the face clean, and it will give the skin the best lustre imaginable. (The Toilet of Flora, p. 213)
Breaking down the recipe
Brandy Spirit from distilled wine. As safe as any alcohol you can drink.
Gum Sandarac Resin from the tree Tetraclinis articulata. Used as varnish and incense. Safe.
Gum Benjamin or more commonly, Benzoin resin. Despite the gum, which indicates that it is soluble in water, it isn’t. Used as incense and as a fixative in perfumes. Vanilla-like scent. Safe.
This is a varnish, indeed, and ought to leave the face in the desirable shiny state. Presumably for people who didn’t want to use white face paint, but wanted the shininess. I’m curious about it and if I can find Gum Sandarac I will test it.