Monday, September 03, 2012

French Rouge,—Five Shillings per Pot.

So far all rouge recipes I have found have been either a liquid or a salve, but as the picture below of Madame Pompadour suggest, there was rouge in powder from as well. And in a book with a rather wonderful title, The art of cookery made plain and easy: which far exceeds any thing of the kind yet published, to which are added, one hundred and fifty new and useful receipts, and also fifty receipts for different articles of perfumery, with a copious index, by Hannah Glasse, published in 1784, I found one.

The recipe
TAKE some carmine, and mix it with hair-powder to make it as pale as you please, according to your fancy, (The art of cookery made plain and easy, p. 401)

Breaking down the recipe
Carmine Bright red pigment derived from the cochineal (an insect) scale. Used today to pigment makeup and food.

Hair powder Starch, which in the 18th century were scented and had added white pigment.

My thoughts
Very straightforward recipe and very do-able. I guess that it would work with just plain starch, but as I have made a batch of hair powder I can use that. I need to find some carmine first, though. The result must be pink, which I like as the rouges I have made so far all have been red.

Marquise de Pompadour at the Toilet-Table by François Boucher,1758


  1. I would say use very little carmine if you want pink, unless your powder is an intense shade of white. My Gibson Girl experiments had me mixing carmine and starch (this was how face powder was usually tinted at the time) and even the tiniest amount was verging it far too red.

    1. I ordered some today, from the supplier you gave me and I look forward to try it out. I suspected that a little goes a long way as a very tiny amount is needed for The economical rouge.


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