Cosmetics and hygiene items have been around as long as humans have walked the earth. The Medieval Period made so many advances in these fields that some of these ancient recipes are still considered effective today.
Lip coloring: Medieval beauties have been praised throughout the ages for rosy red lips and cheeks. To get this simple but effective look, ladies of the era used berries and other plants to pep up their pouts. We like using cherries — they’re super effective at giving lips and cheeks a rosy blush! To use: for lips, simply cut a cherry in half and glide the inside over your lips. For cheeks, pulverize or squeeze a cherry until you have a bit of juice; add a bit of water, dab onto your cheeks and rub.
Sweet-smelling lotion: In the days of yore, marjoram was pulverized and added to several ounces of lard. The solution was then boiled, left to simmer over the fire for some time, then strained and put into a pretty jar or container. These days, you can get the same potion with updated ingredients. Substitute the lard for coconut oil; you can follow the rest of the directions exactly, or you may substitute a couple drops of marjoram essential oil.
Rose water: This beautiful smelling potion was an indispensable ingredient for cosmetics of the middle ages. Not only was it used in a host of makeup and hair preparations, it’s also used by itself to cleanse and beautify the skin. In fact, rose water is still used by some of the world’s most beautiful women today as it smells divine and is still just as effective as ever.
Hair Powders: Members of royal courts would often wear wigs to beautify their appearance. But regardless of whether their hair was natural or purchased from an artisan of the day, men and women both enjoyed powdering the hair to keep it neat and sweet. Both sexes frequently used perfumes preparations to make the hair smell enticing as well. A 12th century text explains that a preparation of dried cloves, rose petals, nutmeg, galangal (a cousin of the ginger plant), and watercress would be ground into a fine powder, added to rose water, and sprinkled either directly into the hair or just combed into it. This hair potion is said to smell marvelous!
Deodorant: Because bathing wasn’t an everyday occurrence, stinky bodies were fairly common during Medieval times. Human innovation found good solutions to the most offensive of body odors, however. Herbal remedies were frequently used to wash offensive smells from folks’ stinkiest spots. Herbs such as Sage, mint, lavender and bay leaves were left to steep in hot water as tea is prepared. The infusions were left to cool, then strained and used to cleanse and deodorize armpits, groins, butts and feet. Sage is famous for its purifying qualities and fresh clean scent.