“How very ill Eliza Bennet looks this morning, Mr. Darcy,” she cried; “I never in my life saw any one so much altered as she is since the winter. She is grown so brown and coarse! Louisa and I were agreeing that we should not have known her again.”
However little Mr. Darcy might have liked such an address, he contented himself with coolly replying that he perceived no other alteration than her being rather tanned — no miraculous consequence of travelling in the summer.
-Pride and Prejudice
Regency ladies, such as Caroline Bingley fancies herself to be, were fastidious about their complexions. The following recipe for “cold cream” would have been a common enough recipe with women spending literal fortunes each year on commercial cosmetics (such as Gowland’s Lotion or Sperry’s Lavender Water) as well as their own home-grown recipes. Cold cream is used not only to clean the skin (especially the face) from cosmetics, dirt and grime, but if left on over night, it will soften the skin, as well. It is also often used on the hands.
The ingredients listed here are not too hard to come by when you consider that white wax was white beeswax and spermaceti– an oily product of the Sperm Whale, is easily substituted with Jojoba oil– a naturally occurring plant oil with curiously similar properties.
—Take 2 ozs. of oil of almonds, one half oz of spermaceti, 2 ozs of white wax and one half pint of water; melt them in a new pipkin, and when all is melted, whip it till cold; then let it lay in a little rose water till you put it in pots.
How to Cook, 1810