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Skin cosmetics recipes DIY

Face powder, body powder, rouge, lipstick & more...

Although the use of cosmetics dates back several thousand years, the intensive use by almost everyone dates back to the post-war period. The number of preparations that come on the market is innumerable. In many cases, the so-called new preparations consist of old known substances, the packaging and the name are then the only new ones.

Almost all cosmetics have one characteristic in common, the price is extremely high in relation to the cost of the material. This is partly caused by the high advertising costs, partly by the opinion of the buying public that cheap preparations are no good.

The right choice of raw materials is of the utmost importance. The talcum used must not only be extremely fine, but also sufficiently smooth, must not contain soluble substances and must be light. The price of the end product determines the requirements that can be made of the talcum.

Liquid cream

Recipe no. 1. (1920's)
emulsion 6
Cetiol 3
Water 90
Perfume 0 .5 dl
Preservative 0 .5 dl
Recipe no. 2. (1920's)
Paraffin oil 5
Cetiol 15
Triethanolamine stearate 7
Distilled water 72
Perfume 1

Powder to be used in a powder spray bottle

Recipe no. 1. (early 1900's)
Talcum 94 dl
Boric acid 2 dl
Magnesium carbonate 3 dl
Perfume till 1 dl
Recipe no. 2. (early 1900's)
Talcum 85 dl
Magnesium carbonate 10 dl
Boric acid 2 dl
Zinc stearate 3 dl
Perfume ½ till 1 dl

Powder (to be used after having a bath)

Recipe (early 1900's)
Talcum 85 dl
Magnesium carbonate 7 dl
Zinc stearate 7 dl
Boric acid 1 dl
The zinc stearate is used to make the powder adhere better and to make the powder softer. The boric acid serves as an antiseptic and can be replaced by other substances such as methyl parahydroxybenzoic acid, tertiary chlorobutanol, chloro metaxylol and others. For this purpose, the latter substances are dissolved in the perfume, possibly with the addition of a little alcohol.

The magnesium carbonate makes the powder light and fluffy. The zinc stearate can be replaced by magnesium stearate, the magnesium carbonate optionally by precipitated chalk.

The dry substances are mixed in a closed mixing device, the perfume is pre-mixed with the twenty-fold amount of the powder and rubbed through a fine sieve. After this, this mixture is added to the entire amount of powder and the entire mass is sieved through a sieve. The more expensive the powder, the finer the sieve.


Face powder

(Recipes from the early 1900's)
Recipe no. 1, heavy
Talcum 40 dl
Magnesium carbonate 5 dl
Zinc oxide 10 dl
Zinc stearate 5 dl
Rice flour 10 dl
Kaolin 30 dl
Recipe no. 2, medium
Talcum 50 dl
Zinc oxide 15 dl
Zinc stearate 10 dl
Kaolin 20 dl
Precipitated chalk 5 dl
Recipe no. 3, light
Talcum 65 dl
Zinc oxide 10 dl
Zinc stearate 10 dl
Kaolin 10 dl
Precipitated chalk 5 dl


For above and other recipes
The necessary color still needs to be added to these three recipes. Pigments are generally used for this purpose, which must of course be absolutely harmless to the skin.

When buying material for this, it must therefore always be pointed out that the dye comes into contact with human skin. In general, one uses for coloring: ochre, yellow and burnt, burnt sienna and ombra, ultramarine blue, further lacquer dyes such as geranium red, persian orange, possibly a green lacquer. The pigments are first mixed well with 4 to 9 times the amount of talcum and then enough of this mixture is added to the powder that the desired hiding power is achieved. The correct amount must be determined by trial and error.

Mixing is done exactly as with the dusting powders. The finest varieties are mixed in a ball mill and, after adding perfume, sieved through a silk gauze.

The indicated recipes can be changed according to personal needs. It should be remembered that the added kaolin not only smoothes, but also absorbs sweat. The magnesium carbonate makes the powder light and retains the perfume. The zinc oxide and the often used titanium white make the powder opaque. Zinc and magnesium stearate make the powder adhere to the skin.

make-up brush

Liquid powder

Zinc oxide 135 dl
Precipitated chalk 135 dl
Glycerin 60 dl
Alcohol 240 dl
Perfume 10 dl
Water: so much as needed
Color: see above note about pigment

Face powder

Recipe no. 4.
Titanium white 3 dl
Kaolin (fine) 8 dl
Rice starch 3 dl
Italian talcum 31 dl
Magnesium stearate 1 dl
Powder fixator P&S 4 dl
Color as desired and 1 to 2 % perfume. The mixture is mixed in a ball mill, finely ground and then sieved as finely as possible.

Chanel cosmetics


Dry rouge was originally made by mixing talcum and carmine with tragacanth slime and letting the doughy mixture dry in small containers. Later, larger pieces were made and machined, for example, on the lathe to the desired shape. Today, the almost dry mixture is immediately pressed into shape.

A simple rouge consists of:
Talcum 40 dl
Kaolin 35 dl
Zinc oxide 15 dl
Precipitated chalk 10 dl
This mixture is mixed with a sufficient amount of pigment and then ground in a ball mill for several hours. The powder is then sieved through a fine silk gauze and mixed with a solution of 0.2 dl tragacanth in 4 dl water. The powder should be only slightly moist and then rubbed through a fine sieve.

After this, the material is pressed into pieces of the desired shape using a press. The metal mold is coated with a ½ pct tragacanth solution before pressing. One must be very careful with the amount of tragacanth solution that is mixed with the powder. The correct amount must be determined by small experiments, as it depends to a large extent on the material used. The same is the case with the pigments used, the hiding power of which is very different. In general, 10 to 20% is sufficient. The best species are taken for this and then a little less. In addition, one should always desire types that are absolutely harmless to the skin.


Rouge Cream

Recipe (early 1900's)
Stearin 24 .7 dl
Diglicol Stearate 12 .4 dl
Potassium hydroxide 1 .0 dl
Glycerin 3 .8 dl
Diglycol, pure 6 .8 dl
Distilled water 30 .1 dl
Tartrazine 0 .4 dl
Zink oxide 12 .4 dl
Lacquer pigment 6 .2 dl
Perfume 1 .0 dl
Ethyl polyglycol 0 .5 dl
The dye is dissolved in the mixture of water, glycerin and glycol, the stearic acid and diglycol stearate are melted, added hot to the aqueous solution and mixed. The emulsion is stirred until almost cold, then mixed with the rest and finally finely ground on a roller mill.

Poudre liquide, white

Recipe (early 1900's)
Magnesium carbonate 1
Colloidal kaolin 0 .5 dl
Titanium white 1
Aluminum Acetotartrate 0 .05 dl
Alcohol 90% 10
Hamamelis water 20
Rose water 65
Water soluble perfume
 P. & S. 1

Poudre liquide, Rose Chair

Recipe (early 1900's)
Magnesium carbonate 15
Zinc oxide 1 .5 dl
Salicylic acid 0 .1 dl
Alcohol 90% 7
Ponceau 4R sol. 1:100 0 .1 dl
Eosin 1:100 80
Rose water
Perfume 1

Fard gras Rose Chair

Recipe (early 1900's)
Stearate de rouge P 1566 41
Stearate de jaune B 13
Stearic acid 160
Paraffin oil 0,885-0,9 325
Ceresin 325
Whit vaseline 136
Perfume 5

Fard gras Rouge Brunette

Recipe (early 1900's)
Rosaniline stearate 30
Stearic acid 160
Paraffin oil 0,885 325
Ceresin 325
White vaseline 160
Perfume 5

Rouge Doré

Recipe (early 1900's)
Rouge Organol P 1566 30
Auramine stearate 20
Chrysoid stearate 1
Proteine 750
Cetyl alcohol 50
Ceresin 200
Perfume 10

Fard indélébile

Recipe (early 1900's)
Fat soluble. red 1820 50
Paraffin oil 0,885 100
Ceresin 370
Lanolin anhydr. 30
Protein 250
Beeswax 150
Perfume 8


Recipes (early 1900's)
The various flower extracts and distillates, as well as certain fruit juices, have a very beneficial effect on the skin. They disinfect, astringent, deodorize and stimulate the skin, all without causing any damage. The good lotions therefore consist of mixtures of these juices and aqueous solutions with about 10% alcohol, sometimes also small amounts of salicylic acid to prevent spoilage.
Eau d'Ylang Ylang 30
Lavender blossom water 20
Rose blossom water 20
Jasmine blossom water 5
Orange blossom water 15
Alcohol 96 % 10
Rose blossom water 20
Lavender blossom water 10
Sage blossom water 50
Alcohol 96 % 20
Lemon juice 30
Pickle juice 30
Rose water 10
Alcohol 96 % 30
Tomato juice 20
Rose water 60
Alcohol 96 % 20

Cold creams

Recipes (early 1900's)
Although the cold creams always react slightly alkaline, they are still used in very large quantities and form the main component of everything that is applied to the skin. A cold cream is basically an emulsion of fats in water. The fat here is so finely distributed in water with the help of an emulsifier that the fat droplets float. Due to the fine distribution, the fat penetrates very easily into the skin and when the cream serves to supplement a shortage of fat in the skin, the fat can be absorbed very quickly. With the creams that serve more to cleanse the skin pores, the mineral fat can, as it were, rinse out the pores.

A simple prescription for a cold cream is:
Paraffin oil 4000 dl
Beeswax 800 dl
The mixture is heated to 70℃. In addition, 45 dl borax is dissolved in 2500 dl water and the solution is heated to 70℃. The borax solution is now poured into the wash solution while stirring well. After cooling to about 50℃, the perfume is added.

In this recipe, the paraffin oil can be replaced in whole or in part by vegetable oils. In this case, a preservative must be added. The beeswax can be replaced up to half by paraffin, ceresin, ozokerite or spermaceti. Furthermore, for example, a small amount of lanolin can be added.



Recipe no. 1.
Spermaceti 125 dl
Bleached wax 120 dl
Vaseline oil 560 dl
Borax 5 dl
Distilled water 190 dl
Perfume, e.g. synthetic rose oil
The fats are melted and the borax dissolved in hot water. The warm borax solution is slowly added to the melted fat mass, stirring well. As soon as the mass starts to curdle, add the rose oil.

Recipe no. 2.
Beewax 540 dl
Spermaceti 300 dl
Paraffin oil 1730 dl
Stearin 430 dl
Water 720 dl
Borax 100 dl
Sodium Benzoate 10 dl
Perfume at will
Borax and sodium benzoate are dissolved in boiling water and poured into the warm melted fat mass. Stir slowly during cooling.


Cleansing cream

While in the previous creams borax was used as an emulsifier in combination with washing, with the aid of triethanolamine soaps excellent and very long-lasting creams can be manufactured.
Recipe (1936)
Paraffin oil 78 dl
Bleached wax 5 dl
Spermaceti 28 dl
Tiethanolamine stearate 20 dl
These are melted together and slowly poured into a hot solution of 4 dl glycerin in 92 dl water. By stirring well, the two solutions soon unite into a thick cream. When the cream is well bound, add the desired amount of perfume. The next day the cream is stirred again and packaged. This cream has no tendency to exude water and remains unchanged even in hot summer weather.

Non greasy cold cream

A third type of cold cream contains glycol stearate or glycerine monostearate as an emulsifier. These creams evaporate very quickly, are more soluble in water than the previous types and cause a clear cooling of the skin due to the high water content. These creams must be packed airtight, otherwise they have a tendency to separate water.
Recipe (1936)
Glycol distearate 22 dl
Vaseline 16 dl
Paraffin 12 dl
Paraffin oil 30 dl
Water 100 dl
The fats are first melted and poured into the water heated to 77℃ with good stirring at a temperature of 77℃. The cream must then remain warm for a while to allow the trapped air to escape. After this, the perfume is added and at 40 to 50℃ the cream is poured into the bottles.

Neutral cleansing cream

Recipe (1936)
Paraffin oil 80 dl
Spermaceti 30 dl
Glycerin monostearate 24 dl
Water 90 dl
Glycerin 10 dl
The fats are gently melted together at 60℃ and then the hot glycerin solution is gradually added to the melted fat mixture.

Melting cleansing cream

Recipes (early 1900's)
This cream consists of a solution of vaseline and paraffin in a thin mineral oil. The cream becomes liquid at body temperature. Rubbing the cream in firmly removes the dirt from the pores.
Recipe no. 1, soft:
Mineral oil 56 dl
Paraffin 24 dl
White petroleum jelly 19 dl
Recipe no. 2, medium:
Mineral oil 50 dl
Paraffin 18 dl
White petroleum jelly 23 dl
Spermaceti 9 dl
Recipe no. 3, medium:
Mineral oil 50 dl
Paraffin 30 dl
White petroleum jelly 20 dl
Recipe no. 4, hard:
Mineral oil 45 dl
Paraffin 25 dl
White petroleum jelly 20 dl
Spermaceti 10 dl
The ingredients are melted on a water bath and mixed. About 0,5% perfume is added, the mass is poured into the boxes or flasks at the lowest possible temperature and left to stand until the mass has completely cooled.

Vanishing cream

By vanishing cream we mean a fat-free cream that is completely absorbed by the skin. This kind of cream consists of an emulsion of free stearic acid in a solution of a stearic soap. The pearlescent appearance is created by the crystallization of the free stearic acid in thin leaves. Triethanolamine is used as a base for a soft cream.

100 g stearic acid is melted and heated to 80℃. Furthermore, 4.5 g of triethanolamine and 36 g of glycerine are dissolved in 360 g of water and this mixture is also heated to 80℃. This solution is slowly poured into the molten stearic acid with good stirring. At 55℃, the perfume is added and the cream is left to stand for a few days. The mass is gently stirred for a few minutes every day.

A harder cream is obtained by replacing the triethanolamine with 1.5 g of potash.

Some other recipes from the 30's

Vanishing cream 1
Stearin 240 dl
Lanolin 45 dl
La Perla vanishing cream base 100 dl
Water 615 dl
Stearin and lanolin are melted together and heated at 70 to 80℃. The cream base and the water are also brought together to a temperature of 70 to 80℃. Finally, combine the two mixtures and allow to cool while stirring continuously.
Vanishing cream 2
Stearin 200 dl
Lanolin 10 dl
Emulsifier P&S 60 dl
Glycerin 60 dl
Water 660 dl
Perfume 10 dl
Cold cream
Stearin 120 dl
Lanolin 30 dl
White wax 70 dl
Vaseline oil 150 dl
Emulsifier P&S 50 dl
Water 570 dl
Perfume 'Crema' 10 dl
Stearin 190 dl
Lanolin 20 dl
Vaseline oil 60 dl
Emulsifier P&S 60 dl
Water 610 dl
Talcum 20 dl
Titanium dioxide 30 dl
Perfume 10 dl
Cleansing cream
Stearine 140 dl
Lanoline 50 dl
Vaseline oil 220 dl
La Perla cleansing cram base 75 dl
Water 515 dl
Preparation exactly as with the vanishing cream.

Massage creams

Recipe 1.
One takes the cheese dust, which is made from 4½ liters of milk with the help of some rennet or by making the milk sour. The cheese dust is wrung out as dry as possible in a linen cloth and is mixed with 30 g of glycerine, 4 g of borax and 2 g of boric acid. This mixture is ground together as finely as possible in a porcelain mortar. Finally, perfume is used, for example, with 30 drops of geranium oil, 15 drops of aniseed oil and 15 drops of bitter almond oil.
Recipe 2.
Stearic acid 300 dl
Cocoa butter 40 dl
Mineral oil 100 dl
Wheat starch 550 dl
Boric acid 100 dl
Water 2100 dl
Sodium benzoate 5 dl
Glycerin 160 dl
Ammonia 26° Bé 30 dl
The starch is first stirred into a thin paste with cold water. The boric acid is then added to this. While stirring well, the mixture is now heated until a thick translucent paste is formed. The mass must not burn. The glycerin and the ammonia are now mixed with the hot starch paste. Only when the mass is well-equal is the melted fat mixture, which has been heated to 93℃, added while stirring well. After this, it must be stirred well for 1½ to 2 hours. When cooling, the sodium benzoate is then added and finally 120 dl of perfume and approx. 30 dl of water-soluble red dye are added.

Acid skin cream

The skin of a healthy person reacts clearly acidic, the pH is approximately between 3 and 5. The deep layers of the skin gradually become neutral. The acidic reaction of the epidermis is a protection against infection from outside, as most bacteria cannot live or only poorly in an acidic environment. After washing with soap, the skin becomes neutral, as the soap as an alkaline substance neutralizes the acid of the skin. The skin must therefore form and secrete acid again and again after washing. It is clear that if one repeatedly and frequently smears the skin with a strongly alkaline cream, the skin eventually becomes tired and no longer produces enough acid. In the chemical industry, where one has to constantly clean one's hands, we see that very unpleasant skin disorders are the result of this.

If one now manufactures a skin cream which reacts acidic and rubs the skin with it after washing, the skin does not have to produce new acid and therefore does not get tired.

In modern creams, therefore, we see an effort to make them distinctly acidic, and this is possible now that emulsifiers have been found which are not disturbed by 0.1 normal acid.

Instead of soap, sapamines are now used as an emulsifier. The sapamine salts are compounds of organic or inorganic acids with oleic acid diethylamide and similar compounds. For a cream, it is then preferably combined with a glycerine monofatty acid ester.

Recipe no. 1. (early 1900's)

Glycerin monostearate 18
Beeswax 1
Paraffin 6
Lanolin 4
Paraffin oil 7
Almond oil 5
Glycerin 3
Water 55 .5 dl

 amide phosphate 0 .5 dl
Recipe no. 2. (early 1900's)

Tegacide (monostearate

 and sapamine) 10
Vaseline 20
Paraffin oil 10
Water 60

Hamamelis jelly

Recipe (1936)
Boric acid 30 dl
Tragacanth 60 dl
Hamamelis water 3500 dl

Facial water

In general, excellent milky facial toners can be made using triethanolamine as an emulsifier, in the form of the stearate. In addition, the water then contains a solution of water-soluble slimes.

Liquid cleansing cream

Recipe (1938)
Stearic acid 135 dl
Paraffin oil 760 dl
Water 1140 dl
Triethanolamine 45 dl
Diethylene glycol 135 dl
Diethylene glycol ethyl ether 90 dl
The fats are heated to 77℃ and mixed with the aqueous, preheated solution while stirring well. Perfume is added at will.

Astringent facial water with mother-of-pearl shimmer

Tragacanth 15 dl
Warm water 2.4 ltr
This is left to stand for a day and when the tragacanth is well dissolved, 1.4 l of alcohol is added.

Now add 1 kg of gentle cleansing cream made of stearic acid and triethanolamine from p. 77 a liter or more of this tragacanth solution. The addition should be very slow while stirring well. To obtain a beautiful mother-of-pearl shine, one takes cream, which was made some time ago. By standing, the actual peculiar appearance develops in the cream through the crystallization of stearic acid.

Finally, the facial water is filtered through muslin and optionally colored with a water-soluble dye. The preparation dries very quickly, refreshes the skin and is an excellent preparation for powdering.

Skin milk

Recipes (early 1900's)
Milky beauty waters for the face are made using lanolin, cucumber milk and almond milk.
Recipe no. 1.
Lanolin 50 dl
Pure soap 3 dl
Glycerin 20 dl
Rose water 300 dl
Benzoin tincture 5 dl
Perfume Bouquet 10 dl
Water 612 dl
Recipe no. 2.
Lanolin 30 dl
Pure calizer 10 dl
Warm rose water 200 dl
Glycerin 20 dl
Perfume 10 dl
Benzoëtinctuur 30 dl
The mixture is heated on a water bath. After everything is thoroughly homogeneously mixed, 700 parts of freshly filtered cucumber juice are added while cooling. The mixture is then stirred until completely cold.
Recipe no. 3.
70 dl sweet almond kernels are finely rubbed with enough rose water to obtain a thick stiff paste. Then the following mixture is added:
Benzoin tincture 20 dl
Benzaldehyde 2 dl
Rose oil 1 dl
Borax 7 dl
and 50 dl glycerin dissolved in enough rose water to make 1000 dl.
The mixture then stands for several days and is filtered through a fine hair sieve.
maybelline makeup
Maybelline 1940s Vintage Advertisement

Liquid cleaning cream (fat-free)

Recipe (early 1900's)
Beeswax 1.5 dl
Spermaceti 6.5 dl
Cherry kernel oil 6.0 dl
Glycol Stearate 4.0 dl
Water 122.0 dl
Alcohol 3.0 dl
Tragacanth 1.0 dl
Borax 3.0 dl
Perfume 3.0 dl
Glycerin 4.0 dl
The fats are first melted, with this the other substances dissolved in the water are mixed with good stirring and finally the perfume is added when cooling.

Liquid almond cream

Recipe (early 1900's)
Sweet almond oil 10 dl
Spermaceti 20 dl
Beeswax 20 dl
Medicinal soap 30 dl
Borax 20 dl
Quince jelly 10 dl
Alcohol 11 dl
Water 44 dl
Spermaceti and beeswax are first melted together, the soap and borax are dissolved in the water and the two mixtures are stirred together. After this, the other ingredients are added and filtered through muslin.
Vintage Nivea advert.1938

Lait de Beauté

Recipe (1930's)
White wax 40 dl
Fat almond oil 60 dl
Vaseline oil 60 dl
Emulsifier P&S 40 dl
Water 790 dl
Perfume 10 dl

Facial emulsion (semi-liquid)

Recipe (1930's)
Vaseline oil 230 dl
Emulsifier P&S 65 dl
White wax 35 dl
Rice flour 30 dl
Water 630 dl
Perfume 10 dl

Facial water
with lemon juice

Recipe (1930's)
Pectin 2.5 dl
Lemon juice 9.5 dl
Water 88.0 dl
Preservative 0.15 dl

Facial water for obtaining a soft skin

Recipe (1930's)
Boric acid 3 dl
Tragacanth 8 dl
Glycerin 3 dl
Distilled water 130 dl
The mixture is boiled with stirring until a translucent jelly is formed.

Camphor facial water

for oily skin - Recipe (1938)
Camphor 25 dl
Alcohol 96% 875 dl
Triethanolamine oleate 50 dl
Glycerin 50 dl
Perfume 30 dl
Water (distilled) 1200 dl

Skin water for the hands

90 g of quince seeds are soaked in 1 l of water for 24 hours. The mucus formed is squeezed through a linen cloth and mixed with ½ l of water. In addition, ½ l of Bay rum is mixed with 250 g of glycerin, 350 g of orange blossom water and 0.75 l of alcohol. The slime and this mixture are now added together and enough water is added until the total volume is 4 l.
Boric acid 1 dl
Glycerin 6 dl
These are dissolved by heating and after cooling mixed with:
Lanolin 6 dl
Vaseline 8 dl
After this, you can optionally add the desired perfume.

Hand sanitizer

Recipe (1930's)
Paraffin oil 70 dl
Olive oil 8 dl
Triethanolamine stearate 14 dl
Water 70 dl
Perfume 2 dl
The fats are heated to 60℃ with the triethanolamine stearate. While stirring well, the water is then added and finally the perfume. The mixture is stirred until completely cooled. By varying the amount of water you can keep the consistency thicker or thinner.

The cleaning agent can be used without water. The hands, which are greasy from working with dirty greasy objects, for example from a car, are simply rubbed with this agent and then polished with a dry cloth. Since part of the fat is absorbed by the skin, the skin remains smooth and elastic.


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