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( Originally Published Mid 1800s )
"For beauty is a witch, Against whose charms faith melteth into blood." - Shakespeare.
Bran and almond-meal bags are excellent things for a luxurious bath. They are not necessary for the purpose we have in view, but inasmuch as they are delicious and easily obtained by those who wish to purchase them, and not difficult to make at home by those who prefer to do so, I will add that they may be found at the usual stores devoted to toilet articles, and cost about twenty cents each. Here is the recipe for those who wish to make them at home.
BRAN AND ALMOND-MEAL BAGS
To three pounds of clean bran and one of Florentine orris root pulverized, add one and a half pounds of almond meal and eight ounces white Castile soap grated. Mix thoroughly. Make twenty-four bags of cheese-cloth about eight inches in length and five across. Put aloout five ounces in each bag, and use one bag for a bath just as you wou,ld a sponge. Be careful to sew the bags firmly.
The bran or almond-meal bag will make your bath sweet and soft and fragrant, but it will not do away with the necessity for soap and the scrubbing brush. If your finances will permit, you may also use in your bath two tablespoons of a bath liquid which is very delicious and fragrant. I give the recipe for making this also. It is easily prepared at home.
Sweet almonds.... 32 grammes.
Macerate the almonds until a paste is formed. Do not let them "oil." Strain them, and add the other ingredients.
You may take your bath either in the morning, or at night just before retiring, with a preference for the night hour. A cold water plunge taken in the morning is a fine tonic, but one must be very strong and vigorous to stand such a bath, and when it is taken, it is best merely to plunge in and get out immediately.
The temperature of the hot bath, which is taken just before going to bed, should not eKceed 92 degrees Fahrenheit. Hotter than this a bath becomes very stimulating, and is apt to make the subject wakeful.
A hot water bath of half a hour, taken late at night under favorable conditions, is extremely restful, and I know of no factor so potent in the preservation of a woman's looks and vitality.
When I asked Sara Bernhardt how she kept her extraordinary appearance of youth, her beautiful figure, and her marvelous complexion, she said to me:
"Hot water, my dear; I do not believe that I should be alive today were it not for my hot bath. When I am nervous, I take a warm bath and am rested. When I am tired, exhausted, I take a hot bath and am revived. And every night after the play is over, I take a hot bath and a scrub from head to foot, with a pure soap, and am refreshed. I believe nothing in the world will preserve a woman's youth and strength and looks as warm and hot baths."
Of course it is not wise to take a hot bath in the morning, and then, before the circulation has become equalized, after having been stimulated, to rush out into the cold or damp.
A cold bath every morning is much safer and will be found equally stimulating where the subject can endure the shock, and many can really stand it who fancy they cannot.
As before stated, it is very necessary to use a proper soap, and curiously enough, many people are economical about soap, while liberal in expenditures for every other necessity. A pure soap is one that contains no free alkali, and which is composed of vegetable oils. For the face, the best I know of is the French hygienic, but for the full bath there are a number of less expensive soaps that are pure and satisfactory. Among these the cottonseed-oil soaps are inexpensive and safe.
To make a delicious perfume for the bath, one need only add a teaspoonful of the old-fashioned benzoin mixture, which is made as follows:
TOILET WATER FOR THE BATH
Rose water.... 900 grammes.
Other good perfumes for the bath may be made as follows:
Pure alcohol.... 2 quarts. Essence of rosemary (Hungarian,
if possible)....28 grammes.
Mix, and let stand for two weeks. Then filter, and it is ready for use.
Gum camphor....1 ounce.
Mix all, pour into a large stoppered bottle, and agitate untii. the camphor is dissolved. This makes a very fine aromatic vinegar for the bath. Diluted with a little water, it is also most refreshing for the face.
TOILET WATER FOR MAKING THE FLESH FIRM AND SMOOTH
Strong red-wine vinegar....200 grammes
To the woman who loves a delicious addition to the. bath, the following is recommended:
TOILET VINEGAR OF STRAWBERRIES
One pound of fresh strawberries, well macerated, and one ounce of acetic acid, which is nothing more than very strong vinegar. Let the mixture stand for about twelve days and then strain through a muslin cloth. A little of this poured into the daily bath will prove delightful and invigorating.
A Turkish bath, taken at the proper time, is to be highly commended. The preliminary sweating, produced by the hot rooms, brings the dirt and foreign substances to the surface, and the subsequent scrubbing with soap thoroughly cleanses the skin and opens the pores. Women who indulge in Turkish baths should be extremely careful about going out into the cold immediately after. As excellent as the Turkish bath is, there is no question but that the subject is liable to catch a severe cold, and in many cases I know that such colds have resulted in pleurisy or pneumonia. For this reason at least an hour should elapse after the bath is concluded, before the subject leaves the bathing rooms.
Many skin affections will yield to a course of sulphur baths when all other treatments have failed. If it be possible, the course should be taken at an establishment where medicated baths are given. If impossible, a sulphur bath may be taken at home.
HOW TO PREPARE THE SULPHUR BATH AT HOME
The bath may be prepared either by adding one ounce sulphuret of potassium for every ten or twelve gallons of water used, or one ounce sulphuret of calcium for every fifteen gallons of water.
The sulphur bath is a powerful remedy in every description of skin disease.
THE ELECTRIC BATH AS A REJUVENATOR
A jaded society woman will find the electric bath. her great ally in chasing away the marks of time and care. I have seen women look really ten years younger from the effects of one bath. Of course the refreshening is only temporary, but women who can afford it should take two electric baths a week for the tonic and invigorating effect they give.
The electric bath is a luxury and should be taken in one's own home under the care of an experienced electrician and masseuse. The patient sits in a bath two-thirds full of water into which a generous cup of salt has been thrown, and the electricity is applied through a sponge from a battery (galvanic preferred). The current can be regulated. After the electricity has been applied, the patient is given a hot scrub which is followed by a thorough massage treatment from head to foot.
There are, unfortunately, but one or two skillful electricians (women) in New York who understand how to give these baths successfully. The electric bath should be given at the patient's house. It is much wiser to employ a professional electrician and masseuse if possible, but unless a competent person can be secured it is better to learn how to use a battery oneself. A ten-cell galvanic battery will cost about $20. This method of applying electricity is wonderful in its results upon the face, and is an important adjunct to massage in removing wrinkles.
The current should be greatly reduced for the face; never stronger in my opinion, than three cells. Shocks are blunders, always painful, very often harmful, no mat ter who is responsible, and only a very clumsy electrician will "shock" a patient in the bath. There is no excuse for a shock, which is the result of ignorance or carelessness, and ruinous to nervous women. Electric baths may be taken once a week with excellent results where they are intended for a tonic only, and in cases of rheumatism, neuralgia, internal and ovarian troubles and goitre, the electric bath is often a specific, and may be given daily until no longer required so often.
AROMATIC BATH FOR NERVOUS WOMEN
Make an infusion in about a quart of boiling water. Let stand till cold. Strain. Pour the liquid into the bath; tie the leaves together in a bag of cheese cloth, and throw the bag into the bath also.
This bath is said to give the skin a wonderful luster and appearance of youth. It is made as follows:Rose water....125 grammes.
Glycerine ....50 grammes.
Pure alcohol ....50 grammes.
Tincture of benzoin....50 grammes.
Boric acid ....25 grammes.
Dissolve the boric acid in the alcohol, and mix with all the other ingredients. Use as a sponge bath for the entire body.
Dissolve 500 grammes of good gelatine in four quarts of water. Put the mixture upon the stove, so that it will melt more rapidly. Add the entire quantity to the bath. This bath is used by French women to give firmness to the skin.
BATH OF THE ARISTOCRACY
To 100 grammes of tincture of benzoin add 40 grammes of aromatic vinegar. This quantity is for a large full bath to which i1; is to be added. In concluding this important chapter, I assert that if I had but one opportunity to make myself heard in this great world I know what I would say :
"If you want to be beautiful, healthy, happy, beloved, and live to a good old age, you must be cleanly."
You can't be if you do not take at least one bath each day. Not necessarily one of the luxurious baths before described, but a "good, plain bath," with plenty of soap, a scrubbing brush and brisk friction after it.
Beauty alone will cause a man to fall head over ears in love with a woman. But personal cleanliness and perfect daintiness will preserve a man's affection and respect as no other attribute can, for even age is charming when clean and wholesome.