DIY cosmetics – life in colonial America

Happy Independence Day to all our American readers! To celebrate we’re reprinting one of our favorite posts about cosmetic science around the time of the American Revolution.

If you’re interested in learning what life was like in colonial America, you can find an excellent summary at; the details of how women made their own makeup was particularly fascinating. Believe me, they didn’t have much to work with! Here’s a quick comparison of colonial chemistry to our modern day magic.

Lip color

Then: Mix beet juice with lard.

Now: Something in a nice pinkish-taupe like NARS Turkish Delight!


Then: Either pinch your cheeks or, for the cultured sophisticate, mix beet juice with talc or cornstarch. (Jeez, those colonials were really big on beets!)

Now: Unfortunately, natural minerals hadn’t been invented yet back in 1776 or else they could have worn Laura Mercier Mineral Cheek Powder.


Then: Moisten eyelashes with your fingers. (Mmmm, saliva-scented eyelashes! Jan Marini eat your heart out!)

Now: Today we have the incredible tubing technology of Blinc Kiss Me Mascara.

Anti-aging skin creams

Then: Rub bacon grease or fat on your face.

Now: Dab on a little ZIRH Protect Face Moisturizer. It even sounds like it’s from the Future – it’s ZIRH!

Lip Plumpers

Then: Bite your lip several times throughout the day.

Now: Never fear, Lip Fusion Micro-Injected Collagen Lip Plump is here! (I’ll stick to biting my lip, thank you kindly.)

The Beauty Brains bottom line

We have a lots to be thankful for this Independence Day: Government for the people by the people; freedom of religion, and science-spawned, store-bought cosmetics! Yay!