Although no respectable woman of the 1860s would be seen wearing “face paints”, they did use some form of cosmetics.
Creams and lotions were used to soften skin as well as bleaching lotions to give the desired lily white appearance.
Moisturizers also were used to combat the effects of lye soap and cleaning chemicals, as well as other abrasives.
They used oil to dress their hair and keep it in place in the confined styles popular in that time period. Herbal rinses softened and brightened hair and henna and dyes were used for coloring.
Cologne and perfume in scents of Lavender, Rose, Orange Blossom and Gardenia were used lavishly.
They used powder beneath the clothing for comfort and to keep them dry and also used it on their face and hands to keep their skin pale, especially for evening events.
Rouge was the only color they applied and was used sparingly. Just a small circle beneath the outer corner of the eyes and a touch to the center of the lips. Full lips were not considered fashionable.
Source: ‘Helpful Hints & Timely Tips’, Fanny & Vera
The Citizens’ Companion, Oct.- Nov., 2006, p. 43.