Francois Boucher, La Toilette, 1742.
In this podcast, Meg Brown shares some of her research about cosmetics as well as stories of her experiments in recreating some of these receipts. She begins by describing the ideal 18th century "beautiful" woman: pale skin (no freckles or spots) and dark hair and eyebrows. To achieve this look, they used powders and pastes and other receipts, some of which were highly toxic. Ceruse, which was used to make the skin very pale (the white stuff popular in the Elizabethan era), was a mixture that included white lead. By the 1770s, doctors were beginning to discourage its use due to symptoms in both those who used the cosmetic and those who were making it. One of the most interesting things discussed was about hair dye. Ms. Brown described a receipt (that she has experimented with) which called for black walnut and white vinegar. Sounds like a receipt for ink! In addition to applied cosmetics and perfumes, they also had face washes, some of which included strawberries and gin or strawberries and white wine (mmm!).
Ms. Brown recommended "The Toilet of Flora" as an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more. This is an 18th century publication and can be found on Google Books (there are a few editions available there). It looks like there are also a few recently republished print editions available as well.
If you're interested in experimenting with some 18th century cosmetics yourself (the non-toxic kind, of course!), I've read a lot of good things about Ageless Artiface, though I have yet to try them myself. If anyone has, I'd love to hear about your experience!