Hello and welcome! Please understand that this website is not affiliated with Guerlain in any way, it is only a reference page for collectors and those who have enjoyed the classic fragrances of days gone by.

The main objective of this website is to chronicle the history of the Guerlain fragrances and showcase the bottles and advertising used throughout the years.

However, one of the other goals of this website is to show the present owners of the Guerlain perfume company how much we miss the discontinued classics and hopefully, if they see that there is enough interest and demand, they will bring back these fragrances!

Please leave a comment below (for example: of why you liked the fragrance, describe the scent, time period or age you wore it, who gave it to you or what occasion, any specific memories, what it reminded you of, maybe a relative wore it, or you remembered seeing the bottle on their vanity table), who knows, perhaps someone from the current Guerlain brand might see it.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Guerlain's Historical Cosmetics

Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain was born in 1798 in Abeville. In 1817, he began a career as a "commited merchant" in the House of Briard, which manufactured and sold perfumes. Soon, he was hired by the House of Dissey et Piver, a cosmetic and perfume house, where he worked as a salesman and helped create perfumes.

In 1828, at the age of just 30, Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain opened his first boutique, at 42 rue de Rivoli,an arcade-lined street located in the heart of Paris. Fortunately, this was also the location of the fashionable Hotel Meurice, a favorite haunt of the British high society.

To exploit this fact, he used his knowledge of popular British toiletry products from his days as a salesman, Guerlain began his business by importing upscale products from Britain, but he was soon developing his own, original, trendsetting formulas for toilet waters, scented toilet vinegars, soaps, creams, pomades, cosmetics, perfume extraits and perfume essences for handkerchiefs. many of the products bore English writing on the labels. He used imported ingredients for cosmetics: cochineal from Goa, alum and vermilion from China, and myrrh and rose water from Persia.

He created recipes similar to those from Dissey et Piver, namely Serkis de Sultanas, which they sold as Serkis de Serail, a skin whitening cream, the so called Secret of the Harem. Other products such as Cream de Perse, a Persian face cream, was also produced by both houses.

These swanky products were all the rage with the British aristocrats, especially the young Queen Victoria for whom Guerlain created the perfume Bouquet de la Reine Victoria in honor of her ascension to the throne.

Not long after the Guerlain boutique was opened in 1834, he offered his products to the French market, and it was a most popular and natty place for ladies to purchase the latest skincare and cosmetics.

A fashionable Parisian lady during the 19th century may have used Guerlain's perfumed vinegars to scent her apartment with the Vinaigrillon Seville, which she could also use to heal cuts or sores on her body.

The lady would have also used Guerlain's famous Savon Sapoceti, a rich soap, made up of whale blubber to cleanse her body and whiten the skin. It could be had in either a jasmine, ylang ylang, frangipani, heliotrope, benzoin, acacia, verbena, gardenia, honey or rose, or even one of Guerlain's special perfumed blends, Fleurs de Alpes, Huile d'Amande, or Marcehal Duchesse.

A long soak infused with L'amidon de Guimauve, a starch made from the marshmallow plant, would have softened the bath water.

When she wanted to remove superfluous hair on her face, neck or arms, she could mix some of Guerlain's Epilotoire with a bottle of its Prepared Water to create a hair removing paste.

After bathing and depilating her unwanted hair, she may have dusted her body with Poudre d'Amande in a cloud of pulverized almonds.

To cleanse her face she may have used Laits d'Iris ou de Concombres, a cucumber and iris infused milk from a glass bottle, followed by the citron based astringent, L'Essence de Cedrat or Eau de Pearl to tone her skin and shrink her pores.

By massaging Crème à la Fraise, in a white porcelain jar with a small strawberry molded on the lid, or Creme Emolliente au Suc de Concombres, a cucumber cream, from white porcelain jar, this would moisturize and freshen her face.

To lighten her skin's complexion she may have used some Lotion de Golwond, or the cold cream made up of snails, Creme Froide de Limaçons or the pearly white cream of Blanc de Perles. If she had a blemish a little dab of Creme Camphrea, a so-called miracle cream, from a tin pot would help, it was promoted to make your skin look like one of the porcelain dolls from your childhood.

Before bed, she may have slathered on night cream, possibly Creme Lenitive, an analgesic cream to smooth the skin and to make to maintain its elasticity, and to fade age spots or freckles, she would use Creme Patti or Creme Nivea, both from white porcelain jars.

To clean her teeth, she would use Tresor de la Bouche, a vegetable powder based tooth powder she would moisten with water, it was advertised as preventing tooth decay and would not harm the enamel on the teeth.

To ensure that her mouth was freshened, she would have swished with either L' Elixir de Guerlain, a balsamic antiseptic mouthwash to keep her gums and teeth strong and healthy, or Alcoolat Cochlearia et de Cresson, a watercress infused mouthwash..

To give her complexion a little color, she may apply Serkis de Sultanas, the secret formula of the harem queens. This would be followed by a dusting of Poudre de Lys or Poudre de Cypris culled from its decorated cardboard box with a swansdown puff to cut down on the shine and give her an alabaster like complexion.

To bring a natural glow to her visage, she may have rubbed a little liquid blush, Bloom of Roses on her cheeks with a cotton ball, or swiped a little powdered Rouge au Carmin de Chine or Rouge de Damas on the apples of her cheeks which was pressed into a small glass mortar decorated with gold.

A genteel lady would have used Roselip, a subtle rose-tinted lip balm housed in a tiny Sevres porcelain pot, but a more adventurous lady may have applied a little Rose du Moulin, a rosy lip colour with her finger from a small green glass tub or Extrait de Rose from a glass bottle.

The more daring woman may have even lined her eyes with La Pyrommee, an Arabian style kohl powder for the eyes kept inside an ivory tube decorated with an eye motif. Advertising of the era told a story that Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain learned the secret formula from an Armenian Pasha who gave it to the ladies of his harem

To keep her body moisturized and supple throughout the day, she may have rubbed on some Creme Nivea to her arms and legs and during winter or harsh, windy weather, when her skin needed more protection, a thicker emollient the Cold Cream of Roses would have made sense.

 If she was a nursing mother, she may have applied Baume de la Ferte, a balm made from the tannins in Bordeaux wine, benzoin, beeswax and almond oil, to soothe her chapped nipples, the antiseptic qualities of the benzoin and wine tannins would promote healing. Years later in the 20th century, the formula for this balm would be used to restore flexibility to the lips.

She may have then used Crème de Perse to soften her hands, removed her cuticles with Pate d'Amande au Miel, a honey and almond paste, and applied a little Huile de Rosat to give a rosy gloss to her nails..

Her hair would be cleansed with L'Eau de China, to condition her hair, she would have used the Veritable Moelle de Boeuf, a pomade made up of beef marrow to promote hair growth.
To complete her hairdressing, hen she would have applied some l'Eau Lustrale, a liquid hair groom which would have gave it a lustrous shine. A touch of either Veritable Graisse d'Ours or Graisse d'Ours Liquéfie, pommades made of bear's grease, would help keep that jaunty cowlick from popping out from her coiffure in addition to strengthening and prevent color fading of the hair.

Before heading outside she may have applied Pate a L'Huile d'Amandes de Pistache, a pistachio paste made with almond oil, to make skin supple or Creme Huve de la Providence to her face to protect it from the sun's rays.

Her toilette would be complete with a splash of Esterhazy Bouquet, a cologne rumored to have aphrodisiacal qualities was a blend of orange blossom, rose, vetiver and vanilla. Her copy of Le Journal des Elegances, a fashionable magazine of the time, even had its pages of a special edition sprinkled with the famed essence.

Fashionable cosmetic and skin care products were:

19th century:
  • Cold Cream of Roses (1828) 
  • Veritable Graisse d'Ours (bears grease hair pomade, c1830) 
  • Veritable Moelle de Boeuf (beef marrow pomade c1830) 
  • Savon Sapoceti (soap, made up of whale blubber, c1830 -1960) 
  • Guerlain's Saponaceous Ambrosial Cream (emollient shaving cream soap for men, c1835) 
  • Guerlain's Shaving Cream (made of almond oil and the finest perfume, c1839) 
  • Crème à la Fraise (strawberry face cream, c1840-onward) 
  • Bloom of Roses (liquid blush, 1840) 
  • Otto Rose Soap (soap perfumed with otto of roses, c1840) 
  • Rouge au Carmin de Chine (blush, 1840) 
  • Rouge de Cour (Court Rouge, a blush,1840) 
  • Rouges de Carthame (Safflower Rouge, a blush, 1840) 
  • Rouge de Damas (Damascus Red, a blush, 1840) 
  • Creme Emolliente au Suc de Concombres (cucumber face cream) 
  • L'Essence de Cedrat (Citron based facial astringent) 
  • L'amidon de Guimauve (bath water softener made up of marsh mallow starch) 
  • Laits d'Iris ou de Concombres (cucumber and iris milk, cleanser) 
  • Lotion de Golwond (a skin bleach) 
  • Creme Froide de Limaçons (a cold cream, made from snails) 
  • Blanc de Perles (Pearl White, a skin lightener) 
  • Creme Camphrea (a zit cream, c1870) 
  • Creme Lenitive (an analgesic cream to smooth the skin and to make to maintain its elasticity) 
  • Creme Nivea (skin bleaching cream) 
  • Creme Patti (skin lightener) 
  • Tresor de la Bouche (a vegetable powder based tooth powder) 
  • L' Elixir de Guerlain - Dentifrice Antiseptique (antiseptic mouthwash) 
  • Alcoolat Cochlearia et de Cresson (a watercress infused alcoholic mouthwash) 
  • Serkis de Sultanas (a tinted face cream) 
  • Pate d'Amande au Miel (Honey and almond paste) 
  • Poudre de Lys (face powder) 
  • Poudre de Cypris (Cypress Powder, a face powder c1890) 
  • Poudre de Cygne (Swan's powder, a face powder) 
  • Poudre aux Fleurs (Powder of Flowers, face powder ) 
  • Alba Pulvis (white face powder) 
  • Roselip (rose tinted lip balm) 
  • Extrait de Rose (liquid lip tint) 
  • Baume de la Ferte (nipple balm made from Bordeaux wine tannins, benzoin, beeswax & almond oil, c1878) 
  • Ne M'Oubliez Pas (the first lipstick from 1870) 
  • La Pyrommee (kohl, a powdered eye liner, from 1878-1940) 

20th century:
  • Lotion Vegetale (a hair dressing first made around 1900, came in various scents) 
  • Secret de Bonne Femme Creme Pour le Visage (face cream, scented with Apres L'Ondee perfume, 1904-2001) 
  • Rose du Moulin (Moulin red, a blush, a play on the name Moulin Rouge, made from 1907-1950) 
  • Rouge d'Enfer (Rouge Inferno, first indelible lipstick c1924) 
  • La Poudre C'est Moi (face powder scented with Shalimar, created in 1925) 
  • Stilboide Fluide (a hair dressing, used to add lustre and fix the hair, created in 1923. It was perfumed with Jicky, L'Heure Bleue, Shalimar, Mitsouko, Fleur de Feu,Sous Le ent and Hegemonienne ) 
  • Creme au Citron (a lemon scented moisturizing face cream c1930) 
  • Huile Pour Brunir (tanning oil, 1936) 
  • Cremaliment (1941) 
  • Emulsion Ambrosia (anti aging serum c1950) 
  • Creme Super Nourissante No.2 (1952) 
  • Hydroserum (1955) 
  • Creme Hydrante Pour Le Corps (Body Moisturizer in various scents, Shalimar, Ode, Mitsouko, L'Heure Bleue, Chant D'Aromes, Chamade) (1959) 

Bloom of Rose

Milk of Cucumbers

Creme Froide de Limacons

Ladies in All Climates Powder

Ne m’oubliez pas lipstick

Secret de Bonne Femme

Some photos used in this blog were culled from Beautesse.at

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