Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Roman Beauty Tips

Pulchra's Beauty Tips [by Caroline Lawrence]

Millie Binks as Pulchra
I am very beautiful. That's why they call me Pulchra. Here are some of my beauty tips:

1. Every Roman girl would like pale skin like mine. The best way to keep your skin fair is to stay out of the sun or use a parasol. Some ladies use chalk powder but that is terribly obvious.

2. To give a natural blush to your cheeks, take a wine-cup with some dried wine in the bottom. Rub your finger gently in the powdered dregs, then brush lightly across your cheekbone. Use red-currant juice to stain your lips an attractive pink.

3. For mysterious eyes, use a little kohl. This is a very exotic, charcoal grey powder from far-away lands. On your make-up palette, mix the kohl with a little water and use a tiny brush to outline your eyes. Then smudge gently for a natural look.

4. For luminous eyes, brush some powdered stibium across the upper lid of your eye. Be careful! The skin is very delicate here.

5. Want to keep your hair glossy and clean? If your hair is oily, use egg mixed with vinegar, then rinse well. If your hair is dry, get your slave-girl to work the best quality olive oil into it, then rinse well with warm water and dry with a linen towel. Some people use a decoction of honey in warm water for the final rinse to give extra shine.

6. To tint your hair red, dye it with a mixture of henna and red wine. To lighten dark hair, use a mixture of vinegar and lye. Of course if the gods have blessed you with golden hair like mine, don't tamper with it!

7. Use pumice to smooth the rough skin on your heels. The best time is at the baths, between the massage and hairdresser.

8. You can also use pumice to keep your legs smooth and hair-free. Rub the stone briskly over your legs while your skin is dry. Some people suggest smearing your legs with rabbit blood to keep the hair from growing back but I think that's repulsive.

On the set of Roman Mysteries
After your bath, when you've scraped off the oily dead skin, towel yourself briskly and re-apply a lightly scented oil to your face and body. Your skin will look dewy fresh and you'll smell nice, too.

Oil of lemon is a very delicious fragrance and quite subtle. Use it on those special occasions when you really want to impress someone; a dark-eyed boy with curly hair, for example...

P.S. If you feel you simply must lose weight, you can find Celsus and Pliny's diet tips HERE.

See more of Pulchra and the "dark-eyed boy with curly hair" in the Roman Mysteries TV series! And peep behind the scenes of the filming of both seasons HERE

[The 17+ books in the Roman Mysteries series are perfect for children aged 9+, especially those studying Romans as a topic in Key Stage 2. The BBC made a TV series in 2007 and you can watch episodes via iTunes. Carrying on from the Roman Mysteries, the Roman Quests series set in Roman Britain launched in May 2016 with Escape from Rome.]


  1. Nice tips! Cute! (Trying to figure out if 5-8 would actually work...)

  2. I tried the egg thing and got an omelette in my hair!

  3. Nice tips. Thanks for sharing your beauty secret.

  4. Anonymous10:47 PM

    Awesome. I am going to try some of them.

  5. Anonymous10:40 AM

    And where can I buy rabbit blood? Not sure I would be forgiven if I used our pet for depilation. Which reminds me, I must feed her.