The natural desire of all to display what personal attractions they may possess to the best possible advantage, and the pleasure which all mankind, whether civilized or savage, take in looking upon a beautiful female face, has led the weaker sex in many instances to commit violations of common sense, which cause feelings of deep regret and commiseration in the breast of every true man and woman. There is no custom so foolish and frivolous as that of painting the face, or endeavoring to obtain by artificial means an unnatural complexion ; and this custom, which at first we are inclined to regard as simply childish, assumes the graver nature of a crime when we regard the means adopted to attain this silly end. For example :—Arsenic is used in great quantities to produce a healthy look, ruby lips, and rotundity of form, and we have it on good authority that in many parts of Europe, and for aught we know to the contrary, in America, arsenic is eaten in large quantities, and Dr. Tschudi, the well known traveler, says " it does not seem to have any more pernicious effect than opium eating, " as if that was not bad enough ! Many, tuns weight of arsenic are sold annually in the form of cosmetic powders for outward application. Bismuth and antimony are also largely used in the manufacture of these articles, without which ladies do not consider their toilets complete, and much as they may abhor the character of a Borgia or Brinvilliers, they are themselves provided with weapons as dangerous as either of those two females ; the difference being that one is doing all she can to poison herself, and the others poisoned their friends. It is said of a celebrated actress that she must in her life time have used half a hundred weight of oxyd of bismuth in the shape of cosmetic powders, and the pearl powders, rouges, and the whole army of so-called beautifiers, are all more or less highly poisonous. It surely cannot be right to use or encourage the use of these articles, more especially when we know that there are plenty of vegetable compounds which will answer just as well, and will not stop up the pores with poisonous metals. The Spanish ladies use a harmless cosmetic composed of almonds, and another of pistachio nuts, ground in water, and which are said to have no deleterious effects. We have not space to expatiate as fully as we would wish on the moral or the physiology of these facts, but we fulfill our duty in calling public attention to them, that the good sense of the people may rise in mutiny against painted beauty, especially when that paint carries with it the breath of poison ; and we would let every one know that some ladies actually, as well as figuratively, deal out to their admirers Tailing glances.
This article was originally published with the title "Poisonous Beauty"