The researchers are unlocking Renaissance beauty secrets.

The researchers are unlocking Renaissance beauty secrets.

Erin Griffey, an art historian with a keen eye for beauty, has noticed a striking similarity between the beauty products of today and those of Renaissance Europe. "I'm one of those people who reads the backs of beauty products," she says.

She noticed that many ingredients in beauty recipes from the 16th to 18th centuries appear on modern beauty packaging. For instance, rosewater is used in modern skin-hydrating mists and sulfur is found in some over-the-counter acne creams. While the ingredients and formulations have changed over

Beautiful Chemistry: Uncovering the Secrets of Renaissance-Era Cosmetics What did people use cosmetics for in the Renaissance era, and how did they work? These are the questions that Dr. Griffey and her colleagues sought to answer with the Beautiful Chemistry project. To begin, they looked at recipes for cosmetics from the era. These recipes often listed strange or even dangerous ingredients, such as bile acids, calves' ho

The team began their research by studying "sticky recipes" from the Renaissance period. These recipes, which are found in many sources, include rosemary flowers in white wine, myrrh powder with egg white, and the velvety covering

When it comes to cooking, the devil is in the details. This is especially true when trying to recreate historical recipes that are often vague and varied. To get the most accurate results, chemist Michel Nieuw

When it comes to recreating a centuries-old recipe, you can't just wing it. That's according to Seattle-based chef and author Ethan Stowell, who, along with his team, recently set out to make a dish from a 16th-century cookbook. The dish in question is

Nieuwoudt and her team recently published a study in the journal Frontiers in Chemistry in which they took a closer look at the chemical composition of rosemary-infused wine. To create their concoction, the researchers boiled rosemary flowers in round-bottom flasks each filled with a different solution: sweet white wine, dry white wine, ethanol in water or

Nieuwoudt's findings suggest that the Renaissance-era recipe for a potion that would "make the face fair" actually worked by

The team has also made progress on unlocking the secrets of myrrh powder and egg whites. Experiments suggest that myrrh draws out proteins from egg whites and the egg whites extract resins, sugars and volatiles from the myrrh. That results in a serumlike product that has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and probably stimulates collagen growth, Nieuwoudt says.

The researchers are still teasing out results for what deer velvet and bean flour may have been used for. And they have yet to tackle recipes with dangerous ingredients.

The researchers hope to perfect their re-creations and bring the products to drug store shelves. The appeal for people to use Renaissance products is that they are natural and safe. The beauty for the researchers lies in "digging [the recipes] out and understanding them."

Related news
Two asteroids might have slain the dinosaurs, not just one.
Two asteroids might have slain the dinosaurs, not just one.
Chicxulub, the asteroid that wiped out most dinosaurs, might have had a little sibling
How living in a pandemic affects our sense of time.
How living in a pandemic affects our sense of time.
Time hasn’t made much sense since spring 2020 for many people, myself included
The new seasoning smells like meat because of the sugar — and mealworms.
The new seasoning smells like meat because of the sugar — and mealworms.
Adding sugars to powdered, cooked mealworms creates a seasoning with an appetizing “meatlike” odor, researchers report August 24 at the American Chemical Society fall meeting in Chicago
What triggers giant honeybees to do the wave?
What triggers giant honeybees to do the wave?
Giant honeybees send waves rippling across their open nests by flipping their abdomens upward in coordination, a sight that approaching predators seem to shy away from
How the long-term imprint of COVID-19 pandemic may leave on our health.
How the long-term imprint of COVID-19 pandemic may leave on our health.
At the start of another school year, I’ve been thinking about the differences between 2021 and 2022