Rouge could be used to color lips as well as cheeks, and like face powder, was widely available in the shops. It came in the form of powder, pomade, liquid, or pieces of gauze or silk that had been saturated with color. Eyebrows might be darkened with a pomade made especially for this purpose or with burnt cork.4 To enhance her décolleté when wearing a ball gown, the fashionable woman might outline the veins of her neck and throat with a blue powder applied with a leather pencil.5
Even after 1850, a deft touch in the use of all cosmetics was necessary, for an obviously made-up woman risked being thought of as “loose.” Whatever the antebellum woman did to enhance her looks, while not exactly a secret, was supposed to leave the gentlemen with the impression that she was a natural beauty.
4 Mescher, 50.
5 As early as 1811, a popular beauty manual condemned vein outlining. See The Mirror of the Graces (London: Printed for Crosby and Co. 1811), 56. Yet in 1869, Brinton and Napheys were recommending a blue-tinged French chalk for this purpose, and as late as 1911, aristocratic British women when preparing for a formal ball, were in the habit of outlining the veins of their throat, neck, and temple with a blue crayon. See Juliet Nicolson, The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm (New York: Grove Press, 2006), 82.