Friday, August 16, 2013

Never a Bad Hair Day - Part 2

When I first wrote a post on hair dressing two and a half years ago, I stated the following:
For all the elaborate dressing of hair, products were seldom mentioned in advertising. Atkinson's Curling Fluid and Rowland's Macassar Oil appear in advertisements in La Belle Assemblee in 1815...
Since then I have read a great many more Regency journals and magazines, and discovered that products for the hair were indeed advertised widely--even as excessively as they are today. The concerns also were the same--too much hair, too little hair, unsatisfactory colours, the problem of cleanliness, and the control of wayward locks.
Miss Harriet and Miss Elizabeth Binney (detail) 1806
by John Smart, Victoria and Albert Museum

The advertisements I have found since 2011 indicate a modern desire to avoid a bad hair day, and a wealth of products to aid those in search of perfect hair. Products for cleansing the hair were the least advertised, perhaps because soap was still the most common tool.
Repository of Arts June 1818
Hair loss, then as now, seems to have been a concern:
La Belle Assemblee Jan 1807
Repository of Arts June 1818
Atkinson's offered a variety of aids--from promoting growth to colouring the hair:
Repository of Arts June 1818
Colouring the hair seems to have been of great interest, which I find a little surprising for some reason. 
Repository of Arts June 1818
 Now if you had too much hair, in all the wrong places, there was help for that as well. This advertisement was directed at women; I wonder how many men also took advantage of Trent's Depilatory...
La Belle Assemblee June 1807
There were hair salons, it seems. For the latest cut or 'do, Vickery's was one, no doubt, of many.
La Belle Assemblee March 1807
And finally, if you needed a little augmentation--some extensions perhaps?--there were wig-makers, who had perfected their craft in the previous century.
La Belle Assemblee January 1807
So, once again, we are made aware that the Regency world was not so very different from our own. And that reminds me, I need a cut and colour. Better go book an appointment...

'Til next time,



Anne Gallagher said...

I wonder if any of that stuff really worked. I do know that rinsing your hair in rose water leaves it shiny and soft. But all that other stuff just sounds like snake oil to me.

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

I do agree--but then we have some very sophisticated snake oil ourselves these days :)