While Victorian women grew their hair as long as possible, even if the hair was thin, Edwardian women favored short and thick hair, which was easier to put up into a pompadour hairstyle. There was also a debate in the Edwardian era whether hair should be cut or singed from time to time to remove split ends.
Cutting Or Singeing Split Ends
After washing, drying, and combing the hair, clip all split ends – clipping is less dangerous than singeing. (The Delineator, 1894)
Split ends should be singed, not cut: Professionals take ‘strands of hair, twist them tightly […] and then quickly run over each a lighted taper, that burns the tiny ends sticking out and does not affect the long growth’ (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910).
‘To singe the hair take a little strand of the hair and roll it. Then run up and down the strand with the finger tips to loosen the ends. Now take a lighted taper and go up and down the strand until there is not a loose end in sight, and all the split ends are burned off. It is quick work, and must be done by some one who understands it. You cannot singe your hair yourself.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1903)
‘Singeing the hair is useless’ (A Girl’s Problems In Home Economics, 1926).
About Cutting The Hair
Cutting the hair leads to coarse, less glossy, and paler hair, as well as shortens ‘its term of life’. Better than cutting, is plucking out the ‘ragged, withered, and grey hairs.’ (Scientific American Supplement Volumes, 1883) Especially children’s hair should never be cut: ‘the hair of women who possess luxuriant locks from the time of girlhood never again attains its original length after having once been cut.’ Some specialists regard it as important ‘that a child’s hair should never be allowed to grow more than six inches’ (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910).
It’s no longer fashionable, as in Victorian times, to have hair ‘to sit on’. Hair should be cut as ‘short, thick hair “does up ” so much more successfully than long and thin, or even long and thick. As a rule, the hair should be cropped midway between the shoulders and the waist; if very luxuriant it may be allowed to grow to the waist, but as a rule not longer.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)