Today, it’s often thought that in the past the hair was washed less frequently than today. But this wasn’t always the case. In the Victorian and Edwardian era, it was recommended to wash the hair between twice a week and once a month. Besides washing the hair, frequent hair brushing was used to keep the hair clean and healthy.
How often to wash the hair
The hair should be washed once or twice a week with pure white soap and water. (Scientific American Supplement Volumes, 1883) Shower-baths cause hair loss. The best time to wash the hair is in the evening in order to not catch cold.
‘Oily hair can be remedied by being washed once in two weeks, while hair with a normal amount of oil should not be washed more than once a month unless one is engaged in dusty work or is traveling constantly.’ (Marin Journal, 1901)
‘If you have very dry hair, do not wash it oftener than every three weeks, and you might let it go for four weeks with prudence. If your hair is oily you may indulge in a shampoo every two weeks, but not oftener. Some girls, during the rage for fluffy hair, were in the habit of washing their hair once a week or oftener, a process which took all the natural life and oil out of the finest locks and left them dry, hard, dead and ready to fall out at the first sign of ill-health.’ (San Francisco Call, 1904)
‘Do not wash your hair according to the same rule employed by the girl next door who has luxurious tresses. If your hair is very dry, a fortnightly shampoo is sufficient. If it is oily the shampoo must be given every ten days or once a week.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘I am perfectly certain that much washing of the hair with water is bad. As a matter of fact, I wash my own hair as seldom as possible.’ The hair is washed more in winter, and less in summer. It is ‘possible by much brushing to avoid any excessive use of water.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
The hair should be washed once a month. Between the washings, the hair should be cleansed from dust and dirt with a brush, in the morning and evening, and once during the day. To keep the hair clean, wash the hair brush at least once a week. (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
Wash oily hair, especially when living in a city, once a week. The hair may be washed less often, if the hair is dry, and if living in the country. (A Girl’s Problems In Home Economics, 1926)