‘More necessary, even, than washing, is airing the hair in summer’ (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910). To air the hair thoroughly at night, braid one or two braids every night before retiring: ‘I believe it is impossible for a woman who does not brush and braid her tresses every night to have as luxuriant locks as one who regards this routine’. Before braiding, brush the hair for about 5 minutes: ‘there should be at least twenty long strokes of the brush after all snarls have been removed with a comb’. (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910) Use a fairly stiff bristle brush, and a coarse-tooth comb. Divide the hair into strands. Brush each of these ‘by placing the tips of the bristles on the scalp. The brush must then be drawn through the locks down to the ends’. Repeat it several times for each strand of hair. Then braid the hair into one braid, or two braids if the hair is thick. Secure the braids with silk ribbons. ‘Ventilation is as important for the hair as for the lungs. It should be lifted from the scalp and shaken lightly every night before retiring, then braided lightly and loosely.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘Nearly half of your life is spent in bed and thus nearly half of your life your hair is in tight pig-tails and curl-papers. This is unfortunate for many reasons. First of all, it keeps the scalp from the air and is not good for the roots of the hair. Secondly, it would drive the most devoted man to the other woman or the uttermost parts of the earth. Take quite as much pains in arranging your hair for the night as you would for a party. Do not attempt to put it up conventionally, but dress it picturesquelly. One of the prettiest night arrangements is the Marguerite fashion of two plaits down the back, loosely woven and gracefully parted.’ (San Francisco Call, 1904)
Oiling The Hair
Massage the roots of the hair nightly with the ‘fingers dipped in an oily tonic […] just enough to keep the tips of the fingers moistened’. (Chicago Tribune, 1903)
After brushing the hair, ‘the scalp should be […] massaged with the fingers, using a rotary motion, and separate strands of the hair should be briskly pulled all over the head. This is to improve the circulation and bring the blood to the surface. After this a good hair tonic should be applied with a medicine dropper directly to the scalp and rubbed in a little.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)
-> More about Victorian & Edwardian Pomade And Hairspray
‘Many women fail to understand the great benefit of the proper care of the hair before retiring. Often the hair is allowed to remain done up during the sleeping hours, and combing and brushing at such time is rarely ever done.
To acquire a beautiful growth of hair the following hygienic laws should be followed without fail: Take down the hair at night and comb out evenly and smoothly; then brush thoroughly with the proper kind of brush and allow to remain flowing, or do up in one or two loose braids according to the amount of hair.
If the hair is inclined to be dry, some bland oil should be rubbed into the scalp with the tips of the fingers. Pure white vaseline answers very well, as it does not turn rancid, but it should be used in moderation, as it has a tendency to darken the hair, especially that of a very blond color.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
- 3 oz. almond oil
- 1 oz. oil of rosemary
- 30 drops oil of lavender
‘A little of the mixture is rubbed into the scalp every two or three nights. […]
If the hair is naturally oily and a perfume is desired for the hair, any essential oil, such as oil of violet, oil of bergamot or lavender, may be used in the same manner, though much more sparingly and only once in a week.
Sometimes the least touch of an essential oil and a bland oil may be given, especially after a shampoo, to give sheen to the hair. Such preparations are known as brilliantine.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘Nineteen heads out of twenty, so the doctors tell us, need rest from too much combing and arranging. When hair is thin, dry, fading or falling, it needs rest. […] Some women wear a cap at night, but it must be of silk. A silk handkerchief, knotted at the four corners, is sometimes the most convenient arrangement. The silk, these devotees of the nightcap say, creates gloss or polish by communicating electricity to the hair.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1903)
Perfuming The Hair Overnight
To perfume the hair and keep it tangle free, wear a scent cap at night. Cut a circle, like a dusting cap pattern, from thin China or India silk. Make an interlining of cashmere ‘to hold the odor satisfactorily. Add an elastic round the hem. ‘Between the inner and outer cap any kind of sachet desired is sprinkled thickly’, with orris root or any other desired scent. Tuck the braid under the cap at night. Other ways to scent the hair: perfume the pompadour roll and hats, and use some perfume on the bristles of the hair brush. (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)
Silk Ribbons As Hair Accessories
A schoolgirl’s full, or wavy hair only needs one or two silk ribbons to tie the hair back from the face during the day. Mothers mostly choose white, pink, or blue ribbons for their daughter’s hair. However, a black ribbon for black or blond hair, cherry or pink for brunettes, russet or salmon for red, and brown or yellow for blond hair might be better. White ribbons only for girls with very white skin, blue for girls with blue eyes, and pink for girls with white skin and dark brown hair. (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)