DIY Hairspray Recipe – Victorian Rose Bandoline

DIY Hairspray Recipe - Victorian Rose Bandoline

I was surprised when I found Victorian recipes for hairspray! 😀 In Victorian times, hairspray was called bandoline which was used to set curls. Victorian hairspray was made with quince seeds, gum arabic or gum tragacanth. Here I tried a Victorian recipe for ‘Rose Bandoline’ made with gum arabic and rosewater.

Homemade Hairspray, With Gum Arabic, Rosewater


  • 1 tsp gum arabic
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tbsp rosewater

Heat gum arabic and water in a water bath, then let it stand overnight at room temperature (till the gum arabic is dissolved completely). Add rosewater, and the rose bandoline is ready for use. Rose bandoline can be stored in the fridge for some days, but it doesn’t keep very long.


Setting Curls with Rose Bandoline

Braid Waves, DIY Hair Spray

I made braid waves to test the DIY hair spray: On the right, I sprayed the hair with Victorian rose bandoline before braiding my hair, on the left, the hair is just sprayed with water. This is how my hair looked after it’s dried.

Braid Waves after Brushing
Braid waves after brushing
Braid Waves - the next morning
Braid waves – the next morning

As the pictures show, Victorian rose bandoline doesn’t make curls last longer.


Rose Bandoline as Hair Spray

Even if it doesn’t help to set curls, as hairspray Victorian rose bandoline works just as well as commercial hairsprays: It gives the hair medium hold – and you can easily adjust the recipe: just use more or less gum arabic for a strong or flexible hold hairspray. Rose bandoline doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, and because of the rosewater it smells wonderful of roses.

To use rose bandoline as hairspray, pin the hair in place and spray rose bandoline onto the hair. As soon as it’s dried, it gives the hair the desired hold and you can remove the bobby pins.

13 thoughts on “DIY Hairspray Recipe – Victorian Rose Bandoline

  1. Ooooo weeeee, I have unruly, curly hair and I hate using hair spray so most of the time I look like a walking mop. I so have to give this a try. It really looks like it calms the curls down too. Thanks so much Lina

    1. I’d love to have curly hair! 😀 I’d hoped that the rose bandoline would help the waves last longer. But it didn’t work! 😉

  2. So fun to read your posts. I find the history of cosmetics fascinating, yet I had never thought about it until reading your blog. Great stuff. I like Michelle have long thick wavy hair that I tend to keep controlled in a knot of some sort. This recipe would be fun to put on my hair before pinning it to see the curls.

  3. This is so interesting! I’ve never thought of making my own hair spray. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  4. I teach a small historical, Victorian and (lately) a Edwardian class at Carton Plantation in town.
    It used to be just a few things, like how to darn or how we kept cool in southern summers to having a full on class about fashion, food, household work and now cosmetics. As far as the bandoline, do not use a spray bottle foremost, also do have your hair done in a style wether, up and curled or if you leave it down braid it, once you have your hair braided then take a small sponge and sponge on the bandoline, do the same if you are doing a simple updo. If you are doing ringlet curls, once you take the hair out of your rags or heated curlers dampen your fingers with the bandoline and shape the ringlets. If you do this daily ( as most women did) it is vital that one must brush, then comb, then brush then comb to get out the gun Arabic as it is more of a application glue than a actual liquid. Of course a through hair wash once every week or as often as you can does help. Men could also use this however most who need it used a pomade or wax and spirit concoction.

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