The favorite hairstyle of Edwardian women was the pompadour hairstyle. They wore it as an everyday hairstyle and for balls and evening soirees. The basic Edwardian pompadour hairstyle is high over the forehead and close at the back with a bun at the top of the head.
In This Post:
- 16 Different Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyles
- History Of The Victorian & Edwardian Pompadour
- Secrets Of The Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle
- How To Create A Soft & Fluffy Edwardian Pompadour
- Adapting The Pompadour To One’s Type Of Beauty
- The Edwardian Pompadour – Day & Night
- How To Make An Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle – 8 Tutorials
- 26 Back Dressings Of The Edwardian Pompadour
- Hair Accessories For The Edwardian Pompadour
Pompadour hairstyles became popular in the late Victorian and early Edwardian era. Almost all Edwardian women wore a variation of the pompadour coiffure.
If you look at antique Edwardian photographs you’d think that all pompadour hairstyles look the same but there were almost endless variations of the pompadour hairstyle: plain pompadours for everyday and sports, and elaborate ones for afternoon and evening. There was the high pompadour, the severe style, the soft pompadour, the pompadour dip, the Colonial style, the Spanish coiffure, the low pompadour, Southern fashion … And then there were pompadour hairstyles with names, such as the Lady Curzon coiffure, the Princess Chimay coiffure, the Recamier hairstyle and the pompadour hairdressing with Janet Meredith or Peggy O’Neal curls.
‘We have […] the high rolling pompadour, the straight pompadour; the frowsly pompadour; the parted pompadour; the pompadour that extends out over the forehead like a shelf; the pompadour that is all in the middle and the pompadour that is all on the sides; the pompadour that exposed the ears in boldest outlines and the pompadour that hid them as a dark disgrace.’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1903)
Technically speaking, pompadour refers only to the front part of the hairstyle. The back hair could be arranged in coronet style, psyche knot, puffs or curls. While a simple figure 8 bun was the most popular, easiest and fastest way of arranging the back hair.
‘The Pompadour style is one of the quickest methods of dressing the hair. A Pompadour front and sides, with a chic raised back, finished by an artistic “8” […] can be made and finished in under ten minutes.
Indeed, it could be done in five, but when attempting this style a few extra minutes must be spent on the manipulation of the Pompadour, if the ultimate result is to be at all pleasing.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
The few extra minutes are necessary to make the pompadour roll soft and fluffy: A ‘soft, loose, pretty effect […] is essential in modern, fashionable hairdressing.’ (Marin Journal, 1901)
Natural wavy of curly hair is best for Edwardian pompadour hairstyles. But if you have straight hair – like me – you can do what Edwardian straight-haired women did and pin curl your hair. Curling the hair on pins creates authentic Edwardian curls – the ones that look so gorgeous in antique Edwardian photographs – just click on the link below.
Creating a soft Edwardian pompadour without waved or naturally curly hair doesn’t work – trust me, I tried it! When you have naturally curly hair or pin curled your hair it isn’t necessary to tease the hair or use a hair rat for the pompadour pouf.
16 Different Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyles
‘The pompadour is built on different lines […] for it is made pointed, broken with a part on one side, or just plain around. The latter will be little used’ (Evening Star, 1906). ‘Strange that the name “Pompadour” should stand for the crisp little waves combed high above the forehead, and also for the light puff carelessly falling low over the brow, yet such is the case.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1899)
Here’s an overview of 16 different types of pompadour hairstyles. But there existed almost endless variations of these basic pompadour styles because the pompadour was adapted to different faces: So one woman wore the high pompadour higher, while another woman wore the high pompadour lower. Likewise, the pompadour dip could be worn in the middle of the forehead or one side.
Everyday Edwardian Pompadour
‘Since the pompadour style has become so much in vogue and gives such pleasing effects, this style of hair dressing may be considered best for home and street wear, when suitable to the features of the patron.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘The pompadour that is up of the face with the least possible swell at the sides and back […] is the one which looks best for most faces, keeps neat and has the best conventional business air.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1907)
Related: How To Dress In The Edwardian Era
For the simple pompadour ‘one part is made across the top or crown of the head extending from back of the ear to the other ear, separating the hair into a front and back section. The front hair is combed out […] and is curled or waved and gathered up on top of the head, slightly to the back, and pinned into place.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘For the rest of her hair let her have a coil on top or on the crown of her head. The coil is better than the twisted coronet about not getting out of place and frizzy.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1907) ‘The figure “8” is perhaps the simplest and easiest to do of all, and consequently the most in demand. There is nothing to it but to place the coil in an eight and fasten it down well. Anybody can do it if she only has the necessary hair.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901) ‘The hair is then lightly combed out to cover the side partings. All the free ends of the back hair must be tucked away, as they give a disorderly look’ (Beauty Culture, 1911).
The Pompadour Dip
‘To “break” the pompadour, ‘a big central “dip” may be made by drawing the middle of the roll down towards the nose. This style is greatly used by American women, being known in the States as the “Pompadour dip.”
‘Nearly all fashionable women get the hair down on the forehead in some one wave or point.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902) It certainly suits a certain piquant style of face, and a rather upturned chin, but it should be avoided by the majority of women. It obviously tends to narrow the face and eyes, and, unless the hair is extremely well waved, becomes very heavy.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
‘The dip or scallop is still in favor. It is a dashing touch and makes a pompadour possible to anyone. The lines of your individual face must determine where this is to be placed. It is usually on one side; now and then a narrow face is improved by having the dip of hair where the little girl’s curl was, right in the middle of the forehead.
Another thing to be considered is the outline of the hat. If it tilts to one side, the hair should follow its line, which is usually down on the right and up on the left.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
‘Pompadours are still inclined to show a dip over the forehead and are sometimes side parted or have a part on each temple.’ (Marin Journal, 1907) The front hair is ‘arranged in pompadour fashion, with what is called the chorus girl dip in front. The chorus girl dip is the low, long wave, which is pulled down at one side, and which, in extreme cases, quite touches the eyebrow.’ (San Jose Mercury News, 1904) ‘Pompadours with “dips” […] are popular, and may have either a single dip in the middle or one at each side’ (New York Tribune, 1905). ‘Of course, one has to be governed by faces, but if possible let the downtown girl wear her pompadour without any “dip” at all.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1907)
‘A stunning coiffure for a young girl is the pointed pompadour that is pulled gently away from the forehead at either side and brought down in a rounded point to the center of the brow.’ (Evening Star, 1907) ‘There is a pompadour which is called the chorus girl, because it calls for a deep dip over one eyebrow. To make this pompadour the hair should be waved and tossed high over a very long and very round roll. When the coiffure is nearly completed a handful of hair is pulled down low at one side. This makes the big becoming dip over the eyebrow.’ (The Washington Times, 1905)
The French Double Dip
‘There are many new and beautiful designs, including regent double & single dip pompadours.’ (The Sun, 1904) The Louis XV. style ‘consists in arranging the hair in a series of breaks or ridges across the front.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f)
‘In this style, tie the hair after parting and curling […] it should be tied as high as the hair will allow. Begin by putting up the front […] putting up the left dip first. The dip is made by first roughing the hair with the comb, which is accomplished by sliding the comb backward through the hair toward the roots. Great care must be taken not to allow the teeth of the comb to extend through the under portion. After roughing, smooth the under side by combing toward the ends.
In making the dip, first twist the ends of the hair to the right with the left hand, keeping the first and second finger of the right hand about an inch from the roots of the hair and draw the entire coil over the finger, making a puff […] In drawing the finger from underneath the dip spread the hair into a roll.
The second dip is accomplished in the same way as the first. In dressing the sides, divide the hair crosswise into two parts, bringing the upper half straight up and pin at the crown and then take the remaining half and pin over the other, excepting that it is pinned a little farther back. Both sides are dressed alike. The back of the hair is now ready to be dressed.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
‘A French woman leaves her hair extremely loose, so that there will be extra length […] to allow of catching it roundly over the bandeau at the sides, and particularly in front, where it forms a sort of heavy rounded bang, completely covering the bandeau and prettily filling in all space under those short hatbrims.’ (Omaha Daily Bee, 1906) A brunette wore her hair ‘with a double link of puffs around her pompadour and two curls skewered in the center’ (Evening Star, 1908).
‘The Gainsborough beauties all had large heads. The faces were small, and round the face was coiled a coiffure in beautiful studied confusion. It was very pompadour, and there was another pompadour back of the first; then came the puffs and the curls. The same style prevails now to a great extent and the hair is as elaborately dressed as you can imagine.’ (The Houston Daily Post, 1898)
The V-Shaped Pompadour
Pretty ‘is the pointed pompadour made by marcelling the front hair to a point in the center of the forehead’ (Evening Star, 1906). ‘One of the prettiest and most generally becoming modes of arranging the hair displays the fluffy V-shaped Pompadour covering well the center of the forehead.
To adjust the hair in this manner the back hair must be separated from the front. Fluff the hair with the corset end of the comb just enough to make it retain a certain firmness, twist the ends and secure with a wire hairpin.
Comb the back hair to the top of the head and insert a wide back-comb before the twist is begun. This will preserve the wave, whereas if the twist is made before, it is almost impossible to form any kind of knot or plait without drawing the hair too tightly at one side or the other.’ (The Designer, 1905)
The High Pompadour
‘There is a high coiffure that is very becoming […] and it does not belie its name, for it seems toppling forward. It is called the Princess Chimay coiffure, but it is worn by high society women […] It is a youthful coiffure, for it is tossed so far front that it does not give the face that mature expression of hair that is worn medium. Upon the crown of the head, like a back country woman, as they say in London, the effect is very middle-aged.
This coiffure, which is the one practiced by many of the leading hair dressers, is built by combing the hair so high up, and so far forward, that one feels as though one were tying it upon the brows. It is really tied just where the old fashioned bang used to end, at the half of the head. The hair is now twisted round and round, in full hand fashion, as every woman knows how to twist it, and is knotted in a tall pagoda. While it still points high the sides are pinned fast and the top is left towering. This is the extremely high head dressing.
The very front of the hair, which was previously parted off, is now waved and brought down so that it is draped across the forehead. The brows are covered by it and the eyebrows, even, are partially concealed. Finally, the head is finished with pins or other decorations.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘The very newest way of wearing the hair is to pile it high on the head in a young tower.’ (Sacramento Union, 1906) ‘The London coiffure is so immense that women are hesitating just a little about donning it, for it has an artificial look. The hair is combed pompadour in the front and is thrown up over a huge roll, where it lies all little curls and deep waves. At the crown of the head it is tied high and then twisted into an immense figure eight, which is spread all over the back of the head.
Few women have the hair for this and there must be worn a switch mixed with the natural hair. The bigger this switch or artificial hair the better, for fashion decrees that the hair shall be as abundant as can be managed. After it is spread out upon the back of the head and pinned with many pins it is dressed with ribbon ornaments and combs.’ (The Jersey City News, 1905)
Low Pompadour Aka Quaint Hairstyle
‘Once more Dame Fashion has turned fairly and squarely about and declared that the quaint old hairdressing of the time of the war [American Civil War] shall be the style of the day. She doesn’t seem to care either whether she makes her devotees look like flatheads in the sudden process, but goes serenely on her way pointing scornfully at the high pompadours […]
So if you think you simply cannot part your hair because it is distressingly thin or woefully unbecoming, divide it into two distinct parts and then give your entire attention to the art of piling it about your face in a soft fluffy manner. […] Really, truly Southern fashion. Flat it is in front, but a great soft roll on either side finds its way mysteriously to the puffs that adorn the crown and top of the head’ (San Francisco Call, 1905).
‘The low styles of hair dressing, really, though, as a matter of fact, call for more real art than the high ones. It is comparatively easy to dress the hair high, while the low style needs the aid of pins and care, knowledge and all the rest, to make it look well.
A handsome modification of L’Aiglon is shown in a low coiffure which is made by waving the whole head. The hair is parted upon one side and is done in the French [Marcel] wave […] The hair, after being thoroughly waved, is all drawn to the nape of the neck and twisted into a big soft knot, which is afterward lifted a little and spiked to the middle of the back of the head. The result is an old-fashioned though very becoming drooping knot, careless and graceful.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘As a rule quaint simple modes, while becoming to a beautiful woman, are trying to a plain one.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902) ‘The hair dressed very low on the nape of the neck […] is becoming only to a certain type of woman, although it is immensely popular at present.
The style of coiling the long loops of the hair very low in the back is found very much prettier and less severe than when knotted several inches higher. In this arrangement the shape of the head is beautifully outlined, nothing interfering with the artistic lines as far as the neck, where the hair is either knotted or caught gracefully with a handsome jeweled or tortoise comb. The front hair can either be parted directly in the center or a little to one side in a manner much effected of late.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘The only objection to the low coiffure is based on the ground that it musses easily. It gets ruffled up from being rubbed against the bodice, and it soon looks disheveled.’ And for most women the ‘Psyche [knot] at the back of the neck’ and ‘the flat braid at the back’ are ‘trying’. (Chicago Tribune, 1904)
The ‘popular low coiffure is the privilege of youth, and should be avoided by all women of mature years. […] Downward lines make for age, upturning lines for youthfulness. Incidentally the girl who adopts the coiffure on the nape of the neck must exercise exquisite care in shampooing her hair, otherwise her collars and shirtwaist yokes will show the slight discoloration which betrays the need of shampooing.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘The hair shall be low, says Dame Fashion. […] But it takes more hair. Much more, to be strictly accurate. More is the pity, for the average girl of today hasn’t got it. […] The very first thing to be done is to visit a hair dresser. Purchase a switch, and be sure that it matches your own hair to a nicety. […] What are you going to do is the next question. Is it to be a reception, theater or just a swell call? It all depends on that, you know, for the low style is not half as accommodating as the high. It is either severely plain or extremely elaborate. There seems to be no half way stations.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901)
‘There is all the world of difference between coiffures for morning and those for afternoon and evening. Very simple low coiffures are much liked for morning and outdoor sports, and if they are the least bit elevated the hair is braided, then coiled around the crown of the head very unpretentiously above a mass of soft waves. For afternoon […] the high coiffure is almost exclusively affected’ (Marin Journal, 1907).
‘For the classic faces, those of the perfect profile, like the Cleo de Merode type […] The hair is parted and is banded down smooth on each side of the face. It covers the ears and is brought back and twisted in a knot at the back of the neck.’ (The Washington Times, 1905)
Pompadour With Division
The Pompadour ‘coiffure may be arranged with a division near the centre. This is a different thing from the parting, which is made by passing the comb through the hair in a perfectly straight line, so that the skin is exposed, whilst for the division the hair is waved, and combed back from the face a la Pompadour, and then the fingers are run through it so as to cause it to divide in a perfectly natural manner, which is very attractive.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f) The ‘loose and divided Pompadour dressing is more becoming to a fresh young face than any other.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2c)
‘A second style is a division with a front dip bringing the hair down over the centre of the forehead in a curve. For this the division should come fairly well in the middle, as otherwise it makes the dip take an ugly straight line across the forehead, looking more like a swathe.
The three-pouf style is another expression of the Pompadour that is becoming to many. The front hair is parted so that it can be taken back in three separate pieces. The divisions thus formed on either side are sometimes filled in with bunches of small curls. Again, a mode known as the Rejane, is a picturesque outcome of the Pompadour coiffure. There is a pouf on either side of the front, and then above each ear a cluster of curls. It is for the petite brunette of the type of the French actress herself that one would recommend such a style.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f)
‘Whether or no a division is becoming is […] an individual matter, but it is not nearly so severe a test of regularity of feature as a defined parting.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f)
‘The “divided pompadour” – or “pomp,” as slangy young women have been heard to call it – […] is just what its name signifies – a pompadour with a parting’ (The New York Tribune, 1900).
‘If the divided pompadour style is desired, the hair is divided either at the centre of the forehead […] or to one side […] the two sides being waved more fully and gathered as in the plain style. […]
The back hair may be simply gathered in a roll or be waved and pinned loosely to the back of the head in cluster fashion […] or braided and gathered into a knot and pinned into place. A back comb adds to the effect and helps to hold the whole coiffure.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘The front hair section may be varied in size by the location of the parting. This may be made very near the forehead across the top of the head, or far back, very near the ears, according to the style of coiffure to be made.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘A great amount of popularity has been given that coiffure with the side parting, and to many faces it is delightfully becoming and youthful looking. In this instance the hair is piled high on top of the head, gracefully rippling at the sides, and a decided parting of the tresses at the temple. With soft, light hair the effect is bewitching.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘Many ladies pin their faith to a centre parting, and are content to look merely pretty. With a side parting they would gain a certain indescribable smartness, in addition. The left side is usually best for a lady to part her hair. But this is a matter for individual choice.
Ladies, using a side parting, must be careful that they do not harden or broaden their faces. The long piece of hair which is drawn across the forehead should never be left straight; it must be lifted upwards, or drawn down towards the eyebrows with a central dip, in order to lengthen or shorten the face. A side parting can be adapted to suit nearly every type of face.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2b)
The side parting is ‘much effected of late. It is always found that the hair will fall more gracefully to one side than the other, and some attention should be given to this, otherwise there is a bristling stubbornness to its appearance in place of a soft, natural wave.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘The woman with the long, thin face should never part her hair in the middle, as, particularly if she has a long nose, the effect is bad. Let her part it on either side, and if she has some slight facial defect on the right side, part the hair on the left, and vice versa.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906) A ‘side parting, though smart, is better suited to an older woman.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2c)
‘If the hair is worn parted a becoming way for the woman who has passed her first youth is to part it on the side. This will take a few years or so – five at least – from her age, and give piquancy to the expression. The parting should be slight, not a pronounced line, which is hard and masculine.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘Then there is the new old fashion of parting the hair in the middle. It is slowly feeling its way back into life again. Not exactly like it used to look, but near enough to recognize it without an introduction.
The hair is rolled on the sides and then the tiniest baby curls are made that can be imagined. Little “love” locks they are called, and they look like it, too. But that is a trying fashion and not very many people can wear it that way successfully; and success is what every woman is looking for these days.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901)
‘The wide face has always taken kindly to the narrowing effect of the middle part, and even the conventional pompadour can be brushed into this outline.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904) ‘The girl whose eyes are set close together should part her hair in the middle.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘For the matron there is no prettier way of dressing the hair than the ondulée bandeau coiffure, which consists of a part in the center and loose coil at the back of the crown. The hair is first waved and held back at the sides with combs. The coil may be form of two or three puffs, or it may be a figure eight.’ (The Designer, 1905) ‘A centre parting is apt to leave harder lines and to encourage ugly gaps on the forehead’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2c) ‘The typical set centre parting […] demands the classical aquiline type of features in its wearer.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f)
In the Edwardian era, the middle part pompadour was also known as Lady Curzon or Mary Anderson coiffure (Illustrated Book Of Instruction, The Robinson System Of Barber Colleges, 1906). Lady Curzon, formerly Mary Leiter, was the wife of the Viceroy of India, whereas Mary Anderson was a real estate developer and the inventor of the windshield wiper. ‘There is a new coiffure called the Lady Curzon. This is extremely classic. The hair is parted in 1860 style and is turned back over a roll just as they rolled it back from the temples in war time.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1905)
‘The tendency in the new style is toward the part. There is the 1860 parting. The hair is parted and the sides are then rolled pompadour fashion. […] A less trying and more becoming mode for the woman with good features is the one in which the hair is parted in the middle and is religiously waved at the sides in great big waves that seem to cover the temples. To make these waves more attractive, a few little stray curls are allowed to creep out at the temples, the ears, and the nape of the neck.’ (The Washington Times, 1905)
The drooping pompadour, falling far over the forehead, is artistic and becoming to a long face or high forehead. It is softer, less severely classical than the other. In spite of the predominance of the narrow, high outline, women who have billowing hair continue to wear it drooping almost over the eyes. If you have an abundance of hair you can build it up to the popular height and save some to droop besides.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
‘The very front of the hair, which was previously parted off, is now waved and brought down so that it is draped across the forehead. The brows are covered by it and the eyebrows, even, are partially concealed.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902) ‘The front may be dressed in a variety of ways. Quite the smartest is the side drop. […] The hair drops over the left eye and is held up on the other side.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901) ‘Low styles of hairdressing with drooping lines are all right for the girlish face or the full, round, wholesome face. They make the tired woman look old.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
Pompadour With Bangs
‘The latest thing in hairdressing is a curled bang under the pompadour roll.’ (The Billings Gazette, 1903) ‘Bangs, or, as they are now generally termed, fringes, are very much in style, but they must be thin and short, giving a fluffy effect.’ (San Bernardino Sun, 1909)
The bang ‘is worn not a little. The bangs are short and they come out from under the pompadour in a little fringe. This fringe may or may not extend all the way across the forehead. This bang must not be heavy, but it should, on the contrary, be light, just the suggestion of a fringe. The bang is really a woman’s most becoming ornament. […] Woman who were pretty when they could veil their foreheads a little suddenly become plain when the forehead was revealed.’ (San Jose Mercury News, 1904)
The ‘bang was received with a whirl of disapproval. “Idiot’s fringe,” was one of the mildest names applied to it by scandalized husbands and fathers […] but is there a woman living who would not rather look pretty though slightly feeble minded, than homely though never so thoughtful?
From the standpoint of the greatest good for the greatest number, there never were such helpful friends to the feminine kind as the curly bang and the low waving pompadour which sweeps the eyebrows. […] when the hair is draped so becomingly over the imperfections of the brow all girls are pretty. Monotonously so, perhaps, for we often need to have a famous beauty pointed out to us, she looks so exactly like all other women. The soft, curly bang and the low drooping pompadour are so much more important aids to beauty than rouge and powder’ (The Sisseton Weekly Standard, 1904).
‘Nothing could be prettier than the many tiny curls which fall so artistically over the brow and around the neck. This style of wearing the hair low on the forehead is much affected at present, and is a great relief to women who have not beautiful brows. Many times a scar here disfigures an otherwise beautiful face, and the drawing of the curls over it in a seemingly careless manner is a great improvement in the general appearance.
In this case a few locks in the front are cut off rather short, in the manner of the bang of the past, and curled in pretty, loose curls which fall, as their own sweet fancy wills, almost to the eyebrows. This style of bang first of all calls for very fine, light hair, and after that very artistic treatment. The rest of the hair is then waved all around the head in large, loose, natural-looking waves. It is then taken loosely back and caught in with the long back hair, which is knotted in two long loops reaching from the neck almost to the top of the head.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘Many styles of bangs are worn […] The bang worn on the top and sides is made by parting the hair crosswise from the top of one ear to the other. If the hair is parted in the center, comb each side down; then take up a small lock, beginning at the top or the part, and cut it off the proper length, usually from two to three inches, depending entirely upon the shape of the forehead; then pick up the next lock underneath, cut the same length, but be careful and hold the hair down when cutting instead of straight up, and so on until all the bangs are trimmed the proper length. Be careful to get each side alike.
Comb the short hair forward over the forehead and cut in a V shape, about even with the eyebrows. Then comb the sides out, holding it between the thumb and finger of the left hand, cutting it even, making it gradually shorter close to the ear, then comb it straight and trim the lower edge nearly to the bottom of the ear. […] Be very cautious and not get the lower part of the hair trimmed close to the head, as it must be left long enough to curl.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
‘Numbers of the Parisians are wearing these fringes either in the form of small curls covering the forehead or with part of the waved hair brushed back and the fringe resting only on the left side of the face.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)
Gibson Girl Pompadour
Gibson Girls wore different pompadour hairstyles but there was also a special pompadour style that was called “Gibson Girl pompadour”. The hairstyle was not very high but rather wide at the sides, often with a small pompadour dip over the forehead. The Gibson Girl pompadour was particularly suited to women with a rectangle face shape.
‘Then there is the Gibson style, which is rather broad at the sides, and doesn’t roll back evenly, but makes a little dip also in the center [similar to the pompadour style with a dip].
This Pompadour is extremely smart and artistic, for the little breaks do away with that rising moon effect which seems to be the aim of the Orientals, from whom we have borrowed the fashion.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
‘The pompadour is here again, a little broader, a little flatter on top, but as large as ever.’ (Bridgeton Pioneer, 1900)
Mary Stuart Pompadour
The Mary Stuart pompadour – sometimes written Marie Stuart pompadour – was inspired by portraits of Mary, Queen of Scots. Like the pompadour dip and the V-shaped pompadour, it has a slight dip over the forehead but it’s a rather severe pompadour style. Not many women could wear this hairstyle because the Mary Stuart pompadour was not soft and fluffy like most pompadours: It rather formed a severe halo around the face in the shape of a Mary Stuart bonnet.
‘A new coiffure which has become extremely popular with Parisian women is the “Marie Stuart.” In this a full pompadour is brought over the forehead to a point in the center, and, brushed tightly up at the sides, rolls smoothly over to the top of the head. Here it is met by the back hair, and shaped into loop-shaped puffs well forward on the front pompadour. The striking feature is the pyramidal Psyche knot, made up of these puffs, which extends out almost on a line with the end of the nose.’ (Evening Star, July 1905)
The ‘Marie Stuart coiffure […] dips in the center of the brow’ (Waterbury Evening Democrat, 1904). ‘The “Marie Stuart” is a pompadour advised often for slight faces with regular features. This has rather a pointed front, and it is not too full at the sides, and is dressed at the top of the head with a soft coil.’ (Evening Star, April 1905) The bride ‘wore the Mary Stuart coiffure, her hair being done gracefully low at the nape of the neck.’ (Pittsburgh Daily Post, 1906)
Late Edwardian Circasienne Pompadour
The late Edwardian era and the 1910s saw a revival of antique Greek, Directoire and Empire hairstyles. While the pompadour was still popular, the pompadour of the late Edwardian era – especially in 1908 and 1909 – was flat over the forehead and very wide at the sides. This plate-shaped hairstyle was necessary to support the big hats that were fashionable at the time.
‘The styles of the present season in hair dressing are in a sort of transitional state, for some women are adopting the radically new fashions and some are clinging to the old ones’ (San Francisco Call, 1909). ‘The pompadour in a modified form still holds its popularity. It is much lower now in front than of old and very broad from side to side. The hats are also responsible for this development.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)
‘Much of the latest hair dressing for the present season describes a conical shape, gradually rising from just above the brow. […] Whether a pompadour is worn or the hair parted in the center, it will be wise to keep it flat on top. Allow it to stand out on each side, but do not give it the liberty of a “flare.” […] The large pompadours have departed, but in puffing the hair at the sides rats are still used. […] Possibly the only difference in the ultra new coiffure from last year is the flattened top effect around the line where the hair grows. Last year this rose in a huge mass to meet the puffs that were placed in the middle of the head; but now it is minus the roll or crepe, which is used only at the sides.’ (Sacramento Union, 1910)
‘Pompadours are no longer monumental. They incline rather to flatness, and the style known technically as the Gilbert wave, which is parted in the middle and built over side cushions running back almost to the ears, is favored’ (The Sun, 1906). ‘The flat hairdressing now worn in America is called the coiffure a la Circassienne. This particular kind of arrangement has as many names attached to it as the modern turban. There seems no end to these. Mop, Sans Gene, Brittany, Moyen-Age, turban, are among some of the first that greeted the coiffure.’ (St. Tammany Farmer, 1910)
‘Every society woman will not wear the Circassian coiffure or the mop style, as it is called in this country, but they adopt the broad, flattened expanse above the exact hair line.’ (The Hawaiian Star, 1910)
1910s Turban Coiffure
The 1910s turban coiffure – also called swirl coiffure – was the successor of the pompadour. Technically, the turban coiffure is no pompadour hairstyle. In the 1910s, the real pompadour was now only fashionable for older women or for women who needed the flattering pompadour to frame their face shape.
‘Women of mature age will continue to use the pompadour, while youthful ones will just fluff the hair a little around the face.’ (Evening Star, 1910) ‘For women who cannot go without a pompadour of some sort there is to be recommended the thin roll of curly hair across the front and sides and the drawing of their own hair over it’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1910). ‘The effect of a soft pompadour is given as a whole, but usually the waved locks are parted a little toward one side or the other, as is most becoming, and the front hair is pulled out softly to shade forehead and temples. The hair over the forehead must be flatly arranged. If a pompadour is necessary to make a frame for the face, it may start a little way back, the front locks being cut to form a sort of waved bang.’ (Sacramento Union, 1914)
‘The pompadour has practically disappeared, but in its stead has come a less wavy dressing of the hair around the face and over the ears’ (Evening Star, 1905). ‘Wrapped effects the hairdressers term the new arrangement, and it is an apt title, for the locks of hair are literally wrapped around the wire turban as smoothly and neatly as their length will allow, and held in place by nay invisible hairpins and not a few aggressively visible ones’ (Evening Star, 1910).
History Of The Victorian & Edwardian Pompadour
The pompadour hairstyle was popular from the late Victorian era (1890s) until the 1910s. However, late Victorian pompadours looked vastly different than Edwardian pompadours: Late Victorian pompadour hairstyles were usually heavily waved, center parted and worn close to the head with a very high knot on top of the head. In the early Edwardian era, the high knot was still popular but the pompadour became softer and was worn very high over the forehead. As the Edwardian era progressed, the pompadour became wider at the sides which eventually evolved into the turban coiffure of the 1910s. In the late Edwardian era and the 1910s, the pompadour hairstyle slowly went out of style: Now pompadour hairstyle were only considered fashionable for older women with perfectly white hair.
‘The pompadour might as well be accepted with the philosophy that declares what it is. Plenty of women have protested against it ever since the time, half a decade ago, when Dame Fashion declared it to be de rigeur.
For a year or two previous hair had been in one of those transition stages that come between eras of positive styles, and during that time women had been dressing their hair in any number of ways according to individual taste. Some clung to the demure part and the Psyche knot, others stepped in advance of the procession and adopted the huge puff ahead of time.
But somewhere in 1889 or 1899 the pompadour suddenly found itself the only permissible style […] the back hair [may] be worn high or low […] In the first place, it [the pompadour] is of itself a pretty style. That is why women have clung to it for so many years. It allows the hair to be puffed and waved and shown to the best possible advantage […]
Related: 1900-1909 Edwardian Fashion Timeline
Just now the tendency is to wear the hair brushed up from the ears and towering tremendously on top. This is a change from the first pompadour, which was an even oval about the forehead from temple to temple. In general, if you wish to be conventional, you must follow the change, but it may be modified to suit your case.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
‘The pompadour that formerly lopped down over a woman’s forehead and tickled her nose became displaced by fashion. First it went up in front, then it extended itself around on the sides and at last in the back.’ (The Washington Herald, 1908)
Secrets Of The Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle
A Rat In Your Hair?
While everyday Edwardian pompadour hairstyles could be made without a rat, elaborate pompadour hairstyles were usually arranged over a rat.
Pompadour rats – in the Edwardian era called frizzettes or pads – are sausage-shaped pads made of real hair or wool. ‘Hair rolls are commonly known as “rats.” They are made of all kinds of material, such as moss, vegetable fibre, [jute,] horse hair, [yak fibre, cashmere wool,] wire, crepe fibre, and lastly of natural hair. […] They are invariably injurious to the hair of the head […] and should be avoided whenever possible.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
But there were also other types of rats in the Edwardian era: namely, pompadour combs made of wire, tortoise shell or celluloid over which the pompadour was arranged. Wire pompadours were preferred because they were light, hygienic and cool.
Women with thin hair and older women often needed rats and false hair pieces – such as braids and curls – to build the elaborate Edwardian evening coiffures, even if the use of rats was frowned upon: ‘The pompadour, to be conventional and correct, must be drawn over a “rat,” and it must be drawn tightly to properly outline the “rat.” The result, according to some authorities […] irritates the nerves of the scalp [and causes headaches]’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1903). ‘The greatest objection that can now be made is to the lavish and indiscriminate use of the long pompadour cushions over which the hair is rolled in front, and very often at the back also. When both are added, the effect is seldom anything but abnormal and ludicrous.’ (Sacramento Daily Union, 1899)
‘It is better to get along without purchased hair if one can. Thick, heavy “rats” worn under the pompadour are particularly harmful and not at all necessary to the present fashionable style of hairdressing.’ (Sacramento Union, 1907) ‘A few will still wear rats of horsehair to set the hair out on the sides of the face, while others will depend entirely upon their own hair, slightly puffed so that it will form a resting place for fancy combs for day wear and for dainty wreaths for evening.’ (Lewiston Evening Teller, 1904)
The Rat-Less Everyday Edwardian Pompadour
The Edwardians preferred soft and fluffy pompadours made without a rat. ‘The first rule of the pompadour is, don’t wear a rat. Don’t wear any prop for the hair, if you can avoid it. Better keep the hair fluffy and let it puff itself.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
‘Rolls and “rats” have been discarded altogether because they heat the head and spoil the hair’ (The Washington Times, 1902) and ‘the big stiff pompadour [with a rat] is no longer considered artistic.’ (Omaha Daily Bee, 1904)
‘You must not use a rat. The pompadour must not form an even halo. It must part carelessly on one side and gracefully over the forehead on the other.’ (San Francisco Call, 1899) The ‘pompadour without the rat remains in favor’ (San Francisco Call, 1906).
‘Madame le Mode has issued her edict that the pompadour with the rat must go […] the pompadour, minus the rat, is waved in three puffs. These puffs are not tight, but the finger or comb is run through them to secure a light, fluffy, waved effect. One puff is drawn down lightly over the forehead, and the other two run back from the temples, or, if the face needs a different treatment, the three puffs run around the brow like a frame, fluffed and waved so that they practically overlap each other. With this dressing of the pompadour the hair may be worn in a flat figure eight on top of the head’ (The Colfax Chronicle, 1904).
‘There are all sorts of “transformations,” but the woman who possibly can get on without the doubtful aid of any of these would be better make the attempt to do so.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
Teasing The Hair?
If no rats were used and the hair wasn’t naturally wavy, the hair was often teased to create more volume for the fashionable high pompadour puff. However, teasing – also known as backcombing or ratting – roughened the hair and damaged the hair in the long run.
‘Where is the woman who isn’t ready to weep over the devastation and havoc wrought by the “roughing” process among her fair tresses? The little trick of combing the inside portion of the hair in the wrong way in order to make it play the part of the time-honored rat has brought many a snarl in the hair and many a frown and wrinkle in a pretty face; but, worst of all, this feminine conceit has so thinned and broken the hair that nearly every woman in the country is reduced to wearing little devices to help give the coiffure the fashionable contour’ (The Humboldt Times, 1904).
‘Beware the hairdresser’s trick of building out the hair by means of combing the under part backwards. It fluffs it out and causes it to look more than it really is; but at the same time it tangles the hair, and tangles mean breaking when you comb. If you can comb so gently and slowly, beginning at the ends, as to avoid all breaking, then it is safe for you to “frizzle” the hair in this fashion.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
‘Separate the front hair off and let it down over the face. Now, with a coarse comb, ruff it up ever so slightly by running the comb backward in the hair. Turn the hair back, and the puffed appearance is most delightful. It is not injurious to the hair, except when done in a hurry. And the tangles can all be easily unsnarled. In this way the disagreeable false underpuff is eliminated, which is a grand relief to those who have burdened themselves with these hot, unsightly things.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
Elaborate Hairstyles With Rats & Hair Pieces
Even though fashionable everyday pompadour hairstyles could be made without rats, elaborate afternoon and evening coiffures needed rats and false hair pieces. Furthermore, false hair or rats were necessary to support the fashionable hats of the Edwardian era. I’ve tried this myself: While it’s possible to wear a sailor hat or tam hat without a rat, an elaborate hat, like a lingerie hat, needs some under-structure.
‘The demand for false hair has never been greater than at present […] It goes without saying that every woman dressed in a fashionable hat has some pieces of false hair underneath to hold it on and make it look as though it were in its proper setting. It would be impossible to wear the hat without them.’ (The San Francisco Call, 1908) ‘No hair, unless it is very coarse and wiry, will stand out very much unless it is given aid of some sort.’ (San Francisco Call, 1905)
‘It is more than likely that the average woman, even though she possesses a fair amount of hair, will necessarily have to resort to artificial locks in one form or another if she wishes to adapt the intricacies of the elaborate coiffure.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906) ‘With the enormous width of the hats now worn there should be some way of supporting the hat, which can not be done by a framework of loose hair.’ (San Francisco Call, 1908)
‘Nowadays women are not sensitive about wearing hair not their own and scarcely a complete coiffure is noticed that does not contain a false puff, curl or braid.’ (The Designer, 1905) ‘False hair pieces are far less easily discovered when in place on the head than they used to be. There are many ladies who wear entire fronts of naturally wavy hair at the seashore during the summer who never wear them at any other season of the year. They are thus insured a correct coiffure (without a moment’s extra trouble) for an entire day if need be under the most trying conditions of heat and salt air.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
False hair pieces ‘are principally meant to make up for hair that is thin or insufficient, and lastly to give pleasing effects. […] It is advisable to refrain from the use of much added hair, because of the danger of its pressure and injurious heating effect upon the scalp. However, when such must be employed to make the patron’s head presentable, only live, natural hair pieces should be used.
Hair combings of the patron are to be preferred as being the most hygienic. To make a fairly good product, at least four ounces of the combings should be furnished, as most of such hair submitted to be made up is short and of little use to the maker. […] [Hair pieces] are inclined to lose life and appear dead or dry. To overcome this, one of the oil preparations or brilliantine must be used to make them look life-like. […]
The cost of false pieces varies with the shade of hair desired. Very blond hair and gray are the most expensive, and very “fancy” prices are asked for unusual red shades. There is a great difference in the quality of the hair thus bought or used. Most of the better qualities are imported into this country from Brittany, Italy, and Germany, and for the coarser variety in recent times from China’ (Beauty Culture, 1911).
‘Unless one is absolutely forced to use false locks, it is much better taste and much more desirable to do without. Some women, unfortunately, have such very thin heads of hair that they are forced to use a certain amount of false hair, but as a general rule, even rather scanty locks can be cleverly and gracefully arranged without resorting to such devices. It is a well known fact that it is an easier matter to “do” a head of hair where the hair is not very heavy, than it is to manage luxuriant locks.’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1906)
Different Types Of Hair Pieces
‘Switches. — Switches are made either straight or wavy, and vary in color, weight, and length. […] Switches are used to fill the back hair or neck dress, and can be utilized in many ways to obtain different effects.
Braids. — Next to switches, and very near to them in appearance, is the braid. […] Braids are employed to fill the crown dress, one side or the back hair. Thus it will be seen that they answer many styles and are of value in giving individuality to the coiffure. […]
Curls. — A great amount of curls is used at the present time, all varying in shape, size, and in the number of the cluster. They are used not so much to cover a deficiency as for purely ornamental purposes, being stuck here and there to add to the charm or chic of the coiffure.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911) ‘Imitation curls […] add a piquant look to an otherwise unpretentious coiffure. They may seem to escape coyly from your neatly-arranged “back hair,” or they may give a seductive touch to the nape of your neck.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
‘The woman with naturally curly hair is envied by the multitude, and even then she may hear it said that her ringlets are bargain counter products. […] Small bunches of curls are frequently purchased separately and may be placed to excellent advantage either on top or side of pompadour. Those little curls fill in an otherwise awkward angle produced by many of the smartest summer hats, thus giving a pleasing effect that could not be obtained without their presence.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
‘Chignons. — Fancy-named [such as the Greek Chignon and Princess Chignon] […]
Puffs. — Puffs are curls of larger size, much more compact. They are made single, double, etc., or combined with curls or braids. […] They are usually made on a wire frame or net, to be pinned as demanded by the particular style.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911) ‘Puffs made out of hair combings […] is a nice way of disposing of odds and ends of hair too short for other use. These puffs are quickly rolled each time, if they are made separately, or they are adjusted for day and evening wear, and are fashionably piled high on the head with fancy pins thrust through them. Even if the hair is heavy they are handy to pin here and there, to give a Frenchy effect to the coiffure.’ (Omaha Daily Bee, 1904)
‘Pompadours. — The pompadour is one of the most used additions to the coiffure. The reason for its use is that it gives body and form to the front dressing, raises and shapes the whole front, when the natural hair is insufficient, or is made to cover the crown division or front of hair, and give it distinctive style, as in the centre-parted or side-parted form, or those of a dip or depression to the centre or one side.
Pompadours are made to be used under the front and side hair or over it, being pinned into place. If of sufficient length, say ten to sixteen inches, the hair of the false piece is combed in with the natural hair or curled here and there to impart individual style to the coiffure. They are also used to cover and hide the gray or mixed hair of the front and crown. […] the true pompadour […] is usually made up in shape to go over the front hair and is simply pinned down to it.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘Quite as natural as life are the artificial pieces shown by modish hairdressers. The “transformations,” as these pieces are called, are made on a light foundation of natural hair, and in adjusting them to the head invisible hairpins and combs in the same color are often used.’ (Evening Star, 1905) ‘Little pompadours, just fitted to the bare spots, or put on the middle of the front, or at the sides, or over the ears, whereever there are bad places. In this way the head can be made to look ever so symmetrical.’ (San Jose Mercury News, 1904)
‘As a foundation a transformation is used under the hair instead of an unhygienic rat. This transformation consists of a circular band of narrow wire that exactly fits the crown of the head. To this wire is attached the false hair, varying in length and thickness according to the wearer’s needs. It fits down securely on the crowns of the head, and a couple of hairpins, run through tiny loops made for the purpose, hold it in place. So, you see, in this way there is no insanitary mat in which dust and dandruff may find a lodgement, only the narrow rim of wire lying close to the head, while the hair attached to it combs in naturally with one’s own.’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1908)
‘One of the cleverest arrangements whereby the pompadour maid may assist nature is a fringe of short, wavy locks on an invisible foundation. This fringe fits across the head and may either be placed under one’s own hair or pinned frankly on top of it. If the hair is matched properly when the fringe is combed back loosely over the pompadour there is no danger of detection’ (The Indianapolis Journal, 1904).
The Dark Side Of The False Hair Trade
Like there’s a dark side of fashion today, there was also a dark side of the false hair trade in the Edwardian era. Yaks were killed because of their hair; peasant girls in Europe and India were underpaid in return for their hair – they often just got a trinket for their hair which was later sold for $20 dollar in the US (for comparison: blouses were usually sold for $1 in the Edwardian era). And even Chinese graves were desecrated to steal the hair from the dead!
‘The price of hair has advanced enormously in the last few years. There are several reasons for this which our customers do not understand. They will come in here and say: Why, you sold me a switch for $20 last year and now you want $25. We do, but it is on account of the differences in the hair market […]
In the first place, the great supply of hair used to come from the peasant girls in the districts of France, Brittany and Switzerland, who had glorious natural hair, though it was uncared for and often unkempt and matted with dirt and dust. But every year these girls went to the country fairs, where the coupeur, or cutter, a man sent by some agent either from New York or Paris, was ready to shear their locks, giving them a small sum in return, or sometimes merely a few trinkets or a pattern of bright dress goods. This hair formed the bulk of the staple trade, and often the cutter would clip a splendid braid from the head of some Arles or Milanese girl and, returning next year, clip a braid of the same length, sometimes 28 inches, from the head of the same girl, so fast does their hair grow. But now all that is changed […] The girls are beginning to think more of themselves and of their appearance. […]
When the peasant trade took a drop […] we tried obtaining the necessary amount from animals. The yak furnishes a good deal, but he is dying out. The beard of the Thibet goat is another source of supply, but the hair is short, suitable only for pompadours and puffs. […] it is difficult to find human hair that is of much use to the hair merchant, for such hair must possess three qualities. It must never have been crimped or curled with hot irons; it must not have been too much exposed to the air, and it must not have been much combed. […]
Chinese hair, some of it from the heads of decapitated bandits, arrived in New York […] and is now being made over into rats, puffs, curls and switches to adorn the coiffures of American women. Twenty-two more cases of Chinese pigtails reached port a few hours later […] part of this consignment came from Chinese cemeteries, where it is the profitable custom to rob the dead of their locks. […] The live hair market exhausted, what is known as “dead hair” – that is, hair cut from the heads of dead women, or as in the case of the New York supply, from the heads of dead Mongolians who wore queues when alive – is used. The demand for the cheap hair trade is insatiable and it is to meet this demand that the expedient of using Chinese hair has been devised. […]
Do you know that since the supply has become so short the scavengers in Europe make quite a pretty penny by going carefully through the garbage barrels and picking out all the combings thrown away, and selling them to the first hairdresser they meet? That is really true, and many a woman at the present moment is wearing a set of puffs which came originally from the garbage barrel after being thrown there from the head of heaven knows who.’ (San Francisco Call, 1908)
Edwardian Hair Rats
‘Hair rolls are commonly known as “rats.” They are made of all kinds of material, such as moss, vegetable fibre, [jute,] horse hair, wire, crepe fibre, and lastly of natural hair. The form usually employed is that in the shape of a horseshoe […] They are invariably injurious to the hair of the head, owing to their tendency to retain heat, which is bad for the scalp and roots of the hair. For that reason the light, open or ventilated frames are best, and next in preference are the natural hair-ventilated rolls. At best, they are uncleanly in nearly all forms and should be avoided whenever possible.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
False hair rats are ‘made of human hair. Next to that in merit comes the rat made of yak hair, or of that taken from the Thibet goat. Both these last are extremely fine and silky and serve the purpose admirably. But they are both expensive. […]
To make a rat, which, for the benefit of the uninitiated, is the wad or roll of hair on which the huge pompadour is built, the hair is woven on two strings and pushed up tight, boiled, and then baked in the oven till thoroughly dried. It comes out kinky looking, not unlike the mass of hair used for stuffing a mattress. When it is to be used for a pompadour it is put on a curling stick, fastened tight, then boiled and baked as described above, coming out wavy instead of kinky. Even the lay reader will realize that germs can not survive this process, especially if the hair has been bleached with chemicals to the shade desired.’ (San Francisco Call, 1908)
‘A transformation is the new style rat. It is made of crisp, curly hair sewed to a tape. This tape fastens in the back, if you wish a pompadour or else on either side of the part in front. Having brushed your hair all down over your face and neck and pinned the transformation firmly on top of this, you brush back the front hair over it and adjust it by means of side combs. Then, taking the back hair, you joint it with the front at the base of the head in a Psyche knot. This is pushed upward and in place by means of a large, square barrette pinned tightly below it.’ (San Bernardino Sun, 1909)
Wire Hair Rats
An alternative to real hair or wool hair rats, were rats made out of wire. They were considered superior to other types of hair rats because they were cool and lightweight, and didn’t damage the hair. Hair rats ‘are invariably injurious to the hair of the head, owing to their tendency to retain heat, which is bad for the scalp and roots of the hair. For that reason the light, open or ventilated frames are best’ (Beauty Culture, 1911). ‘The pompadour coiffure is safe if open work rolls are used to support the front hair.’ (The Ocala Evening Star, 1900) Wire hair rats were usually shaped like a horseshoe and were attached to the hair with two combs. An ‘arrangement of wire curved in the middle and sloping down toward the ears, covered with wool, intended to stiffen a dropping pompadour’ (San Francisco Call, 1908).
‘To get a light, fluffy effect with a pompadour is one of the problems of the times. By many skillful maiden the roll is abandoned for a slight, wire frame which accomplishes the purpose without an undesirable massive appearance.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1903)
Pompadour rolls or rats ‘are made of wire or hair, and can be used on the front of the head, the sides or back. They are used by putting them on the head after the hair has been divided the same as it would be for crimping. When used on top, pin the roll on each side and in the center, then comb the hair, either crimped or straight, over the roll, covering it entirely and giving the hair the appearance of pompadour, often called the pompadour roll. When used on the sides, comb the hair over the roll at each side and comb it back flat on top, allowing the hair to roll out on each side only. It can be used in the back the same way.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
Pompadour Combs & Frames
Pompadour combs, also called pompadour frames, were an alternative to wire rats and real hair rats. Like rats, they created the fashionable pompadour roll and sometimes even a pompadour dip. They were made of tortoise shell or celluloid, and – just like wire rats – they were advertised as being cool, lightweight and hygienic.
The Bostonia pompadour combs ‘are cool and clean, prevent itching scalp and falling hair, give the correct contour to the pompadour and support the hat in a firm and proper manner. You’ll likely never wear a “Rat” again’ (The Independent, 1903). ‘The tortoise shell or celluloid frames are better than a rat.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
‘The latest pompadour comb has a double row of teeth – one above and one below. The advantage of the double row of teeth is that it not only keeps the pompadour from slipping forward, but also prevents the hair from parting and exposing the comb.’ (The Jersey City News, 1903)
‘The new pompadour comb […] is far more becoming to the average person than the “rat.” It is simply adjusted by parting the hair across the head and combing it over the face. The back hair is then secured in position before adjusting the comb, after which the front hair is thrown back over the comb and the ends coiled with the back hair. This arrangement gives a loose, fluffy pompadour effect which is desirable for the woman with thin hair. It also gives her scanty locks an opportunity for ventilation and growth.’ (Omaha Daily Bee, 1904)
Pompadour Dip Combs
With a pompadour comb ‘one may appear to possess at least twice as much hair as really grows upon one’s head, and this without heating the head or making the coiffure heavier than it should be to give comfort. […] This latest novelty comes in both the real shell and the imitation.
It is made with a narrow comb, which is intended to be placed in the hair on the very top of the head, so that the roll part, which comes down in a point, will give the fashionable dip to the pompadour. The comb is light and very simply adjusted; it carries the weight of the hat, which in itself is an immense relief nowadays, when feminine headwear is extremely heavy; and there is enough spring in the construction of this comb novelty to allow it to readjust itself when the hat is removed. […]
To adjust this novel device the hair should be brushed and parted across the top from ear to ear, just as for the fashionable coiffure built with rats and braids. This divides the hair into two sections, and if the back part is to tied securely, it should be brushed up and fastened well forward on the top of the head.
With the embryo pompadour combed down over the face it is possible to lay the ends of the back part of the hair perfectly flat in a coil, where the “rat” usually is placed. The arrangement serves two purposes – it gets rid of the twist, which is no longer considered smart, and it helps to build out the pompadour foundation. Now, to dispose of the pompadour and try the effect of the comb. Brush the front part of the hair well down over the face, take the comb in both hands slip it into the hair with the teeth forward and rather well back. Next push the comb part forward as much as you like, or as far as you think you would want the pompadour roll to dip on the forehead. This should bring the comb proper on a line with the ears, and the tip of the comb just above the left eyebrow.
If the comb is put in too far forward then the hair falls correspondingly low, giving the face a negligee appearance. When the pompadour comb is securely arranged then the front part of the hair is carefully combed out and lifted up and back as one would ordinarily proceed. In this instance, however, the hair is allowed to assume a natural droop at the left side, while over the ears it is all drawn up rather snugly to the sides of the head. So much for the outline of the pompadour.
Now for the disposal of the ends. There is another little trick which is being practiced by the up-to-date young woman very successfully, though it must be regretfully admitted that one occasionally sees caricatures of the mode. This is the way all the ends of the hair are tucked under so that the whole head appears to be done in a soft waving roll, with only a fancy comb or two and perhaps a couple of tortoise shell pins visible. To accomplish this, the pompadour must be shaped in the gingers and brought back to the very crown of the head where it is firmly held in the fingers and then given a very slight twist, from left to right. This throws it in a natural curve over the dropping foundation and at the same time gives an opportunity to fasten it with a large pin directly at the crown of the head, after which arrangement the ends of the pompadour may be rolled into a soft twist and tucked gently under the sides of this same section.
Sometimes an extra hairpin is required just here, or instead of using any more pins, two long curved side combs may be placed in the hair to hold this part. […] It takes no small amount of dexterity to blend the hair at the sides so that there is no break to show where the pompadour meets the rest of the hair, and it is usually imperative to call upon innumerable small hairpins to help secure the much desired effect.’ (The Humboldt Times, 1904)
Wire Beehives For Late Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyles
The 1910s pompadours were usually rat-less but the back hair was arranged over wire beehives. ‘Since the huge pompadour rat has gone the way of all freak fads, women wear their hair any old way their fancy dictates, and are in style just so long as they add a lot of unsanitary hair switches in the form of braids and swirls.’ (Mill Valley Independent, 1910) ‘A soft pompadour of loosely waved hair held in by a support if needed in the shape of a small hair roll, allows the hair to be brought down over the forehead at the sides.’ (Sausalito News, 1914) ‘One of the simpler effects is produced by covering the beehive frame – a wire, hair covered frame, having a hole in the center of it, that fits over the head like a cap – with a wide thick braid pulled out so that the sides of it completely cover the frame. […] The mattresses with which we were wont to upholster our forehead we now apply to the back of our heads’ (San Francisco Call, 1910).
Hairnets & Hairspray (Bandoline)
Hairnets and hairspray – hairspray was known as bandoline in the Victorian and Edwardian era – were used to keep the pompadour in place, especially in summer and for sports: ‘In the summer more than at any season of the year the hair is apt to become disarranged. All the seasonable sports and diversions invite playful breezes, and one cannot always go with the head swathed in yards of chiffon. The hair net is the salvation of the woman who is much in the open air […]
The hair from which these nets are made is usually quite fine, however, and if they are well arranged on the head there is no reason why they should show at all. There is a trick, one might almost say an art, in putting on a hair net so that it protects the hair without flattening it. […] The first thing to do is to use some good preparation on the hair after it is done up and before the net is adjusted. […] Apply the preparation with a small tooth brush or an eyebrow brush. The hair should be touched very lightly with it, so that when the preparation dries it leaves no white powder or dust on the hair. An old fashioned preparation popular with our grandmothers was made of quince seeds boiled in water and lightly perfumed. […]
If the hair is dressed in the fashionable full effect with a twist or flat knot on the crown of the head then a net large enough to cover the entire coiffure is best for general wear. […] If the hair happens to be of a shade impossible to match in the regular stock of nets then a net […] must be made to order from the combings.’ (San Francisco Call, 1907)
‘Hair nets, made of very fine silk, fibre, and natural hair in shades to match, almost or practically invisible, are used in different sizes, some to cover the entire coiffure, or the front, or front and side hair only. Their object is to hold down stray hairs and to prevent the wind or other forces from blowing out or disarranging curls and puffs. Automobiling has greatly necessitated or accentuated their use, but the old nets of heavy woven materials, used principally for the back hair and so much worn in the Colonial period, are now obsolete, the invisible nets having supplanted them.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘The pale-faced and ethereal-looking girl, who never went abroad on a windy day, had no use for a hair net. But her athletic sister who plays golf and tennis, who takes long tramps over the country roads, who knows pretty nearly, if not fully, as much about an automobile as does her brother, she it is who welcomes the new hairnets. The fact that she is devoted to an outdoor life has not made her one little bit careless of her appearance. […]
Related: The Edwardian Summer Girl
The effect of the usual hairnet when drawn over the coiffure, or even only across the front pompadour dressing, is one that, it must be confessed, is far from beautiful. It was claimed for the silk nets that they were invisible in effect, but they seldom, if ever, lived up to that claim. […] The new nets that are made of human hair are extremely popular among the younger section of society. The fact that any and all tints of hair can be matched in them is an added reason for their adoption, and then when they are deftly applied in their destined places they are really and truly invisible.’ (The Humboldt Times, 1905)
‘The hair must be made to keep close to the head, and if not naturally neat, it must be made so by invisible pins and a net. […] Remember, when adopting these new styles of hairdressing that are just coming in, to wear an invisible net at all times and learn to put it on carefully, which means loosely, so that it will not bind the hair. Remember that […] there must be no stray ends or flying locks. That there must be nothing of the blow-away coiffure that was popular some seasons ago.’ (The Washington Herald, 1908)
How To Create A Soft & Fluffy Edwardian Pompadour
Severe Vs. Soft Pompadour
‘The severe pompadour, uncurled and unbroken, can be risked by none but the girl with the classical outline of face. A straight nose, a moderate or low forehead, an oval face, a small mouth, level-set eyes – there must be little or no deviation from these laws of beauty, if the stern hair dressing is to be adopted.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
‘The pompadour that stands straight up from the line where the hair grows is out of fashion.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
‘The severe pompadour is another privilege of youth or the dowager with pure white hair, delicate pink cheeks and the carriage of a grande dame.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘Very few faces can stand a straight, untouched Pompadour. But many ladies use this style of dressing because it is quick and easy to make, quite forgetting to put those finishing touches which make all the difference between a charming and an un-pleasing result.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
‘Perfect or regular features can stand the severer styles of hair dressing, but a few waves and curls work wonders in softening harsh outlines or distracting attention from featural irregularities.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)
The Soft Pompadour
‘The Pompadour style of dressing the hair depends entirely for its success on the skill shown by the wearer in adapting the “Pompadour” roll to her own type of beauty. Let me warn my readers that the tendency of a Pompadour is towards hardness unless certain things are done to ensure a soft effect. […]
Having made a perfectly neat, rather stiff roll of the front hair – receding from the forehead – the fingers must be inserted boldly in the hair, one hand pulling it down, while the other lifts it up. This gives a soft, broken effect, most desirable in this style, which otherwise leaves the hair in a very unbecoming hard line across the forehead. […]
Remember, in pulling the Pompadour roll into a becoming series of “puffs,” that one hand pulls down while the other lifts up, for this gives a very graceful line to the hair, and helps it to fall naturally.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a) ‘The rough and tumble wave, when the hair is tossed up and given a pin there and a pull here […] is the prettiest of all’ (San Jose Mercury News, 1904).
‘Always remember that the front and side hair can never be artistically arranged with the sole use of brush and comb. They start the process, but it needs the insertion of the fingers under the hair to give it a gentle pull here and there, before a really soft and attractive appearance is obtained. Do not be afraid to touch the hair with the fingers. Nothing is more unbecoming than a hard effect, such as is given by the sole use of brush and comb.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2b)
‘A great Parisian hair dresser once said that the perfect art of dressing the hair was to make it appear as though its owner had slept in it, without disarrangement – a careless coiffure, fluffy without being at all frowsy.’ (The Intermountain Catholic, 1909)
Waving The Hair?
Waves are essential for a good pompadour. With wavy hair, a rat or false hair isn’t necessary – I tried it. Edwardian women waved their hair on pins which creates zig zag waves. After brushing out the waves, the hair is wavy, soft and voluminous – perfect for an authentic Edwardian pompadour. And the hair looks exactly like the dry- and frizzy-looking hair in Edwardian photographs!
‘The wave is one of the most useful features of the coiffure, for it makes the hair look thicker and it sort of dresses up the head and softens the high straight lines’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902). The hair ‘must be laid in natural waves – to be in style!’ (San Jose Mercury News, 1904)
Waving the hair only means ‘ ten minutes’ work overnight, or the same extra time spent on the coiffure in the morning. And the result is a prettily waved head, which takes half the time to dress, and, besides looking softer and more attractive, remains in position and shape considerably longer than straight, flabby hair.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2) ‘The waved coiffure is easy and can be put up by any one. Waves will stay in for several days if well moistened when they are made, and the woman with a little ingenuity can toss up her waves and look pretty.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1908)
No Waves For The Woman With Classical Features
‘To the woman who desires a really attractive, well-dressed head, waving is indispensable. By that I do not mean to lay down a hard and fast rule that every woman, without exception, should always appear with her hair waved. By no means. There are certain types of beauty and mouldings of feature and figure that demand straight hair for the perfection of the tout ensemble. The statuesque, rather cold beauty that can stand a coiffure a la Vierge, or a severe Grecian dressing, looks grotesque with fluffy, waved tresses, or with a lot of curls and puffs. It needs coils and smooth brushing.
Waving, in addition to other matters, needs discrimination. And the woman with classical features and heavy, dark hair, who tries to fluff it and wave it, instead of letting it follow its own simple and severe lines, is worse than foolish. Waving is […] not for the woman who makes a cult of the statuesque. […] If a classical, statuesque woman possesses heavy, smooth hair, let her leave it as Nature intended it to look, and she will achieve perfection.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
The ‘serious type does not demand floating curls or frivolous love-locks to enhance the effect, for the outline of the face must be preserved. So the luxuriant dark hair is drawn well off the face, just loose enough to allow the hair to fall into its own graceful, natural waves. It is then drawn to the back of the head, where it is coiled into a simple, artistic knot midway between the top of the well-shaped head and the nape of the neck. If this woman were induced by frivolous fashion to draw her hair down low on her neck and knot it there, the stately beauty of her face would be marred.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘Waved hair always is good, but lately there is an affectation for the unwaved hair. Hair that is so clean that each hair stands forth separate and shining is worn by the ultra fashionable woman of beauty. But the style is trying and requires careful hairdressing.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1908)
Waves For The Smart Woman & The Dainty Girl
‘Waving is for the woman who wants to look smart, or the woman who wants to look dainty and fluffy […] Waving adapts itself equally well to the smart, brushed-up coiffure of the woman who is chic, or to the careless, fascinating fluffiness of the girl with simple frocks and dimples. It can lend a head that indescribable air of “chicness” that is so enviable in a certain type of woman; or it can add charm to the negligee lines and curves affected by an ingenue. […]
If a woman of the more ordinary, everyday type is the possessor of straight, lifeless hair, let her do all in her power to give it that waved fluffiness which will transform her appearance from mediocrity to charm.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2) ‘If your hair is thin you can arrange it more becomingly than though it were heavy.’ A woman with heavy hair should use false hair pieces or ‘she must go to the endless trouble of waving and curling every day.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1904) ‘Waving has a softening effect and makes a face younger and prettier’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904).
Marcel Or Pin Waving The Hair?
‘Waving is not all of the Marcel type; indeed, it is practically impossible for a woman to Marcel wave her own hair. But there are other ways of securing an excellent wave on the front and side hair; a wave which looks pretty and natural, and gives the hair just that support and substance which makes waving such a help in hair dressing. Every woman can wave her hair, if she wants to, on pins.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
‘The marcel waved pompadour has been superseded by a loose natural wave’ (Marin Journal, 1907). ‘It is to be noted that the best-gowned women – those who lead the fashions in their respective and particular sets – are no longer resorting to the marcel wave for a formal coiffure. This style has become so overdone that it is rather a mark of distinction nowadays to dress one’s hair after some other manner.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1907)
‘As to the wave, a little is attractive, but it should be just enough to soften the outlines of the hair – never a stiff marcel such as belongs to formal hair dressing. The plan some business girls follow – having the hair waved Saturday – works well, in that after Sunday the wave looks about right for office wear the rest of the week.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1907)
Edwardian Heatless Pin Waving
‘I deplore very much the use of hot curling irons. They destroy the luster of the hair and break it beyond repair. If you want wavy locks, use one of the many crimping pins now on the market. If you don’t want to wear them at night, there are some which will wave the hair in twenty minutes – while you are dressing. You can dampen the hair or better still, use a little brilliantine before putting it up on these curlers. The whole effect is soft and pretty.’ (San Bernardino Sun, 1909)
For pin waving, ‘the front and side hair should be divided into eight or ten strands, and each one placed on a pin for waving.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2e) ‘Hold the pin firmly with the left hand, and take the strand in the right. Twist it over each prong in turn, taking particular care to twist it towards the face the first time. If this is not done, the wave goes the wrong way. Continue twisting over and over each prong until the strand covers the pin in a sort of plait. […] When all the hair has been used up take the two ends of the pin, and bend the left one towards the right, and the right towards the left. This crossing of the ends prevents the hair on the pin from loosening or escaping. […]
If the hair is left on the pin all night, or some hours, no heat is necessary; and when the pin is removed the wave will appear. But if the hair is to be dressed immediately, some flat pincher-shaped irons – as used for curls en papillote – should be thoroughly heated, and the hair pressed firmly between them. The pin can then be removed, and the wave is equally good. […] Four pins should serve to wave the front and sides, and the back can be done in the same way if desired.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
Curling The Hair
‘If it is more convenient to use kids or papillotes, home-made ones are the best. Make a foundation of wire, cover it with cotton wool and over that draw a bit of pale blue cheese cloth. Cotton wool may be made sufficiently firm by winding it closely, and a “curler” of this description gives softer, more graceful waves than the kids. “Why pale blue cheese cloth?” perhaps asks one. “Oh, just for looks – pale blue is more becoming than brown kids or white wool. One may even look pretty and coquettish in sky blue curlers.” For the same reason when using ribbons for curling the hair have blue ones. […]
[A] secret of preserving the waviness of tresses is this: Each strand of hair must be as tightly twisted as a cord before it is wrapped around the curlers or papillotes. This gives the curls stability and firmness’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘It is best, if possible, to devote at least from one-half an hour to two hours in curling the hair by the use of kid-covered curlers. The hair should be combed out all about the head, aureole fashion, and strands of even quantity be rolled upon the curlers loosely to prevent injury to the texture, and pull on the roots.
The hair, when rolled in spiral or cork-screw fashion upon the curler, should be wound from above down, not from below upward, to obtain a natural wavy effect. After the curlers are removed, the hair is combed out lightly and dressed.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘A whalebone device, sold in the shops, will curl the hair very satisfactorily. Slightly dampen the hair, start with the top end and wind the strand around it in rope fashion. The heat of the head will form an attractive curl.’ (The Minneapolis Journal, 1906)
Edwardian Overnight Heatless Waves
‘It is comparatively easy to train the hair to assume a long and rather loose wave merely by twisting it in a roll at night, having first dampened it slightly.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1907)
‘All natural pompadours begin the night before. The hair which is free from oil is moistened with soft water. It is then rolled over the fingers. No curlers are needed. The hair is parted off into one big strand, which must not be too fat. It is then twisted around the fingers. It is turned and rolled till it is all one bunch.
At this stage of the game the fingers are gently slipped out and the hair is pinned down with hairpins fast to the forehead. It lies like a mat on the brow, between the eyes, with the pins holding it. The trick of doing this up well is to have the twist tight and regular, and to pin it firmly after it is twisted flat. It must then be allowed to dry. This will take all night.’ (The Intermountain Catholic, 1904)
In the morning, ‘French comb the front hair carefully, and arrange it in a soft Pompadour roll, drawing it downwards over the forehead with the fingers, in order to avoid any hardness of line.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2e)
‘By doing this twice a week the pompadour is always in wave. […] The great advantage of a wave like this is that it has a natural look. It doesn’t look so artificial as the waves that are put in deliberately, side by side, each one just like the one next door to it.’ (The Intermountain Catholic, 1904)
‘Irons are seldom resorted to and now the hair is waved by the “pinning down” method. This means that once or twice a week the hair all over the head, with the exception of a tuft on the crown, is carefully brushed, combed, dampened a trifle, and then laboriously fastened down to the head in regular waves. The hair is usually divided into strands about the thickness of one’s little finger, and with the comb each one of these sections is given a natural looking wave which is held in place until dry by means of wire hair pins.
The hair may easily be trained to fall into these waves, though a great deal depends on the natural bent of one’s locks, and frequently it will not be necessary to have the pinning process gone through with oftener than once every fortnight. With a high dressing the entire head must be waved, but when it is desired to do the hair low in the neck the work is only about half as tedious as in the former case. The front and sides are waved and then fluffed out and the whole drawn into a loose coil to resemble a figure eight.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
Curl papers were considered old-fashioned in the Edwardian era. If a woman really wanted to curl the hair with curl papers at night, she was advised to hide the curl papers with a nightcap or use pretty ribboned curl papers so as not to look a fright! ‘If curl papers there must be the effect should be mitigated as far as possible with […] donning the charming and fashionable nightcap.’ (Sacramento Union, 1912)
‘Not much longer need she make a most unlovely scarecrow of herself by night with patent curlers.’ (The Detroit Times, 1908) ‘Woman has at last found a way out of the difficulty of making a fright of herself with curl papers. Doing up one’s hair on retiring has always been a perplexing problem to those who eschew hot irons, for even in the sanctity of isolation one does not like to feel herself a fright. With a due knowledge of the feminine caprice, some enterprising manufacturer has sent out a curl paper which ties around the desired curl with a dainty bow of ribbon, so that when the bang or pompadour is arranged for the night, the head looks as if surrounded by a halo of pretty ribbons and floating ends.
Half the horrors of a fire in an apartment house are thus done away with, for the harrowing sight of curl papers has always added to the other terrors in no small degree; sleep walking can now be as graceful as a scene from “Macbeth,” to say nothing of one’s own feeling in being well dressed – in curl papers – which is said to give the crowning touch to woman’s self possession.’ (Arizona Republican, 1899)
Edwardian Heatless Finger Waves
To try the new method of waving the hair ‘part off the hair from ear to ear […] divide this portion into three sections, each one being brushed down over the face and moistened slightly with some good odorless tonic. […] The middle part of the pompadour is taken up first and combed straight back from the face. Then with the comb a wave is produced, and it must be remembered at this point that nearly every head of hair has a natural inclination to wave, either to the left or the right side, and this tendency must always be observed and followed.
When the first wave has been placed it should be held in position with the little finger of the free hand, then the second undulation should follow, so that the space between is in accord with the wave, and this in turn should be held down with the third finger. The same method of procedure should be continued until all four fingers are holding down undulations, and then, before releasing the fingers, very small wire hairpins should be employed to fasten close to the head the series of waves just formed. […]
Each side of the head is treated in exactly the same manner, every step being repeated in the proper order, though it will not often be found necessary to do more than four waves to this part. […] The pins should be allowed to remain in the hair from half an hour to an hour, the length of time really depending on the rapidity with which the hair dries. It is an excellent idea to tie over this part of the hair a thin old veil or a piece of soft point d’esprit. When the pinned-down hair is quite dry the wire hairpins should be removed and the hair lifted off the face and carefully combed through with a coarse comb.’ (The Intermountain Catholic, 1902)
Edwardian Marcel Waving Only For Formal Hairstyles
‘For dressy effects, the Marcel wave is still in favor, and it does not injure the hair if care is taken to avoid singeing or scorching. The woman who has plenty of time to give to her toilet will accomplish excellent results in Marceling by using bandolin instead of irons.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘Marcel waving differs from the so-called waving in that the undulations surround the whole head. This is termed hard waving, because the waves or undulations are more permanent and so give the hair a fixed or set look instead of the soft flocculence resultant from other methods.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘It must be remembered that nothing is so homely as short, harsh waves. The hair must be waved in large, soft, easy-looking waves.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902) ‘For the pompadour, which is waved all around the head, the wave [is] growing closer together at the back and spreading in front.’ (Marin Journal, 1907) ‘It takes a professional to accomplish the French wave, for, though deep, it has a roundish, natural twist which cannot be imitated by an amateur.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
How To Marcel Wave The Hair
‘Marcel waving has to be studied and practised with great care. The beginner is very apt to get the undulations irregular at first, and therefore it is deemed advisable to practise on a switch or, better still, a wig placed upon a block.
Good judgment, of course, is necessary in heating the iron properly, so as to have the right temperature; not too hot to injure or burn the hair, and not too cool to prevent proper curling. For this purpose the operator should always use a bit of paper first to try the iron, which never should be hot enough to scorch the paper.
For the heating of the proper curling iron the gas flame is not advisable, as it tends to smoke up the metal and thus soil the hair. Electric heaters are best; but usually the hair-dresser must resort to the next best heating device, and the alcohol lamp answers this purpose. […]
[Before Marcel waving the hair, the hair should be washed and bandoline] may be applied to the hair before curling to render the undulations more permanent. […] Comb out a strand of hair about three or four inches wide. Do not make it too thick, as this interferes with curling.
Hold the iron groove inward or toward the scalp in the right hand, and with the left hand hold the strand of hair. […] Press the handles of the iron together, twist half a turn of the iron downward, giving it a downward pull at the same time. […] Now slipping the fingers of the left hand further up the strand, apply the iron again, placing in line with the first curl and about one inch above it, and again curl; this time pushing the iron forward as it is twisted downward, which gives the marcel effect […]
Continue along the whole strand quite to the end, making from five to seven of these curls in the strand […] It is best, however, to leave the end of the strand free from curling, as the various strand ends may need to be treated in a different manner when finally gathered on top of the head. […] The first strand having now been completed, the one behind it is taken up and curled in the same way. […] Do not forget the downward and upward movement in curling the second strand and all others thereafter […] The hollow groove should always be nearest the scalp’ (Beauty Culture, 1911).
‘The first strand having been properly waved in its full length, a small part of it should be taken and joined to the next in order to show exactly where the irons are to be placed along this second strand, so that when the hair is waved all over and nicely combed all the waves will fall properly into each other. […] The sides being waved, continue with the strand at the top of the head, taking a small part of the waved lock from the right side as an indicator as to where the waves are to be made.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
‘The hair having all been waved as described, gather the various strands on top of the head, not drawing them too tightly, and pin them into place with the uncurled hair. […] The dressing of the top of the head may be finished off by making a cluster of small curls composed of the ends of the strands or top hair; or it may be simply twisted into a knot […]
A coarse comb is now passed through all of the hair that has been marcelled, to join the various strands, and to overcome the extreme stiffness or tightness of the undulations and give the whole an even appearance. If desired, a little brilliantine may be put on the hair to give it lustre. This is applied with the finger and should be followed with the comb.
The hair may be marcelled again in a day or two by using the iron while the hair is made up, following, of course, the undulations made at the first sitting.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911) ‘Ladies can easily keep the waves from disappearing by touching them up with the irons, even when the hair is dressed.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
The American Wave Coiffure
‘This style of coiffure is similar to the celebrated Marcel wave and differs only from it by being done more loosely. The marcel hair dress is hard and tight. In this the hair is more loosely gathered, even fluffy. […]
For the very loose waved effect each strand is lifted with the comb in the left hand and the marcel iron is used, having the round part below the strand. This done, close the iron and twist it upward and backward to collect the hair on the curve of the iron, holding it there a moment and removing it. […] Having made one wave or curl, the iron is slid upward about an inch higher up, the comb receding with the iron, and a second curl is made, and so on […] The curling should be done at regular intervals, so that the waves of one strand fall in line with those of the next. […]
The true soft American wave is not done as just described […] beginning with the first strand at the forehead it [the hair] is wound around in cork-screw fashion over the round part of the curling iron, which should be about the thickness of the forefinger. The strand is wound up to about four inches of its end around the iron in this manner, practically filling the iron with a spiral roll of hair. Curling too near the end of each strand tends to make it tangle. […]
The hair having all been curled in either of the ways suggested, a hair roll is placed with its thick roll or part at the back of the head and its points coming over the top of each ear. This is pinned into place and the waved hair is ready to be gathered up for the final dressing.
There now remain the ends and the top hair to be disposed of. […] The resulting switch or tail of hair if long and full enough is divided into two or three or more strands and each is made into a puff by rolling loosely over the index fingers, making finger puffs. Each puff so made is pinned into place, composing a neat cluster at the crown of the head. […] A Dutch braid may now be placed beneath the cluster of puffs with its wide part at the back of the head.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
Waving The Hair At Home With Curling Irons
The wave ‘is more in evidence than ever. Most persons think the Marcel wave is an improved art of expert hair-dressers, prohibitive to those outside their reach, but in this they are mistaken for it be made perfectly by oneself after a little practice and more patience. Women of moderate means who cannot afford the services of a professional every time they want their hair waved have learned to transform obstinate locks into lovely tresses and the process is not so difficult after all.
This is how it is done: First of all the hair must be in perfect condition to retain the impression of the curling iron. Immediately after a shampoo is not a good time to wave the hair, as it will not remain in curl for more than twenty-four hours. About the third day after the hair has been washed and carefully rinsed to be sure all the soap has been thoroughly removed, the heat of the iron will make a far deeper wave and one that will not disappear for several days.
To make the full head wave, or in other words to wave the hair back and front, brush the locks well and part in small sections, crosswise of the head. Take a thin strand, place it between the tongs and twist half way round, at the same time protecting the head from the heat by a long toothed comb. Give the tongs several quick snaps to allow the hot air to escape and to strengthen the crease in the wave. Remove the tongs and place about two inches from the first wave and repeat the movement.
Always be sure the hair is half way on the iron and hold very firmly at the start. Treat the next strand in the same manner until you have placed three waves entirely around the head. Do not try to wave too much of the hair at one time. It is far better to devote a few more moments and do the work properly by waving very thin strands at a time.’ (The Designer, 1905)
‘The latest trick of hair-dressing is to arrange the hair without waving it. After the pompadour has been set in place, and the top knot arranged, the hair is waved but not before. Carefully the tongs are run underneath and the hair is lifted lock by lock. Little waves follow the tongs and soon the whole hair is a mass of pretty undulations. Finally the love locks along the edges are waved. Hair that is dressed in this way looks precisely as though it had come directly from under the hands of the hair-dresser and those who try it say there is no way that is quite so satisfactory.’ ( San Jose Herald, 1900)
How Often To Wash The Hair For A Fluffy Pompadour
The hair must ‘be kept light and fluffy, for, otherwise, it lies damp and flat upon the head and there is no beauty in it.’ (San Jose Mercury News, 1904) ‘Before you try to wave the hair in the natural wave, be sure to prepare it […] To prepare it you must keep it clean. And keeping it clean means shampooing it often. Brushing it will not do, nor shaking it in the wind. […] The hair can be treated twice a month to a good shampoo. Or, if the hair be dry, once a month will do. But once a week it should be well washed with hot water and the hands. This will take out the oil and make it inclined to curl.’ (The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, 1905)
‘There is an old fashioned notion – I was going to say superstition – that the hair should not be washed oftener than once in two weeks and that even this was too much if one wished a really good growth of hair. Nothing is more absurd.
The hair should be washed as often as needed, once a week if necessary, but – and this is where the emphasis comes in – every particle of soap should be washed out. There is only one way in which this can be done thoroughly – by kneeling in the bathtub and putting the head directly under the faucet. It is this soap that remains in the hair that injures it. The washing cannot possibly do it any harm. No woman can hope to have a pretty coiffure if she has oily hair. Like an oily skin, it is sure bar to beauty.’ (San Bernardino Sun, 1909)
‘To keep the hair fluffy as the style demands, you may wash the front locks every other week with castile soap and fan them dry. If your hair is oily, massage with alcohol three times a week. The other four days you may massage with cold water and dry in the sun. So the hair will be kept as dry as is healthy, without harm to the natural oil. The alcohol should give way to the cold water as soon as the desired fluffiness is established. […]
Do not yield to the temptation to wash the hair often for the sake of making it fluffy. Many women are shampooing every week. This is too much of a good thing. The cold water massage and drying are sufficient’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904). ‘To make the hair simply fluffy without curling it, moisten it with a preparation of alcohol or rectified spirits of wine, two ounces; cologne, one ounce; bicarbonate of soda, half ounce, and rosewater, four ounces.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘The really successful woman prefers to shampoo her hair once a week […] the result is that it is easier to handle. […] It will look prettier and fluffier, and there will be no awkward days when the hair is so full of oil that it will not curl.’ (The Washington Herald, 1908)
Long Or Short Hair?
In the Victorian era, it was fashionable to have hair to sit on: ‘In the days of our grandmothers long hair used to be the thing admired. If Miss Jones-Brown could “sit on her hair” the news was told to her glory and it was not considered to matter that the final foot or so of plait was a miserable wisp. When the hair was brushed smoothly back, and coiled round and round, long hair was some use; but nowadays […] it is merely a trial, and the girl with really bushy hair some ten or twelve inches in length will appear to have twice as much, once it is “up,” as her sister with hair below the waist’.
The hair length ‘is not a point which should be left to Nature to decide nowadays, when 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, 1910-2d)
‘It may be remarked for this season’s styles that they can not be prettily arranged if the hair be very long. Short hair, not too thick, does up well. Thick hair if short can be managed, but the very long, very abundant crop of hair can not be done up prettily.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1899) ‘If your hair is thin you can arrange it more becomingly than though it were heavy. But the woman with heavy hair need not despair. She can arrange it nicely if she tries. But she will do better to tie it tightly to her head and adjust a false coil or two. Otherwise she must go to endless trouble of waving and curling every hair.’ (The St. Louis Republic, 1904)
Adapting The Pompadour To One’s Type Of Beauty
Adapting The Edwardian Pompadour To Different Faces
Allow me to contradict you, madam. No woman is ugly, or at least, if she is, it is her own fault. What do you suppose Providence gave you all that hair for? Why, just to make yourself beautiful with, of course. The only trouble is, you don’t know how to arrange it. […] If necessary, take an afternoon off, and spend it in front of your mirror practicing various modes of dressing your hair. You will find that it was time well spent, for nothing does so much to obscure or soften bad features, or heighten the charm of good ones as a proper arrangement of the hair.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
‘A woman wishing to study the styles in hair dressing should walk through a large department store and note the various shapes of the faces and features, the color and shade of hair, until she finds someone of a similar type as herself. She may approve of the coiffure or not, but if not, she would not be likely to try that arrangement on herself. She may carry away the effect of many an arrangement in her mind. These heads are not inanimate things of a hair dresser’s window, or the elaborate coiffures for full dress, but for everyday, pretty, practical hair arrangements.’ (Lewiston Evening Teller, 1907)
‘The slickness and sheen of a woman’s head, without doubt, make a strong appeal to a man and cause him to succumb without struggle. […] Some few of the fairer sex are clever enough to appreciate this fact, and at the outset study and then adopt the style of coiffure that best suits the contour of head, beauty being greatly affected by the way in which hair is arranged; bad points are softened and even obscured, and good ones brought into prominence. No universal mode can be blindly followed if a woman would have artistic proportions and bring out the best expression of her face.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘Perhaps the greatest aim in the present mode of hairdressing is to obtain a natural effect. The hair is the frame of the face and should be adjusted as naturally as possible. If a Pompadour best suits the face, it is considered fashionable; so, too, is a part in the middle or on the side. It would be altogether inappropriate to wear the hair combed close to the head in the period of fluffy costumes. Harmony must be considered in all matters of dress if one would appear perfectly groomed.’ (The Designer, 1905)
‘The French woman’s coiffure is always perfect. She prides herself greatly on the neatness of her hair. The first thing she does in the morning after she has her bath is to attend to her tresses. If she does not command the services of a maid, she herself becomes an expert in the art of hair-dressing, and when she has once exercised her skill it is impossible to find fault with her completed work. She always carefully studies her features and her hair is arranged to emphasize the good points and conceal the defects, if there are any.’ (The Designer, 1905)
‘Beautiful hair attractively dressed often constitutes the only claim that a woman has to beauty […] for the plainest features can be made interesting by a graceful arrangement of the softly waving aureole that surrounds them. The “raving, tearing beauty” can afford to dress her hair any way she chooses, at the dictates of fashion or of her own caprice, but she is only found in the proportion of about one out of every thousand, and the remaining 999 women need to take their features into consideration when arranging the locks which nature or the hair dresser has given them and follow the fashions only so far as it agrees with their appearance to do so.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909) The fashionable coiffure ‘must be modified to such an extent for certain faces that the original coiffure sometimes is well nigh unrecognizable.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
Creating An Oval Face Shape
‘You must know not only your own beauties but your own defects, and so manage to accentuate the one and diminish the latter. And this is not difficult. It is easy to cover a spot in the wall if you know where it is, and it is easy to make your narrow forehead look wider, and your high forehead look lower […] It is always possible to preserve the oval of your face no matter how high the forehead may be. To do this select the prettiest part of your brow, which is apt to be just over the right eye, and let the hair be lifted at this place. Now drape it low at each side of this “lift,” and you will have an oval which may not be a true oval but which will become your style of beauty.
If you understand the trick of framing your face you will be able to follow the conventional styles, but will, upon these styles, ingraft your own personality. If you wear your hair high you will pull it low at each temple and will drape it over the ears. If you wear it low you will make it high at the forehead and will frame the temples in a soft fluff.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1902)
The Edwardian Pompadour For Round Faces With Low Foreheads
‘Many women make themselves appear ofttimes ridiculous and sometimes actually ugly just by freakishly or thoughtlessly adopting a style of coiffure entirely unsuited to them. What is more grotesque than a fat round face covered with a low mop of ringlets? Women with a round face should adopt a style in which the hair is narrow or close at the sides, and somewhat high at the top of the head, and massing well down the back of the neck.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘Square pompadours are for round faces. Let a round-faced woman have a perfectly rounded pompadour and she will look like the letter O. Round-faced girls are usually feminine enough without too many stray curls. Their danger is in look frumpy, so I advise a smooth coiffure for them.’ (The Washington Times, 1908) ‘A round face needs hair arranged on top of the head, or, at least, it should be brushed off the forehead and the part in the middle should be avoided.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘The Pompadour can be slightly “broken” all across the front, or it can be pulled right down towards one eyebrow, and lifted rather high, off the forehead, on the other side. This leaves a V-shaped piece of forehead exposed; and for ladies with low, pretty foreheads there is no style more charming.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a) The pompadour dip ‘is a strikingly beautiful coiffure for ladies having a short, full appearing face. It has the effect of giving a lengthened appearance to the countenance […] The dip gives it a smart, chic tone’ (Illustrated Book Of Instruction, The Robinson System Of Barber Colleges, 1906).
The Long Face With A High Forehead
‘Those having long thin faces should not wear the hair high, for that accentuates and emphasizes the length and leanness of their countenances; but should wear it wider at the sides and thicker in back, to round out the face.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘High foreheads intellectual, perhaps, but not a pretty feature of a woman’s face’ (The Silver Messenger, 1905) ‘Your high forhead gives you an intellectual look, nevertheless you must hide it with a soft, fluffy dip pompadour and a narrow fringe.’ (The Atchison Daily Globe, 1913) ‘If your face is too long, do not think of parting it, for in this way you will add ten years to your apparent age.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906) ‘For the broad face and heavy jaw no straight lines of any sort; instead, the hair should be arranged in fluffy coils that will give breadth to the top of the head.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902) ‘You will look almost masculine, if you allow your front hair to be at all set or square in outline.’ (The Washington Times, 1908)
‘It has been made possible for the woman with the high forehead to wear the hair pompadour because the hair is not rolled back from the forehead, but is pulled down to hide the skin.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902) ‘The Pompadour can be […] pulled right down towards one eyebrow, and lifted rather high, off the forehead, on the other side. This leaves a V-shaped piece of forehead exposed […] for high foreheads this style is not becoming, and if used with a high forehead – for which it is not very advisable – the Pompadour must be made very loosely, and pulled well towards the eyebrows, being then lightly divided, to break the hard line.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
‘The girl with the high forehead who does not like the Alexandria fringe or bang would wear a soft pompadour without a rat, and a Delia Fox or small single curl fastened with a hairpin in the middle of her pompadour.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906) ‘I always advise women like you to have half a dozen of the new little pin curls to tuck in over the temples. It softens the effect, wonderfully’ (The Washington Times, 1908). ‘A tiny fluff of these short curls is the saving grace of many a pompadour. A high forehead can sometimes wear a high puff, if the little curls be brought down to hide the great expanse of brainy brow.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
‘A broad-faced woman, with tapering chin, should avoid a style of hairdressing which calls for curls or fluffy waves on either side of the head, the triangle portion of the face being thereby brought into greater prominence.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
Curly & Modish Pompadours For Plain Women
‘It is the plain woman then who may go in for styles that are very English or very French and very fashionable. She may make her hair ripple and wave and flow like that of the heroine of a three-volume novel. By the way, if the hair is waved it must be done in large, soft waves and not close crinkled ones. […]
Very few faces are sufficiently faultless in outline to dispense with the pretty and becoming wavy, curly locks as a framing for the face. Only very youthful girls, very beautiful ones, or very strong minded ones, brush the hair severely back from the face. A plain woman, without a suggestion of one or two wavy locks about the face, has either been disappointed in love, is interested in women’s clubs, or wants to vote. Venus de Medici could not preserve her reputation for good looks an hour under such treatment.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘The final touch came in the curling of the little locks […] around the forehead and on the back of the neck […] Take the plainest woman, and let her place little curls around her face, and her best features will be set off at once. Curls soften the hard features and bring out the good ones.’ (The St. Louis Republic, 1904)
The Edwardian Pompadour For Big And Small Noses
‘A sharp-featured, long-nosed woman should dress her hair low and rather full at the sides, but not full in the back at the crown of the head.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911) A ‘Delia Fox or small single curl fastened with a hairpin in the middle of her pompadour […] is almost essential if her nose is large.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘The woman with a prominent nose does not want to wear a Psyche knot, which will give her profile the appearance of a vase with two handles, and the woman with an insignificant or retrousse nose would do better not to surround her countenance with outstanding curls or puffs, which seem to claim comradeship with the unemphatic feature in their midst.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909) ‘The girl with the retrousse or “pug” nose must curl her hair and dress it lightly, but not too high on the top of her head.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘The severity of a Roman nose may be tempered by the arrangement of the hair, which should not be pompadour, but parted softly from the face and gathered gracefully at the crown of the head; the owner of a small nose can with safety wear the hair arranged on a line with it, but the woman with a Roman or long nose had better erect it on top of her head to avoid showing the extreme length – from the tip of her nose to the final curl.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘If your nose protrudes, part your hair […] Wave it, and let soft curls escape around the ears. You may also wear it pompadour, although parted is really the most becoming way for you. […] Do not fix it in a coil at the extreme nape of the neck, for this will make people draw a mental line from the tip of your nose to your coil. Dress it in some way that will make your coiffure extend from the nape of your neck nearly to the crown of your head.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
The Position Of The Eyes
‘Your eyes should be set exactly midway between your chin and the top of your head. If your eyes are too near the top of your head, wear a pompadour well combed away from the face, although not too stiffly, of course. If you have enough to do it without a roll, the effect will be much softer and prettier. But see that as little hair as possible falls over your forehead, for what you want to do is to make your forehead seem as high as you can. You may dress your hair in the back either high or low.
If your eyes are set too low, on the other hand, part your hair, letting it fall over the temples in long graceful waves. Puff it out at the sides.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
Broad Brows, Thin Necks & High Cheekbones
‘The flat foreheaded girl will be out of style this winter. This makes it imperative that those who have flat foreheads must hide them with witching side curls or must conceal them under a curved pompadour.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1903) ‘Any one with a broad brow should wear as little hair on the temples as possible and dress it high. One with a low brow, when the eyes are not set too high, should keep the hair off her forehead in front and arrange a few wavy locks on the temples. A receding brow should be partly covered with fluffy hair. The bad effect of high cheek bones can be modified by combing the hair over the temples. […]
If the neck is perfectly formed, it may be left bare, but if long and scrawny it should have a few stray loose, curly locks. This refers more particularly to evening coiffure.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902) ‘The possessor of a swanlike throat would be well advised to dress her hair low in the back, and her short necked sister would probably look best with a high coiffure.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909) The coiffure with neck curls ‘assists a thin neck also and hides defects of throat and contour.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘Be sure to cover the upper lobe of the ear in dressing the hair, for seldom does the hair grow prettily here.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902) ‘Ears have certainly gone out of style. It is claimed that they never were very much in vogue with artists and that no picture was ever painted of a famous beauty, showing her ears. Only the lobes are visible and not always those.
It is hard upon people whose faces are broadest across the center, this vogue for covering the ears, but for these there is the pretty recourse of curling the locks in little wisps just at the upper lobe of the ears so that the tiny curls may fall and cover them. So with the short hair back of the ears. Curl it tightly, comb out the curls loosely, and let them twine if they will. The trouble with hair that is not naturally curly is that it will not twine. Left to themselves, the curls come out straight and the artistic sense of hair dressing is shocked. The smallest curls come on hair pins for the purpose of sticking into the hair, and the wise woman will avail herself of these and own from two to twenty for constant and daily use, making sure always that they are secured with crinkly pins, warranted to stick forever.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘If the ears are large or stick out from the head, dress the hair well down over the ears in soft, wavy fluffed effects. Cleo de Merode, the noted French beauty, is an example of what hairdressing accomplishes for the homely woman. No one considered her a beauty because her ears were large and stuck far out from her head. An artist who desired to copy her beautiful profile for a picture conceived the idea of hiding the ugly ears entirely by perfectly dressed hair, and directly the ugly duckling became one of the most famous beauties of all Europe.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906)
‘In real life a woman always shows her ears until those members stand out in all their native ugliness. There is no such thing as a pretty ear in all the world. […] The beauty will cover up her ears. […] The few who can wear dainty little ear curls will do so, but most will hide the defects by slightly lowering the wave of the pompadour, leaving the tiny pink tip of the ear showing below the hair, and perhaps one beautiful diamond below, for earrings are coming in again.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1905)
‘If the ears are prominent and none too pretty in shape, try waving the hair or rolling it just above and back of the ears, but not in a severe, plain pompadour against which the ear will stand out more ugly than ever.’ (The Penascola Journal, 1908)
Low Pompadour For Young Women
The low ‘modes of hair-dressing […] are especially suitable for girls, and for women with youthful faces.’ (The Delineator, 1908) ‘Everybody, of course, will not wear the low coiffure, but young and stylish women are bound to wear no other for several months to come anyway’ (The Sun, 1906). The ‘popular low coiffure is the privilege of youth, and should be avoided by all women of mature years.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906) The low hairstyle ‘is becoming to only very young women. Few women over 25 […] look well in a low coiffure’ (Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 1904).
‘Certain styles of low coiffure have a remarkable way of imparting youthfulness to a face, and if a woman can adopt that mode, she will do well to cling to it through the rise and fall of fashions. Curiously enough, it is the low dressing which suggests youth, and the low one, too that nestles in the graceful hollow of a prettily rounded neck. With the prevailing fashion for drooping shoulders and flat, collarless effects, a style of low hairdressing is the inevitable decree […] It is far easier to secure a quaint and picturesque effect with a low coiffure than with a high one, but there are many women who do not find this artistic and neglige fashion becoming. The half high style, which starts rather high and gives to the head a long, narrow and graceful appearance, is better suited to them.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1903)
‘And again you see the knot a little higher on the head, and the front hair covering the ears in the genuine Cleo de Merode style. The arrangement of the front hair is to a great degree a matter of becoming effect. It is parted in the center, at one side or not at all, just as you fancy, and it is simply waved, not curled; or, what is better still, there is no wave at all. The center parting is very modish with the low knot […] Young girls are now wearing their hair on the nape of the neck with evening gowns, and the softer it looks the more charming.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902) ‘Nothing is so becoming to the thin, girlish face as the low English style of dressing the hair.’ (Albuquerque Evening Citizen, 1907)
The Edwardian Pompadour – Day & Night
Change The Hairstyle Every Day!
‘Better to put a year’s work upon it, experimenting this way and that, than to go all one’s life with the hair badly arranged. Some people say you can select one style and travel through life with your tresses framing your face in this manner. But it is certain that if you do you will look like an antique, for part of your days at least; for one must pay some concession to the changing of the ideals.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1902)
‘A woman must wear a pompadour, but pompadours change and the woman must change with them. […] Today her hair is low on her neck with one great, handsome spike of tortoise shell or amber to hold it in place. Tomorrow that same head will be dressed high, with the coiffure slightly higher on one side than the other. The next day it is built in a tall point in the front, and again it is banded with ribbons for a show coiffure. […]
Change your hairdressing each day if you want to be a beauty. The eye becomes accustomed to one style of hairdressing, and one does not notice it any longer. As soon as the eye does not notice a thing the brain does not respond. The woman who looks always the same is the woman who is always unadmired. Dress your head differently each day. Some days you may look, as you think, ‘like a fright.’ But there are those who will admire you for the novelty at least.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1908)
‘Before beginning what seems to be a most complicated study, […] [one] word of advice, and that is, experiment. Always experiment. Get some lady friend or friends to practice on, and with patience and perseverance the intricacies of hairdressing will vanish like magic, and a sense of assured skill will take their place.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
Matching The Hairstyle To The Dress
‘The coil on top of the head invariably goes with the empire gown and with the directoire modes a revival of colonial styles brings out the Janice Meredith curl and the tunic demands a Greek headdress. At this moment of picturesque effects in every thing, the girl who has the faculty of making the most of herself adapts these ideas to changes in her own dress. With an inborn appreciation of artistic lines she instinctively changes her hairpins with the frock knowing that the whole effect of the dress can be spoiled if the hair doesn’t look the part.
Tea gowns and house gowns in which artistic dressmakers depart from fashion plate models for something on standard lines offer a great field of doing up the hair to match. A belle who is noted for her beautiful negligees always does her hair to a modified Psyche knot when she puts on a certain tea gown which is modeled after a Greek tunic. If she wears one with Watteau effect she puffs it high up with comb. With a little short waisted empire dress she piles it on top of her head and if wearing kimono, she makes her pompadour as tame as possible and thrusts something through it in the way that is commonly accepted as Japanese and which is more becoming than the real Japanese knot.
She also knows beforehand if a thick fluffy boa or coat with a high ruff or collar is going to be needed in the evening with her evening gown and her hair is done high to increase the stately effect. But if a low bodice is to be worn without any addition in the way of neck pieces or one of the pretty half low gowns is to be put on, she arranges the coils or braids low on the neck.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1903)
The ‘Madonna fashion of waving the hair, parting it in the middle and knotting it gracefully low at the back of the neck […] seems to accord with Gainsborough and shepherdess hats, with roses tucked in the curls, with quaint white muslin dresses’ (San Francisco Call, 1904).
‘Now it is the coiffure that must coincide [with the dress], and many are the ways and devices by which it is done. A woman of much fashionable pretensions is wearing a tan-colored gown. Her hair is jet black, but in its coils there are amber hair pins to match her tan-colored gown. Another woman, also of fashion, wears black pins in her blonde hair, large, conspicuous pins of black jet to match her black gown.
But there are prettier methods of matching the pins to the gown. Lovely ornaments in turquoise wide pins for pushing into the coiffure can be obtained and side combs that are finished in turquoise and in pearls, in garnets and in emeralds. One can really get combs finished in any manner, set along the top with stones of any hue. It is the best of taste to match the gown in this manner – paying it this mark of respect. It is a thing not believable, until one has taken the time to observe it closely, but the gown really takes on an added elegance if there is an effort made to match it with combs and the littles of dress. Try the effect of wearing turquoise and gold jewelry with your blue gown. Then put on ornaments that do not match it in any way and bear no relation to it and observe the wide difference.
There are bodices built, especially for the low neck and low coiffure and others that are designed for the high. The bodice that is to be worn with the low hanging coiffure is generally very plain around the neck and closely finished, without feathers or frills. The fact that the hair is to hang low is sufficient to dress the neck and shoulders without the need of elaborate sleeve ornaments. […] In many cases the bodice that is to be worn with a low coiffure, the evening or dinner bodice, has no sleeves at all, but merely a strap of jeweled velvet, or one of ribbons with tiny mock jewel ornaments applied. […]
The bodice that is designed for the high coiffure is entirely different in every way. Here is the chance for an elaborate structure, the more elaborate the better.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
Letting The Hair Rest
‘Change the style of dressing your hair occasionally to relieve the pressure on the scalp’ (San Francisco Call, 1906). ‘Although a woman will not acknowledge it, except to herself, she knows that a stiff pompadour hurts for days before she becomes accustomed to wearing it. She knows what relief it is, even after she became inured to it, to remove the “rat,” brush her hair softly back as nature had intended, and let it hang loosely about her shoulders.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1903)
‘The Pompadour style is very useful as a change for the woman who prefers to part her hair in the centre or at the side. By dressing her hair in Pompadour fashion for a few days every now and then, she “rests” her parting, and gives the whole of her hair a change, from which it benefits.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
‘For at least fifteen minutes during the day, and longer, if possible, it is well to take out all the pins and let the tresses hang loose. This airing is extremely beneficial, and at the same time the roots are rested from the strain of holding a coiffure.’ (The Richmond Palladium And Sun-Telegram, 1909) ‘In the privacy of home women should let the hair hang loose or in a very loose braid during a good part of the day.’ (The Ocala Evening Star, 1900)
‘Hair that is fluffy is light hair, and this means that it must be lifted and shaken often. It must be shaken dry each day. The hairs, after a night’s sleep, have a tendency to cling together, and the mere going through them with a comb will not separate the clumps or mats of hair. It is necessary to lift the hair lock by lock and shake it until it is light. The hairs will be separated and the locks, instead of being matted, will be loose and soft.’ (The Washington Herald, 1908)
The Edwardian Pompadour At Night
‘Taking off the pompadour at night is one of the ordeals of a woman’s life. She is changed by the removal of the hair. Her full round head to a small one. No wonder that my patrons ask me what can be done when they take off their hair at night. […] I advise the Du Barry method of doing the hair at night. Puff it slightly and tie it at each temple with a big, soft pink bow. This is immensely becoming.
Just as effective is the tall black bow on top of the head. The hair is loosely drawn up from each ear to the front of the head, just over the forehead. Here a tall bow is tied and the ends lie loosely on the hair. College girls tie a tall black butterfly bow over the forehead so as to keep the hair from trailing on the face.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1908)
‘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 picturesquely. 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)
‘Ventilation is as important for the hair as for the lungs. It [the hair] should be lifted from the scalp and shaken lightly every night before retiring, then braided lightly and loosely.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906) ‘It is best […] not to confine the hair at night. Braid it loosely or have it flowing if it does not snarl easily.’ (Marin Journal, 1901)
Secure the braids with silk ribbons: ‘never use either elastic or thread to fasten the ends of the hair […] it breaks the hairs, making the ends uneven.’ (My Secrets Of Beauty, 1914) ‘It is not well to twist the hair and pin it, however lightly, for the scalp should be relieved of any weight through the night.’ (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)
How To Make An Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle – 8 Tutorials
How To Make An Everyday Edwardian Pompadour With Figure 8 Bun
‘The difficulties of building up the pompadour are immense. Any good hair dresser will tell you how hard it is to build the pompadour high enough to be fashionable, yet comfortable enough for everyday wear. It is an easy matter to construct a high pompadour and, if that were all that is required the task of the hairdresser would be an easy one. But the trouble comes in when the other essentials are considered. The pompadour must be light; it must be comfortable; it must be hygienic for the scalp and it must keep its shape. A pompadour that falls short in any of these requirements is a total failure. […] The pompadour that does not keep its shape or that presses upon the scalp of the woman who wears it is not suitably constructed.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1908)
Divide The Front & Back Hair
‘To start a Pompadour dressing, divide the front and side hair from the foundation, leaving a fringe about two inches deep hanging round the forehead and ears, and combing the remainder of the hair into the foundation tail, which must be securely tied nearly at the top of the head.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a) ‘These lines must vary according to the thickness of the hair or shape of the head. In thick hair, a small proportion should be divided off, and in thinner the part should be farther back.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
Tie The Back Hair
‘It is almost impossible to do up the hair without tying it. The looseness causes it to gradually come down much to the mortification of the wearer, but with a tie into which to stick the hair pins there is no such danger. Many use the patent hair fasteners, others prefer the domestic string, but there are others who choose the small piece of elastic that is used by the hair-dressers. Whatever method is chosen a tie is almost essential. With her hair hanging like a great tail down her neck a woman can twist, braid, roll or otherwise turn her hair in many pretty ways.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1899)
Make The Pompadour
‘Having placed the front and side pieces on pins for waving […] pinch them with hot irons, and remove the pins. Having waved the hair, French comb it carefully, then gather the ends in the left hand, and brush the hair lightly upwards and back, holding it firmly a few inches from the ends. Having smoothed it, draw the roll thus made into the desired position, holding the left hand, with the ends, just a little above the “tie” of the foundation tail. The depth of the Pompadour may then be regulated according to taste, by shortening or lengthening the ends held in the left hand. Some ladies like a deep roll, while others prefer it quite shallow. Having fixed the size of the roll, hold it in place with the left hand, while the right quickly fixes it in place with two small combs – pins are useless in fixing a Pompadour roll. The ends may then be twisted round the foundation tail, and secured with pins.
Put The Hair Up Into A Figure 8 Bun
The dressing of the back hair, in conjunction with a Pompadour front, may be plain or elaborate, according to fancy – and time. […] The most simple and speedy method of disposing of the foundation tail is by making a neat figure of “8.” […] This style – Pompadour front and figure of “8” – is one which should prove of the greatest use to business girls, as it is chic and pretty, without being in any way over-elaborate.
To make the figure of “8,” take the foundation tail in both hands, and twist it round and round firmly until it resembles a lightly twisted rope. It must not look too tight or strained, but just lightly twisted, with a few inches left loose at the bottom. Hold the tail near the end in the left hand, keeping the end in an upward position. Put the thumb of the right hand on the tail, about four inches from the base, and let the tail drop – as it naturally will – towards the neck. This movement forms a loop, and makes the bottom of the “8.” Then twist the remainder of the tail as before, and turn it over the beginning of the other coil, making the second loop at the top. Finally, turn the ends under, and the “8” is made. The whole thing is done with two quick movements, and needs three or four pins, properly inserted, to keep it in position.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
Variation: Everyday Edwardian Pompadour With Chignon
Divide The Front, Side & Back Hair
‘For the home or street coiffure the hair, after being combed out thoroughly, is divided into the four sections [front, left, right and back section] […] Each section may now be curled lightly to give it a fluffy or full effect. […]
Make The Front Pompadour Roll
Now gather up the front section and adjust it in a sort of roll fashion over the forehead, bringing the free ends over the top of the head. Tie the free end, leaving as much loose end as the length of the hair will allow. A string may be used for this purpose, but a rubber band not too tightly applied will answer better.
Tie The Back Hair
Next tie the back hair rather near to the head. This will keep the hair in place while the sides are being adjusted.
Make The Side Pompadour Rolls (Or Puffs)
Now take up each side section, rolling it upward and inward if there is sufficient hair […] Do not roll up the hair tightly, but just firmly enough to give it body or shape. […] Pin the side into place so that it is firm, but not so firm as to be uncomfortable, and repeat the same with the other side.
Comb The Pompadour To Hide The Partings
This done, comb the sections lightly from the face upward so that the partings on the sides with the front will not show at the same time, lifting the comb outward further to fluff the hair and give it the easy effect of nature. This accomplished, insert a back comb of any desired style about the top of the head or a little back of this point […]
Put The Back Hair Up Into A Puff (Aka Chignon)
This leaves only the free end of the front hair and the back hair section to be adjusted. If the front hair back of the comb is sufficiently long, it may be combed in with the back hair. The back hair may then be gathered up as a roll similar to the front hair, fixed at the top of the head with the back comb, and fluffed out as directed with the front and sides, making sure that the loose ends are not shown on top of the head;
Optional: Neck Curls Or Puffs
or, if there is enough hair, the ends may be divided and curled into a number of small curls, which may be artistically pinned into place so that they fall down upon the back of the head, where they are fixed with small hairpins; or the back hair may be divided into two or three strands and curled over the fingers, and fixed into place at the back of the head in a cluster.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
Edwardian Pompadour With The Pompadour Made After The Back Hairdressing
Divide The Front & Back Hair
‘To make a pompadour parted or upright part the hair across the head about three inches back of the forehead and continuing down the sides to a point just back of the ear. Gather this hair forward out of the way.
Part The Hair Again Horizontally
Divide the remaining back hair again horizontally on a line with the top of the ear and roll the upper half up in a tight wad away from the lower half, which is left hanging.
Arrange The Back Hair Over A Hair Rat
To make the most of the latter [back hair] it would better be crimped a little with an ordinary crimping iron if a waver is too hard to manage. Then if the coiffure is to be very low fasten a round hair cushion about four inches in diameter at the back of the head just below the lower parting or so as to let the lower edge reach the nape of the neck and turn the crimped hair up over it and fasten firmly at the top of the cushion. According to the length of the hair there will be a longer or shorter end of hair left hanging and this must be carefully drawn to one side for future use, not tucked away.
Make The Pompadour – Then Make Puffs With The Middle Hair Section
The rolled up wad of hair must now be let down until the pompadour is built, after which it is divided and rolled up into two or three or more puffs arranged to fill the gap between the pompadour and bun, as the lower cushioned arrangement is called, and the ends of which are at this stage of the hair dressing formed into an additional puff. The ends of the front hair after the pompadour is built are often turned into a couple of small curls which project coquettishly from one side of the puffs’ (The Sun, 1906)
Early Edwardian Pompadour Tutorial With Double Figure 8 Bun
Divide The Front & Back Hair
‘First, thoroughly brush and comb your hair, then part off from the back hair the side and front pompadour. Let it hang over the face.
Tie The Back Hair
Then take the back hair and brush it smoothly and high up from the nape of the neck. Keep brushing up until the mass of hair is only held in position right in the center of the crown of the head. Take a piece of black hair string, about two fingers long. Tie it firmly, smoothly and carefully around the back hair, just where you are holding it, in the center of the crown of the head. Do not pull the string so taut that it will cut of injure the hair, but tie it so that it will hold the hair firmly […]
Make The Front Pompadour
Now turn your attention to your front hair which is going to form the pompadour. On its correct arrangement depends the success of your hairdressing. On no account wear a rat. Instead, fluff the hair thoroughly with the comb before turning it back from the temples and forehead. […] In this way you can obtain all the fullness necessary without the discomfort and harshness of the injurious rat.
After thoroughly fluffing the inner side of your front pompadour, turn it softly back from the forehead. Do not pull it tightly back from the temples. Let it fall a little carelessly, but with the art that conceals art, over the forehead. Then secure it firmly in place with several hairpins, otherwise you will have a cascade of hair in your eyes before the day is done.’ (San Francisco Call, 1900) ‘Hair pins of wire, short and exactly the color of the hair, are used.’ (Bridgeton Pioneer, 1900)
Make The Side Pompadour
‘Now turn your attention to the correct arrangement of the side pompadour. Fluff the hair on the inner side just as you did for the top. Then turn it carefully and artistically back from the sides and temples, letting the soft mass droop a little, becomingly, over the face, so as to break the regular line of the pompadour and thus avoid the harshness which all geometrically regular lines give the features. Now secure firmly in position with hairpins, just as you did the top pompadour.
Put The Back Hair Up Into A Double Figure 8 Bun
Now return to your back hair, which you left tied on the crown of your head. Divide it into two equal parts, one above, the other below. […] twist the top half into the high coil called the figure eight. After twisting the hair into the figure shown pin it securely quite forward on the crown of your head. See that the coil is smooth and firm, as just here no fluffy, untidy effect is permissible. Now take the under part of the back hair and twist it into a smooth and firm coil.
Then form, below the crown and right under the other twist, another figure eight, bringing the end of the coil away up around the top figure, to give compactness and finish to the entire coiffure. […] Pin the whole securely in place, gathering in under the coil all the loose ends of the pompadour. […]
Fluff The Pompadour
Take the comb and gently raise the fluffy hair of the pompadour out and up in the right position, so that it forms a soft and full frame for the face. Arrange the little stray locks and curls wandering over the temples in the manner most becoming to your individual type. It is the minutiae, the tiny artistic nothings, that make all the difference and adapt any prevailing style to any particular face.’ (San Francisco Call, 1900)
Low Pompadour For Young Girls
‘The most becoming coiffure to be seen today for young girls who are past the braid and ribbon age consists of a soft pompadour of medium size, somewhat flat on the top and pulled out softly on the sides well toward the back, while at the back of the head is arranged a long single puff. To obtain this effect is most simple.
Part The Hair & Make A Low Pompadour
The hair is first divided toward the front and back and the pompadour formed by three combs pushed in firmly. Often the hair is not divided at all, being simply pushed forward and the pompadour held in place by three combs, one of medium size for the center, the others at each side.
Tie The Hair
Next the hair is taken altogether in the right hand about half way down the center of the head and tied there firmly with a narrow tape or else held by rolling lightly about it a thin strand of the hair itself, and held more firmly by a wire hairpin. Elastic bands should never be used for this purpose, as they break the hair distressingly when being removed.
Roll The Hair Into A Puff & Add Hair Accessories
Once all the hair is secure the end is taken, rolled around the two forefingers, forming the large puff which is fastened at each end underneath by long wire hair pins, the outside of the puff pulled only into shape at each end with two pins of medium length. A shell barrette, not too large, is then slipped below the puff to catch in any short hairs that would otherwise fall loose and give an unkempt appearance.
At the top of the puff, bracing the front comb, may be put in two fancy shell hair pins. These will help to hold the hair in place, and with the shell combs and barrette be an attractive finish against the hair.
This long single puff may be evolved from any kind of hair of medium thickness, be it long or short, straight or of natural curl. Straight hair is, of course, more difficult to form in a puff, but with a little practice even the long, thin, stringy variety of hair can be coiled into a puff, which will give the effect of a great quantity of a woman’s crowning glory.
For Long & Thick Hair: Make Three Puffs
If the hair is exceptionally long and thick or else sufficiently soft and waving to be easily manageable, three puffs, the center one noticeably the largest, will give a becoming line to the head. When the hair is naturally stiff and stands out well by itself there is always difficulty in keeping the pompadour within bounds and the knot or puff from standing out too far at the back of the head, but for a schoolgirl especially all exaggeration must be avoided, while, anyway, exaggerated headdresses are fast falling from favor.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)
How To Make A Pompadour With Thin Hair
‘If your hair is thin you can arrange it more becomingly than though it were heavy.’ (The St. Louis Republic, 1904) ‘As a rule scanty hair can be arranged more successfully high than low’ (The Sun, 1905).
Wave & Tease The Front Hair
‘Thin hair should be waved with the irons first to make it fluffy and then brushed out before rolling.’ (San Francisco Call, 1907) ‘Thin hair parted in the middle is awful. It ruins the shape of the head, and it ruins the shape of the face.’ (San Jose Mercury News, 1904) ‘A woman who possesses only a wisp of hair may fool her friends into the belief that she owns a luxuriant growth’ by teasing her hair. (The Washington Times, 1902)
Make A Small Pompadour Roll
‘Comb all the hair straight back, in the first place. Then, unless you use a pompadour frame which your thin hair may not be able to cover, gently push the front part forward with the comb until it stands up in a pompadour shape. Place a pompadour comb on the top of the head to hold this front hair up – the teeth of the comb should be forward.
Put The Back Hair Up Into A Figure 8 Bun
Draw the whole hair to whatever point at the back of the head you find most becoming for the upper part of the figure eight. Coil it and pin it there.’ (Evening Star, 1904)
Fashionable Pompadour With Thin Hair
‘For the girl whose hair is thin the making of a big, fluffy pompadour has involved much trouble. It has meant the wearing of a “rat,” which has overheated the head and made the hair grow even thinner. Now there is a new method which does away entirely with the “rat” and yet gives the fashionable pompadour. Instead of dividing the hair across the top of the head, and using part for the pompadour and part for the back dressing, all the hair is now used for the pompadour.
Divide The Front & Back Hair
The first step is brushing the hair straight back and carefully combing it […] The next step is to part the hair in the same old way across the top of the head;
Tie The Back Hair
then brush the back hair up, and secure it with an elastic band or narrow piece of black tape. The front of hair is brushed over the forehead, to be combined with the back hair later on in making the pompadour.
Make The Pompadour Using The Front & Back Hair
Now divide the hair in three parts, using the back hair for the middle strand. Take each strand separately, fluff the hair with the comb on the under side, and take the middle strand, which is the back hair, and treat it in the same way. The remaining strand must also be combed and fluffed and drawn back; the ends of the three strands are now pinned together and tucked up under the pompadour.
Use False Hair For The Back Hairdressing
To make the back dressing a switch is needed. […] Though the average girl may not like the idea of wearing false hair, yet it is really much more sensible to wear a switch than a rat, especially when the switch is not to be arranged high on the head. Pin the switch to the hair just about where the ends of the front hair were tucked under and fastened.’ (Water Valley Progress, 1903)
How To Make A Pompadour With Short Hair
‘This season’s styles […] can not be prettily arranged if the hair be very long. Short hair, not too thick, does up well.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1899) A woman with short hair ‘will appear to have twice as much [hair], once it is “up,” as her sister with [long] hair’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2d).
Make The Pompadour Over A Hair Rat
‘I once knew a woman whose hair was only three inches long all over her head, owing to the fact that she had burnt it in curling it, and yet when it was properly arranged, it looked as if it might have belonged to one of the famous seven sisters. She waved it first. Then she pinned a long roll around her head and combed the three inches of hair up over it, fastening them in with combs.
Put The Hair Up Into Puffs
When that was done, she had a thin strand of hair left in the middle between the combs. This she divided into two parts, and rolled each part around a small “rat.” She fastened these with hair pins, so completing a most becoming and abundant-looking coiffure. Her hair was too short to use a switch with, so she used rolls instead.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
Or: Use False Hair
‘If you are so unfortunate that your hair is short, use a switch in the following manner: Tuck the ends of your own hair over and under the transformation in the back, forming a nice round effect. Then bury the stem of your switch into this and fasten it securely with a hairpin. Make your Psyche with this just as if it were your own hair. This way is far better than pinning it on already made.’ (San Bernardino Sun, 1909)
26 Back Dressings Of The Edwardian Pompadour
The Back Hairdressing
‘In hairdressing the first wide distinction is between the front and the back dressing of the coiffure. These have to be considered quite separately, as it does not necessarily follow that because the front is arranged in a certain fashion that there is a given style for the back hair which has come to be associated with it by a law of universal custom. Indeed, with most of the various modes of arranging the front hair practically any of the many possible adjustments of the coiffure at the back of the head may be equally appropriately combined.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f)
‘The style of dressing the back hair may vary, but the front is always the same. The back may be very low or very high, or arranged medium’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1899). ‘Your top knot may be transformed from a skimpy straight one to a modish affair of puffs, waves and ringlets.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906) ‘The back hair […] may be made into one or two braids, one or two loose switches or a number of curls, a cluster or variously shaped knots.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘Nowadays there is a great vogue for […] arranging it partly in one way and partly in another, combining twists with curls, and so on. Broadly speaking, however, the preliminary processes include plaits and coils or twists […] Also, the Marteau poufs, which are a series of small rolls made by twisting the hair round the fingers’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f).
Some of the following hairstyles could be worn every day, such as the figure 8 bun and coronet braid, whereas other hairstyles were only suitable for dressy occasions, such as puffs and neck curls. Especially, neck curls were only worn with afternoon and low cut evening gowns. For morning ‘the hair is braided, then coiled around the crown of the head very unpretentiously above a mass of soft waves. For afternoon puffs and curls are permissible, and one can almost run the limit of elaboration.’ (Marin Journal, 1907)
High Or Low Back Hairdressing?
‘As to the question of dressing the hair high or low […] many who dress the hair high in the daytime prefer the low coiffure in the evening, and vice versa.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902) ‘The New York woman appears to be vacillating between the two modes, for one night she is seen at a smart social function with her softly waved pompadour caught back in a knot on the crown of her head. The very next time she elects to wear an artistic compromise – a sort of Mrs. “Pat” Campbell style – neither high nor low, yet low in effect when seen from the front. Then, presto! When again you behold her she has her tresses twisted in the most artistic knot quite low in her neck […]
It must be admitted that more high coiffures than low are noticed, notwithstanding the repeated announcements from reliable sources that this particular dressing has given way to the low one.’ (The Washington Times, 1902) ‘The American women […] look infinitely more attractive with the hair dressed rather high and not puffed out in the back. A semi-high coiffure of moderate size is the one the American woman should choose’ (The San Francisco Call, 1908).
A ‘point against the low coiffure is its untidy appearance, unless great care is shown in its construction, and even then it very soon has a disheveled look, as it must be arranged loosely to have any style. For full evening dress it has decided advantages, provided of course that it is becoming, as it sort of dresses the shoulders, but with high-necked gowns nothing could be more undesirable.’ (The Dupuyer Acantha, 1901) ‘The most striking new feature of the new season is the descent of the coiffure until it reaches a line below the collar requiring either an abundance of natural hair or the erstwhile switch.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1903) ‘Now a word about this low knot. So few women seem to understand that the hair should never extend beyond the line of its growth in the back.’ (The Washington Herald, 1908)
‘In spite of the threatenings and predictions of fashion that the hair should be dressed low on the neck, fair Americans are in no haste to bring the coiffure so low. In this climate the summer solstice brings heat of severe intensity. It is far cooler to have one’s locks dressed high and pinned on top of the head than to wear them coiled at the back of the neck. How hot the last-named fashion can be only those who have tried it are competent to judge. Perhaps winter will bring up the revived chignon, or hair dressed in a “Bath Bun,” low on the back of the neck.’ (The Jersey City News, 1901)
Figure 8 Bun
‘The figure “8” is perhaps the simplest and easiest to do of all, and consequently the most in demand. There is nothing to it but to place the coil in an eight and fasten it down well.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901) ‘The figure eight […] is secured by a large tortoise shell or fancy pin at the top. A clasp is used to keep the coil in position at the neck.’ (Omaha Daily Bee, 1904)
‘The hair may be worn in a flat figure eight on top of the head or […] in a figure eight on the nape of the neck. This figure eight should not extend below the junction of the collar with the gown.’ (The Colfax Chronicle, 1904) ‘Another [way] is to coil the hair loosely in a figure eight at the back of the neck, allowing the lower loop of the eight to hang well over the neck.’ (Bridgeton Pioneer, 1900)
‘The most simple and speedy method of disposing of the foundation tail is by making a neat figure of “8.” […] This style – Pompadour front and figure of “8” – is one which should prove of the greatest use to business girls, as it is chic and pretty, without being in any way over-elaborate.
To make the figure of “8,” take the foundation tail in both hands, and twist it round and round firmly until it resembles a lightly twisted rope. It must not look too tight or strained, but just lightly twisted, with a few inches left loose at the bottom. Hold the tail near the end in the left hand, keeping the end in an upward position. Put the thumb of the right hand on the tail, about four inches from the base, and let the tail drop – as it naturally will – towards the neck. This movement forms a loop, and makes the bottom of the “8.”
Then twist the remainder of the tail as before, and turn it over the beginning of the other coil, making the second loop at the top. Finally, turn the ends under, and the “8” is made. The whole thing is done with two quick movements, and needs three or four pins, properly inserted, to keep it in position.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
Twist the hair ‘in a coil holding the ends of the hair with the right hand, take the left near the centre of the strand, then bring the ends up to the head and turn the hair over to make a loop. Be sure that the ends of the hair come under the loop, then make a second loop with the ends of the hair at the side of the head finishing by pinning the ends under the loops crossing them at the back of the head or curl the ends and pin them down in the center. This is the simplest style of dressing the hair […]
In pinning up the first or top coil let the ends of the hair remain on the left side of the head, and in putting up the bottom coil, bring the ends to the right, and as you finish pinning the ends of the hair, let them cross each other at the back of the head, otherwise you would not have sufficient hair to pin to.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
‘A simple, girlish arrangement at the back is secured by looping the hair in a loose figure eight and pinning it in a neat line from the crown of the head to the nape of the neck. A soft parted effect of a conservative pompadour is the front arrangement.’ (San Francisco Call, 1910)
‘The figure eight is still worn, but not up and down; it is across the back of the head from ear to ear. Care should be taken that it does not protrude at any point from the head. If necessary, it should be taken loop by loop and securely pinned to the head after each loop is flattened out.’ (The Washington Herald, 1908)
‘A big, three roll, or a big winged eight is the most satisfactory arrangement the coiffeurs have yet arrived at. For the morning the roll is unadorned, save for occasional ornamental pins; with the afternoon dress clusters of little corkscrew curls are tucked in behind the ears, to make way, in the evening, before long gainsborough ringlets that hang upon the bare shoulders.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
Braided Figure 8 Bun
‘The braided figure eight, still remains a favorite coiffure arrangement.’ (The Newark Advocate, 1893)
‘Having the sides and front arranged, the next step is to dispose of the long, loose ends. These are braided and fastened into a figure eight, crosswise, low in the neck.
That is all that even an expert can achieve with the natural supply of hair. If this is too small to secure the right effect, then the figure eight may be applied.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1905)
Double Figure 8 Bun
The double figure 8 updo is a variation of the figure 8 bun. ‘The woman who has quantities of hair usually puts it up in one of the arithmetical character novelties in which the single figure is doubled, even trebled. Two figure eights are frequently seen pinned side by side. Sometimes there is one above the other, or it is possible, when the hair is long and somewhat thin, to arrange it in a combination of three of these fancy loops.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
‘The figure eight will retain its vogue and will be worn both in the single twist as well as in the double. It requires a considerable amount of hair to make any kind of a showing in the latter style, and for this very reason it has been adopted by those who are blessed with such a luxuriant supply of hirsute filaments that no other style of hair dressing will dispose of the twists and coils.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
‘If your daughter has abundant hair let her try a moderate pompadour with a double 8. This is very soft and pretty.’ (The Fargo Forum And Daily Republican, 1908) ‘After the pompadour is arranged, coil the ends into a small knot and pin them to the crown. Divide the remaining portion of the hair into two parts and twist each part into the figure eight. The two figure eights come just below the pompadour knot at the crown of the head.’ (The St. Mary Banner, 1901) ‘A charming arrangement has the hair waved softly all around, parted at the side and coiled loosely in two figure eights, held together by jewelled combs.’ (The Olsburg Gazette, 1901)
‘The new French coiffure […] is very elaborate. The hair is first secured with a silken string at the crown of the head, then divided into four parts. The upper and lower pieces are twisted into separate figure 8’s, after which the remaining strands are coiled around the figures with small loops at as frequent intervals as the lengths of the hair will allow.’ (San Jose Herald, 1900)
‘The back hair is arrange in two loose figure eights, that extend horizontally across the head.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906) ‘For a moderately low coiffure, reaching barely to the neck […] the back hair [must be] parted vertically down the middle instead of across the head […] Each half is then twisted up into something like the figure eight. This is done before the pompadour is arranged.’ (The Sun, 1906)
Half Figure 8 Bun Aka French Knot
‘Part the hair crosswise and rough the upper half […] and twist from left to right in a coil, leaving the rough portion inside the coil. This will leave the coil loose and fluffy, with a smooth exterior. Twist into a long coiffure by taking the right hand with the palm up underneath the coil and turn it, leaving the back of the hand up. Pin in place, leaving the French knot.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906) If the hair is long enough, you can make puffs pinned at the sides of the French knot or a bow knot pinned under the French knot.
Low Figure 8 Bun With Basket Puffs
A variation of figure 8 ‘coiffure is given by combining a single eight with loops and puffs. This requires more skill, though, than a double eight, unless artificial puffs are used.’ (The Sun, 1906) ‘At the back of the head put on a basket puff – that is, a combination of a figure eight made by twisting the strands – and two or three small curls at the bottom. For a low coiffure it is fetching, and especially effective for a woman with an oval or long face.’ (Evening Star, 1906)
‘Tie back hair […] a little below the crown. The hair is now ready to be dressed. Divide it into two parts by parting crosswise. First, twist into a roll and make a half figure 8 by holding the ends of the hair with the left hand. Take the first finger of the right hand underneath the roll, making a loop by turning the right hand over with the first finger still in the knot. Then bring the strand around the knot with the left hand, forming a puff. Then pin in place and make a puff with the ends of the hair, making the last puff at the side of the first one […]
This puff is made differently from the former ones, as the remaining ends are long and thin. Hold the ends of the hair with the right hand and wind it around the first three fingers of the left hand, flatly rolling up the balance of the strand to the head and pin in place at the sides of the coiffure.
Twist the remaining portion of the hair to the right tightly, and when doubled back it will form a half figure eight. Leave it long enough so that it comes about two inches below the roots of the lower hair. Pin in place. Twist the balance of the strand tightly to the right and place crosswise of the head into a whole figure eight. Tuck the remaining short ends underneath and pin in place.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
Instead of the figure 8 bun, another simple updo was a simple bun. ‘The “bun” is another style […] that is popular and fetching.’ (San Francisco Call, 1904) ‘If puffs do not appeal to you, a simple coil of the hair on the top is always good and is sanctioned for this season.’ (San Francisco Call, 1910) ‘The ends and the top hair […] are gathered up and twisted into a knot, somewhat loosely, and pinned at the top of the head’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
‘For the American woman I should suggest as a perfect coiffure one that is slightly waved and loose at the sides […] and a small, soft knot like a coronet crowning the head. This will be found becoming to all’ (The San Francisco Call, 1908). ‘The top hair is gathered into a large flat bun, set off by a tall Spanish comb.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
‘The hair is drawn in snugly from the back and put in an entirely flat knot in the middle of the pompadour – so flat that many of the hair dressers only twist the locks once and tuck all the ends away under the pompadour with invisible hairpins, so that there is a completely unbroken line from forehead to nape of neck.’ (The Washington Herald, 1908)
Edwardian Sock Bun
Today’s sock bun was already fashionable in the 1900s: The Edwardian sock bun was either made with two puffs shaped into a circle or the hair was rolled around a rat. The Edwardian sock bun was a perfect hairstyle for women with short or thin hair!
‘Another form of the bun is a perfectly round one with a hole in the middle. To make it the hair is tied tightly in the middle of the back of the head, and then is divided into two parts. One of these is rolled over and over on the fingers, beginning at the extreme end, until a large puff is made near the head. It is then pulled out and pinned fast to form the upper half of the circular bun. The other half is similarly rolled and fastened to the head for the lower half of the bun, the two parts being carefully put together so that their point of joining is concealed.
This form of the bun also can be made with an astonishingly small amount of hair in proportion to the showing made by the completed article. In such a case a circular “rat” is used as foundation, the hair simply being coiled about it.’ (The St. Louis Republic, 1904)
The braided bun was a fashionable variation of the simple bun, especially for women with long or thick hair. ‘If there is too much hair for this [simple bun], then the locks are loosely braided and made into a crown knot.’ (The Washington Herald, 1908) ‘The hair is braided, then coiled around the crown of the head very unpretentiously above a mass of soft waves.’ (Marin Journal, 1907)
‘If she chances to be the fortunate possessor of quantities of hair she frequently parts it in the middle, rolls either side back prettily and softly over her ears and then catches it into the braid. Round and round she twists it, holding the coils firmly with one hand, and putting long bone hairpins where they will do the best work’ (San Francisco Call, 1904)
Hair Bow Bun
If you think the hair bow bun is a modern hairstyle, you’re wrong: The hair bow bun was already popular in the Victorian era – especially the 1860s, 1870s and 1890s – and it became fashionable again in the Edwardian era. The Edwardians knew several ways to make a bow out of their hair: Sometimes the Edwardian hair bow bun was like like a bow, sometimes it looked more like a three-leaf clover.
‘The Louis XIV. bow-knot effect is very pretty’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1900). ‘The bow-knot is a recent introduction, showing sometimes the figure eight spreading wide at the top and narrow in the lower loop.’ (The Seattle Republican, 1902)
‘A novel style of this low hairdressing is called the “lofer’s knot.” It is almost like a bow knot in appearance, a tight coil of hair confining the center and a loose arrangement extending above and below.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
‘Now, take the remainder of the hair, twist into a coil and make a half knot by holding the coil with the right hand a little way from the head, and taking the first finger of the right hand with the palm of the hand up and form a loop by turning the hand over, leaving the next strand around the first finger, then bring the strand over and draw upward through the loop so that it forms a bow knot, and pin down, making the form of a three-leaf clover.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
Form the hair into ‘a ring which is held in the left hand, then with the right hand form another ring which is placed on one side. Repeat this on the other side.’ (Illustrated Book Of Instruction, The Robinson System Of Barber Colleges, 1906)
‘In the middle of this cart wheel of fluffy [pompadour] hair lies a series of bow knots of hair. Just to one side of these a lot of little corkscrew curls are pinned.’ (The Spokane Press, 1906)
‘A quaintly charming and becoming coiffure – which one must be something of a beauty to attempt – is to wear the hair in two very thick plaits, carried across from ear to ear, making exactly the line of an old-fashioned nightcap, such as one sees on old village women.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902) The coronet coiffure was also called Dutch braid, Roman braid and Naomi coiffure in the Edwardian era.
‘The coronet or coronal coiffure […] is very becoming to some women. It bears a relation to the Dutch braids of earlier years, but stands up more heavily at the top of the head, in coronet fashion, and really demands long, thick hair or the aid of false hair.’ (The Sun, 1905)
‘The braided coiffure is markedly in evidence this season, and most fashionable among these is that termed the coronet. Here the back of the head shows the hair softly arranged, with just the suggestion of a wave, parted off into two heavy braids, which are drawn up on eitherside back of the ears and ending under the soft low pompadour, the ends of the braids showing in coronet fashion from the front. A fanciful comb, often jeweled, is set where the braids end.’ (San Francisco Call, 1905)
‘Coronet effects are much in vogue and these require a soft braid encircling the hair.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906) ‘The braid suits some faces better worn close to the forehead, others find it, more becoming to set the coronet further back. There are some to whom the upright coronet is not to be recommended at all; for instance, women with a very high brow. In such cases lay the braid almost flat, giving it a wreathlike rather than a coronet effect. Indeed, one name for this style of coiffure is the wreath. […] Strictly speaking, the coronet coiffure is not so long in the back as the wreath model, nor quite as wide, and it stands higher in front.’ (The Tyro Daily Life, 1905)
‘The coronet braid is sometimes made of the wearer’s own hair when it is long and thick, and when it is not switches are braided and pinned on. The hair softly parted over the forehead in the center looks especially well when surmounted by the coronet braid; but the braid is also worn with the soft pompadour and in some cases the central portion of the pompadour is drawn up over it.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)
‘The Roman or coronet braids are also smart for either high or low coiffures. The Roman braid is attractive to many if coiled around the top of the head, either in a circle or outlining the scalp […] More elaborate than this [coronet] braid is the coronet style that is really a combination of two Roman plaits joined either at the top of the head or at the neck. They can be worn either high or low, and are suitable with a pointed or broken pompadour.’ (Evening Star, 1906)
‘The coronet braid […] is where the woman with a heavy suite of hair is to be envied, as if this style is chosen, it almost always requires a switch or two, unless the natural hair is unusually long or thick. To “do” this style of coiffure, the pompadour or front hair is arranged separately, the back hair being braided in two wide braids, which are crossed in the back and drawn around the sided of the head, being pinned under the pompadour, the ends being slipped under the braids at the top.’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1906)
‘The Coronet plait consists of two pieces, one for the front, the other for the back; the sides and centre are nicely puffed to give an evenness to the whole.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
‘Any woman whose features come anywhere near being regular has gone in for the new braided coiffure just for a change, and if she doesn’t wear it on the street, then she keeps it for her house toilettes. When completed the coiffure looks the essence of simplicity. It is nothing more than the drawing of the hair to the nape of the neck very loosely and the twisting of a braid all around the head. That’s what it looks like, but when you come to do it you find it is far more difficult to manage […]
The braid that encircles the head like a laurel wreath or crown is made to fit the wearer. Its size depends on the head size, and it is a loose, fat braid of glossy hair […] To some women the braid is more becoming when low and rather thin, while others find broad, high ones more to their liking. A few even go in for two circles of rather thin braids, pushed down low on the forehead and brought close to the ears, while the opposite type find it more becoming to wear a diadem of smaller circumference raised higher on the head.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1905)
‘The Naomi coiffure is an arrangement of a similar braid on top of the head instead of at the back.’ (The New York Tribune, 1900) ‘There is likewise the Naomi coiffure, in which a length of abundant hair is not closely but softly braided and coiled round and round the crown of the head like a fluffy aureole’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1900).
Coronet Braid With Puffs
‘A second model, which is meeting with immense success, includes a modified coronet. To begin with, the hair is arranged in a loose, curly, wavy puff all around the head. In other words, it must puff out slightly at the sides, also at the back, say for two inches above the nape of the neck. It must not be drawn smoothly back and up. In front the hair must lie softly on and above the forehead.
The average woman has only enough hair to arrange the center of this coiffure, which is composed of a few puffs or a double eight. Surrounding these is a thick braid, a Dutch braid we call it, which, with few exceptions, is pinned on and reaches nearly to the ears, to within an inch or two of the edge of the forehead, and about the same distance from the nape of the neck. The soft border of fluffy hair takes away the hard effect which otherwise would result.
According to individual preference, this braid at the front is raised or lowered. To get the rear coronet effect it must stand on edge, so to speak, and the space immediately behind be filled in with puffs of hair. […]
Women who have a generous supply of hair can easily make the wreath with their own braids, filling in the center with puffs or a couple of twisted knots. To do this the hair must be divided and made into two braids. By far the best way, however, is to use the natural hair in a double eight and make the wreath of a narrow braid which is pinned on. […] the coronet coiffure is softened and beautified with a filling of puffs or bow knots, in some designs the braid extending only half way around, and then changing into softer loops, which merge into the puffs in the center.’ (The Tyro Daily Life, 1905)
The coronet braid ‘set off with a bunch of three or four curls on one side gives a “chic” appearance that is extremely becoming’ (Evening Star, 1906). ‘The one particular mode of hairdressing in vogue at the present time is known as the coronet braid. With this a Pompadour or part may be worn. The back hair is carried to the neck and plaited, the braid is brought round the head and secured at the nape of the neck.
When ends are sufficiently long they are done in three puffs and held by long pins; otherwise a false piece is pinned to the end of the braid. Or if the hair is not long enough to extend around the head after it has been braided, it may be rolled at the back of the neck and the false braid supplied. […] The coronet is brought sometimes only halfway round the head while a series of puffs are used on the side when the braid does not appear.’ (The Designer, 1905)
‘The Clytle coiffure is much liked for the summer, showing a few airy curls bound with a soft braid of hair in the center of the head or at the nape of the neck, as proves most becoming.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1900) ‘A new way of dressing the hair which promises to be becoming to women is to have it waved and drawn up to the crown of the head loosely, the ends folded over in puffs and this made the center of a coronet of false puffs. The puffs are laid on to surround this, but not to look like a crown roast […] a braid is first fastened on. This supplies a firm foundation for the other pieces, while the ends are separated into small puffs, are made a part of the coronet.’ (San Francisco Call, 1908)
Rope Braid Aka Torsade
‘The “rope twist” is usually worn high and the hair should be waved to produce the best effect. After it is caught up on the head it is separated into two strands, which are then loosely twisted together and coiled once or twice. This coiffure is very attractive and not at all difficult to arrange if the hair is fluffy.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
‘A torsade consists of a switch of hair divided evenly in two parts. These are each twisted separately, and are then twisted again around and around each other. A made-up torsade for supplementing the natural hair will sometimes have curled points, which are left loose and give a charming finish to the coiffure.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f)
The back hair is ‘tied nearly at the nape of the neck. If a woman is plentifully supplied with tresses it is divided in two parts, the lower a little heavier than the upper, which is coiled first. The lower portion is then divided in two and twisted together as a child twists a bit of string she wishes to strengthen. This gives a softer appearance than a braid and stays in place much better than a single coil.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
Louis XVI. Aka Cadogan Style
This hairstyle is inspired by 18th century men’s hairstyles and is simply a long braid looped back on itself and pinned down at the nape of the neck. The Cadogan hairstyle was only worn by young girls, usually with a silk bow at the nape of the neck.
‘Girls do their hair very often in a catogan.’ (The Evening Star, 1902) ‘Coiffures for quite young girls are especially charming. A smallish pompadour or parting at the front of the head, and a broad looped braid at the back, is the arrangement most seen.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1905) ‘Do not wear your hair high if you are but 13 […] I would wear it, I think, in a cadogan braid’ (The Wichita Eagle, 1895).
‘The back hair is braided at the nape of the neck, then looped and tied with a broad ribbon in a very large bow.’ (Evening Star, 1907) The ‘Louis XVI. style, a mode which is predicted as very good for this spring and summer, […] is a modified copy of the style worn by the cavaliers of Louis’ gay court. The hair is loosely braided, then looped low on the neck and turned up in the manner of the catagon of the past.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘Divide the front and back hair to make a pompadour, held in place by a bowknot of satin ribbon; the back part then caught just in the centre and tied with a piece of tape; the end again braided and the braid doubled back and caught into the same piece of tape with a ribbon tied over it in a pretty bow.’ (The Evening Standard, 1910)
‘The hair, whether hat be worn or not, is important to the success of the girl graduate’s appearance. The latest fashion call for a softly wavy pompadour […] and the back hair dressed in a simple Cadogan braid, looped and tied with a smart ribbon bow that will match the other dress accessories. A hair net is then deftly pinned into place, the front and back ones separately, so that those annoying little stray locks are kept in place without being much too flattened.’ (The Jersey City News, 1905)
Cadogan Braid Updo
Because the low cadogan braid was only for young girls, Edwardian women wore a variation of the Cadogan style: the looped braid was pinned to the back of the head and sometimes decorated with a silk bow.
‘Parisian shop girls are wearing a new coiffure that ‘consists of a small catogan taking in a part of the nape hair and tied with a narrow piece of ribbon so as to allow of making a few puffs.
This little catogan is carried upward, the bow tying the catogan is fixed about the middle of the head, and the remainder of the back hair is tied and dressed in three rouleaux, which are placed across and are made more or less supple, more or less smooth, more or less straight and thick, according to the thickness and shade of the hair; sometimes another low or new art comb is placed over the chignon.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
‘The remainder of the hair is braided in the loosest kind of a flat plait and this is then turned up and spread over the back of the head with the ends coming up to cover those left from the pompadour.
Medium-sized tortoise shell pins are used to fasten down the loops of the braid and at the left side, nestling into the neck, there is a quaint little curl unconfined except for a knot of black taffeta ribbon that spreads beneath the turned up part of the coiffure. Another bow of the black ribbon is coquettishly fastened at the right side of the top, where the pompadour ends are tucked away from view.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
Double Braid Updo
‘Another evidence of the adoption of a lower coiffure is seen in a new double braid which is laid on the head lengthwise. While this dressing is considered a high one, according to the present height of the fashionable dressing, it is at the same time a low one, extending as it does from the top of the head to the neck. The plaits are laid side by side with the ends turned in at the bottom, and the side part is held to the hair by two exquisitely polished steel pins.’ (San Francisco Call, 1908)
‘The Catogan braid also is seen. This old-fashioned coiffure is made by tying the hair just below the crown and forming two braids that are looped up to the tying and fastened there. This leaves four lines of braided hair which are flattened to the head and caught by pins, and finished with a fancy comb. If the loops of the hair extend beyond the nape of the neck, so much the more fashionable is the wearer. The front of the hair should be parted off and waved and fastened under the knot’ (The Olsburg Gazette, 1901).
Italian Peasant Woman Braid Updo
‘The compact, lustrous immigrant braid, worn like Swiss, Italian and Oriental women, exactly at the back of the head, is popular with many fashionable women. It is severe and classic in effect, and goes well either with a Greek evening toilet, or an English tailor costume.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1900)
‘The Italian braid is assuming a certain vogue among women who have fine chevelures and well shaped heads. The front hair may be drawn softly back with the back, and all braided smoothly and loosely, then coiled simply from crown to nape. Or the front may be divided and put back over a woven puff in divided pompadour fashion, then braided in with the back or fastened under the braid. The style is severe, but becoming to some types.’ (The New York Tribune, 1900)
The Psyche Knot
The Psyche knot became fashionable in the late Edwardian era and the 1910s. ‘The sudden vogue of all things Grecian gave us the Grecian knot and fillet bound hair […] Particularly is it becoming to youthful faces and small, well-shaped heads. […] The hair is drawn softly back to the crown of the head, and there a large, soft knot is formed. At the sides, just over the ears, the hair is well puffed out, sometimes even small pads are here introduced, but the long line must be from forehead to back of head, not from ear to ear. Many hats turned out this year by fashionable milliners demand […] hair puffed out both at back and sides to give even a hint of the wearer’s coiffure.’ (The Detroit Times, 1908)
‘It requires a really classical, not to say beautiful, face to dress the hair in […] the Psyche knot – a pretty style for the fair girl graduate when she does not wear her mortar board and Oxford gown’ (San Francisco Call, 1902). ‘The Psyche knot was not exactly suited to a turned-up nose.’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1903)
‘For the psyche knot coiffure the hair is parted into four sections [front, left, right and back section] […] and waved. The front and side sections are gathered at the top of the head, pompadour fashion […] but the back hair is divided into two strands which are combed out and rolled over the finger into two long curls. These are gathered into a cluster knot, pulling the centre or curl outward. The distance this part of the curl is pulled outward depends, of course, on the amount of hair to be worked with, or on the taste and desire of the patron. […] A back comb is used and celluloid pins and hairpins to fix the whole into place. The whole coiffure is then gone over with deft touches of the comb to give it neatness and evenness.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
To make a Psyche knot ‘the structure must be softly. Nothing is more uncomprompising homely than a hard lump of hair projecting from the back of the head. Having brushed the locks until they are smooth, all are gathered into the hand, twisted softly, turned up and pinned snugly to the hair. Unless this is done correctly, the pompadour will be pulled out of shape – an accident that must be guarded against. Then the remainder of the tresses are twisted down a little and brought down toward the neck, a sharp upward turn finally being given. At each side of this turn a hairpin is placed. The effect, if the hair has been well handled, is a soft, puffy projection, with the lower part tight and shapely to the head.
There is still a long strand of hair to be disposed of, and this is necessary for the final rounding of the knot. The hair is brought around over the beginning of the head, flat against the head, and pinned securely, always taking pains to have the tresses soft between the pins. Combs are then placed each side of the knot, and a big shell barrette below.’ (The Paducah Evening Sun, 1908)
‘For the psyche knot the back hair is divided into two strands horizontally, the upper one is tied close to the head with a piece of round hat rubber, after which it is brushed and made into a lengthwise puff. This puff is quite a work of art, for it is not twisted in the ordinary way, as one would naturally suppose, but rolled from the end upward just as one would roll one of the small Dolly Varden puffs. […] The puff is rolled upward over the fingers or over a smooth, round stick, and pinned in place with the long wire pins […] together with a generous supply of the smaller pins. The lower portion of the back hair is finally divided into two strands, twisted, and wrapped around the knot.’ (The Washington Times, 1909)
‘Sometimes it is better, in making the Greek knot, to untie the back portion after the sides are adjusted, and draw all three portions together to make the twist. […] The Greek knot is sometimes worn with the classic fillet […] It is always necessary to study the profile and regulate the position of the knot accordingly, as the entire success of the coiffure hinges upon this.’ (The Delineator, 1908)
‘When the hair is too scanty to make much of a display a few false curls or puffs are pinned over the knot to make it stand out at the proper Psyche angle. […]The present angle of the knot – just below the crown of the head, yet not in the neck […] is the only truly becoming one for the American woman. The dressy coiffure is more elaborate than the street and afternoon arrangements. […] Its elaborateness consists of a more imposing array of puffs and curls at the back of the head in a Greek style’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1908). ‘For evening and dressy occasions a roff of puffs is arranged round the Psyche knot and gives as elaborate an effect as one could wish.’ (San Bernardino Sun, 1909)
The Psyche knot ‘stands out from the back of the head. A softly arranged, modified Psyche is the one in vogue, and this is far removed from the door knob knot which many women insist upon regarding as the proper version of it. A low, soft pompadour is often combined with this Greek knot, but it is with the parted hair that it is at its best.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909) ‘Another of the new styles, which is a very old style revived, is the psyche knot. We have often seen this on the Greek vases, where it appears in perfect harmony with the clear cut and regular Greek profile. On precisely the right type of woman and with the coiffure well built – for it is a work of art not to be attempted by amateurs – the psyche knot has a peculiar charm of its own. But when it is not successful its failure is conspicuous.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)
The Chignon Aka English Bun
The Edwardian chignon – also known as English bun – has no hole in the middle in contrast to the simple bun.
‘Perhaps for the simplest back dressing for the hair, which may be called generally popular is the loose round roll ending in two tiny curls at the back of the head. A wide comb supports the wave and short locks. Sometimes by way of variety the comb will be instead lengthwise and a curl will fall on either side.’ (The Designer, 1905) There is ‘a revival period for many forms of low hair dressing, with almost a tendency to the chignon effect of our grandmothers’ day.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1903) ‘Just now young girls […] just back from a trip abroad are wearing the English bun – a round wad of hair built over a cushion of some sort which completely covers the nape of the neck’ (Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 1904).
‘America has been invaded by the bun. […] The bun, pure and simple, following the British bun in form and construction, rests low upon the neck and is neatly rotund. […] The English bun has no hole in the middle. It is uncompromisingly true to the bun idea. In making it the hair is divided horizontally across the back. The upper part is again divided, but longitudinally this time, the two parts being coiled about each other to form a compact twist or knot. This is the foundation for the bun and does not show at all when the operation is complete.
The lower portion of the hair is then taken straight up and arranged so as to cover the twist, the ends being tucked in deftly and the entire mass being held carefully in place until the hair can be fastened with hairpins. It is impossible to have too many hairpins. They are needed to encircle the bun and invisible ones are used to prevent the parting of the strands across the surface of the bun. Unless the hair is very even in length a net is almost indispensable. Although the bun is such a massive structure, a great deal of hair is not necessary to build it. The center may be a “rat,” as large as one pleases, so long as there is enough hair to cover it.’ (The St. Louis Republic, 1904)
‘If a rather more elaborate style is desired by the girl with short hair, and also as a variation from curls. I can recommend a waved chignon, with a “torsade coil” [rope braid] tied round it. To make this, tie the foundation tail low down – about an inch from the neck – and fix an oval-shaped pad, with a hole near one end, on the back of the head, by drawing the tail through the hole and pinning the pad securely to the hair.
Next put the foundation tail on four or five pins, to wave it, or, if a plain chignon is desired, this waving may be omitted. Having prepared the hair, French comb it on the side nearest the pad, and draw it upwards towards the crown of the head, spreading it over the pad, and tucking the ends under, before pinning it all round.
The chignon is thus made, the pad being entirely covered with the exception of a small piece which shows below the hole, between the bottom of the chignon and the neck. This may be covered by leaving a tiny fringe of hair hanging below the foundation, which is now French combed, twisted under, and pinned to the pad, or, better still, by a swathe or coil of hair tied right round the chignon.
A torsade coil is a change from a ribbonlike swathe or a plait. It is made from an ordinary switch or plait, which is divided into two strands, and twisted lightly over and over till it forms a double coil. This is fixed round the chignon, resting against the Pompadour front; and it should start just above one ear, being brought round to the same place, where the ends are crossed and slipped under.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
‘The old-time French twist is also seen on very well-groomed heads.’ (Sacramento Union, 1906) ‘She wore it wrapped about her head and finally coiled into a French twist on the top, the effect closely resembling an old Roman helmet. This was the design, not chance, and her well-modeled features were the sort to stand the severe coiffure’ (Woman Ad Decoration, 1917)
‘The present tendency of the general outline and the frequent recurrence of small bunches of side curls and French puffs would indicate the return, at no distant date, of the quaint modes of hairdressing that prevailed during the early Victorian days.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1906)
‘Some young women are affecting the fashion of wearing no ornament at all in the hair and combing all the hair in an immense flat French twist.’ (Stockton Independent, 1907) ‘A rather daring coiffure is this combination of a French twist at the back with the hair on the top of the head worn short and slightly curled.’ (Good Housekeeping, 1919)
Loose Braid Updo
This low braided updo is similar to the Cadogan braid updo but the braid is loosely braided so that the braid looks more like puffs or loops than a braid. Today this updo would probably be called a messy braid updo!
‘It is a pretty and very youthful way of dressing the hair to plait the remaining section in a loose and broad braid. The strands of the braid should be so loose that they seem more like loops than braids, and this entire portion of the hair should be drawn up and pinned to the back of the hair.
A woman who possesses thick, short hair will find this fashion well suited to the disposing of her short locks.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902) The back hair is ‘turned up in a catogan in that careless manner that is so hard to achieve without a general air of untidyness.’ (The Topeka Daily Herald, 1902)
‘For the low coiffure the hair is usually divided in the back into three parts and the two side divisions are rolled backward behind the ears somewhat in the fashion of two French twists, while the central part forms the loose coil or braid which fills the space between the two rolls and droops low upon the neck.
The roll gives becoming fluffiness behind the ears, for few heads can stand a low coiffure for which the hair is drawn smoothly from brow to nape.
The front hair for this low coiffure may either be drawn back in a full soft pompadour or be parted and brushed sideways until it meets the rolls. The latter is more practical for the woman with little hair, for the coil, and even the rolls if necessary, may be supplemented by false hair but a rat is seldom successful in a pompadour arranged in combination with a low coil of braid.’ (The Sun, 1905)
In the 1880s, actress Lillie Langtry wore a simple bun at the nape of the neck. In the Edwardian era, there was a revival of the Langtry knot. The Edwardian Langtry knot, however, was way more elaborate than Lillie Langtry’s hairstyle and the bun was now worn even lower. Like most Edwardian low hairstyles, it was an elaborate hairstyle for dressy occasions.
‘The Langtry knot is once more enjoying a vogue. This involves the parting of the hair above the forehead, back to the crown of the head, and softly waving it on either side. The hair is then combed straight back, twisted firmly and coiled into three knots. The center knot comes directly on the nape of the neck, and the lower one should not extend more than half an inch below the bottom of the collar.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1904)
‘There are some women who find it desirable to suggest breadth in the manner of wearing their hair, and so they choose to dispense entirely with the popular figure eight, using instead a series of loops and puffs, which extend across the nape of the neck in an up and down arrangement. When not exaggerated, this is a very attractive style, but, of course, only to slender heads.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
‘The hair can be dressed in puffs after it is crimped instead of coils, which is done by dividing the hair in four or five strands, parting it crosswise in as many strands as you want puffs. Comb the back strand out straight […] Hold the ends of the hair in the left hand between the thumb and the finger. Place the forefinger of the right hand about an inch from the left and then bring the end of the hair over the right finger and roll the strand up by bringing one finger over the other inside of the little loop you have formed. When rolled to the head, hold it there in a puff with the forefinger of the left hand and spread it with the right hand, pinning the side of the puff close to the head.
Then remove the finger of the left hand and pin that side the same, then so on with the next one until all the puffs are made, one after the other. To avoid having the puffs drop away from each other, put an invisible hairpin in the center of the puff, pinning them together.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
The ‘tail of hair if long and full enough is divided into two or three or more strands and each is made into a puff by rolling loosely over the index fingers, making finger puffs. Each puff so made is pinned into place, composing a neat cluster at the crown of the head. Use invisible pins for this purpose, bending them upon themselves to hold the hair more firmly, as single pins do not hold. Pins of angle form especially suitable for this purpose can now be found on sale almost everywhere.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
The new puffs ‘have more the appearance of large, loose braids or figure eights doubled and slightly irregular. This effect is achieved by twisting the puffs at various angles from the main stem and by pulling them out a little, making them seem more fluffy. Eight or ten puffs are considered sufficient […] and they may be adjusted as one likes, so long as they do not describe a conventional semicircle.’ (San Francisco Call, 1908)
A new low puff coiffure arrived from Paris: ‘A line of closely curled puffs extends from the top of her head backward until the neck is reached, as many as a dozen puffs being in the row. […] the puff coiffure […] is one of the most perilous and perishable of all styles, and women who insist on being up to date will probably find that buying their puffs ready made and pinning them on will be the safest arrangement.’ (The Indianapolis Journal, 1902) ‘Puffs mess most easily of all. They are lovely if neat and well done, but they hardly will stand the long day without being taken down or getting frazzled.’ (Chicago Tribune, 1907)
‘The “lovers’ knot” makes a charming effect for a pretty neck. The wavy hair forms three puffs, with curls at one side […] Especially for matrons is the “transformation coiffure,” also a new French conceit. The front is wavy, with small finger puffs at the top.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
One low coiffure ‘consists of six or eight puffs or rolls of uniform size grouped in a cluster at the back. […] Another style of low hair dressing […] consists of one large central roll surrounded by eight or ten smaller rolls. […] There are some faces to which any of the low styles of hair arrangement are not becoming and for these the hair dressers have created a new high coiffure, which consists of a large central puff in front, surrounded on three sides by a series of smaller puffs, six or eight in number, all arranged on the crown of the head.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909) ‘The ascending coiffure is a style suited to many faces. No false rolls are required, for the waved hair is drawn up in soft lines, and a mound of loose puffs and curls is placed on the top of the head.’ (San Francisco Call, 1910)
‘The beauty will wear a neck curl. This will be in the shape of a big loose curl about twice as long as your longest finger. She will do it up at night over a piece of paper and in the morning she will shake it out and attach it to her coiffure.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1905) A hairstyle with neck curls was often called “Colonial hairstyle” in the Edwardian era.
‘Where woman’s coiffure is concerned the curl is still queen. […] The curl seems to adapt itself to the individuality of every owner. It is sweet and girlish for the debutante, and, in another form, adds dignity to the matron. It is stately, coy, artistic or conventional, as each case demands.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902) ‘Puffs and curls […] are decidedly for the dress coiffure’ (Chicago Tribune, 1907).
‘Peggy O’Neal has successfully outrivaled the only, the great, the one Janice Meredith [a 1900 play set in colonial America] […] Three short years ago everything and everybody was simply overrun with the Janice Meredith craze, and in a measure Mary Mannering [the leading actress] was responsible for it. […] But the day of Janice is past! […] And now it is: Hurrah! Long live the fascinating Peggy O’Neal [aka Peggy Eaton – she was the subject of the 1829-31 petticoat affair]! […]
Her pompadour, billowy and fluffy, was as different from the one worn by the kittenish, coy Janice as day is from night. […] First the great pompadour is put up with a wave over one eye and the stray wispe of hair are allowed to fly in the breeze as they please. There’s nothing stiff about it. The back, for it is a low fashion of wearing the hair […] is gathered at the nape of the neck and either arranged in tiny puffs or if there is enough hair in a figure eight’. Two false curls ‘one considerably longer than the other, are tucked cunningly in at the right length and are fastened securely with a number of long hairpins’. Decorate the Peggy O’Neal hairstyle with a rose cluster or four or five roses with leaves. (San Francisco Call, 1903)
‘The Queen Alexandra coiffure is only a week old. […] her Majesty wore her hair with two curls hanging down her neck. The fashion of the dangling curls […] adds grace […] and is altogether admirable. Years ago the Queen wore her curls, but discarded them when they were no longer the world’s way; now she has taken to them again, but they hang both on one side close together.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902) ‘At present two rather short curls caught together at the left side just back of the ear are more modish than the commoner single ringlet.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
‘The clever French woman has many ways of disposing of those short, stray hairs at the nape of the neck, which often stand out when the hair is dressed at the altitude and convert the most demure gentlewoman into a veritable Madge Wildfire in appearance. They may be curled very closely to the neck, turning the ends in. This is a difficult matter to accomplish without assistance. Another simple way of disposing of them is to curl the strands of hair at the neck; this causes the short hairs to cling to the others when brushed up and gives a neat, compact appearance to the entire coiffure.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘The [hair] ends may be divided and curled into a number of small curls, which may be artistically pinned into place so that they fall down upon the back of the head, where they are fixed with small hairpins’ (Beauty Culture, 1911).
‘One of the pretty styles in vogue for young girls and youthful matrons is the Colonial, with the hair loosely drawn back from the face, coiled low on the head and with curls artistically falling over the shoulder. This coiffure is, however, suited only to evening dress.’ (McCall’s Magazine, 1910)
Turban Coiffure – Swathe & Curls
Aside from the Psyche knot, variations of the swirl or turban coiffure were the most popular hairstyle in the 1910s. The turban coiffure was a conical hairstyle – usually arranged over a beehive wire frame: it consisted of curls or puffs with a swathe of hair wrapped around it. Variations of the turban coiffure were known as Gainsborough style, Recamier coiffure and beehive coiffure.
‘The Gainsborough style requires forty-‘leven curls. A soft twist of hair encircles the head, after the manner of the turban braid. The crown of the head is then filled in with a mass of loose curls, with several of them escaping from under the twist in the back to lie on the nape of the neck.
For the young face […] the Recamier mode is very winsome. The hair is usually parted and allowed to fall in apparently careless curls over the ears. A tumble of curls is arranged at the top of the head and a narrow band of velvet or ribbon holds them in place. One of the simpler effects is produced by covering the beehive frame […] with a wide thick braid pulled out so that the sides of it completely cover the frame.’ (San Francisco Call, 1910)
‘Most of the styles in hairdressing are revivals of old fashions, but the swathe really is a complete novelty. […] It is merely a switch, or tail, of hair taken and laid flat against the head, often bound around it as though it were a ribbon.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2f)
Hair Accessories For The Edwardian Pompadour
‘The latest fancy seems to be to use wire pins, not because they are more comfortable but because they are not half as conspicuous. Either one extreme or the other – pins that can be seen half a block away or those that cannot be found with a microscope.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901) Hairpins ‘should be used sparingly, for they […] irritate the sensitive nerves of the scalp.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1903)
‘A wire pin [is] used to support braids and plaits of hair, or maintain the head-dress, of whatever description, in its proper position. The simplest kind is made of wire bent in the form of a letter U, but hairpins are made also of ivory, bone, tortoise-shell, wood and metal, and of various shapes, often with ornamented heads or tops.’ (A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods, 1892) ‘The shell hairpins with the ball top are used, but they are not in as good a style as those with the open-arched tops. If you would be stylish, however, you must wear at least six of them’ (The Fairmont West Virginian, 1909). ‘Tortoiseshell or horn pins […] can be bought quite inexpensively at any good hairdresser’s.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
‘For day wear tortoise is most appropriate, but there is no limit to the elegance that is crowded into combs and pins for evening use.’ (Marin Journal, 1907) ‘Occasionally two large curved shell pins are fastened at the crown of the head’ (The Humboldt Times, 1904).
‘Jet, tortoise shell and gun metal pins are most commonly seen, although gold and silver pins or more or less elaborate design are shown in the shops. One pin alone is rarely worn; three at least are considered necessary to complete the coiffure.’ (Omaha Daily Bee, 1904) ‘A Chicago woman lost a hairpin worth $100.000.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1908)
‘Those fantastic ball hatpins, that so quickly won their way to the Parisian heart, seem to become more and more necessary with […] the increased size and fluffiness of coiffures […] At least eight are now required – three on each side, used to hold the pompadour loosely in place, and two or three more to do their regular hatpin duty. In all, it creates a rather barbaric effect, but, of course, charming, since it is French […] their big ball heads preventing their breaking through the beautifully waved pompadour. […]
You should select your pins with a thought of matching your hair – tortoise shell for dark hair and amber for blondes – otherwise the effect is rather startling, as if decoration were sought. Then a very useful and legitimate fashion becomes loud and in poor taste. If you care to have them so, your hatpins may be in real shell and gold at the rate of $50 a set. Fortunately, however, this is not necessary, since they are made in excellent imitation (which has also the merit of being much lighter in weight than the real) for about one-twelth the cost.’ (Omaha Daily Bee, 1906)
If you’re wondering if bobby pins were used: I’ve never seen bobby pins in advertisements from the Edwardian era; they probably weren’t invented until the 1920s. So if you want to make a historically accurate pompadour Gibson girl hairstyle, don’t use bobby pins. The most common hairpins in the Edwardian era were small U-shaped wire hairpins and large U-shaped hairpins made of natural materials, such as tortoise shell, bone, horn and ivory, or non-natural materials, such as celluloid. Both types of hairpins are still sold today: You can find small U-shaped wire hairpins almost everywhere, while large U-shaped hairpins made of plastic or real horn are a bit more difficult to find.
Real horn hairpins are expensive but worth the money because they secure the hair so well that one or two horn hairpin are usually enough to hold the figure 8 bun in place. On the other hand, plastic hairpins slip out of the hair really easily. And of course the trade of tortoiseshell and ivory is banned today, but tortoiseshell was already often an imitation of stained horn in the Edwardian era: ‘To stain horn in imitation of tortoise-shell. Mix an equal quantity of quicklime and red lead with strong soap lees, lay it on the horn with a small brush, in imitation of the mottle of tortoise-shell; when dry, repeat it two or three times.’ (Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, 1872)
‘Combs and many of them. This seems to be the edict. […] Every coil of hair seems to demand a peculiar little comb to hold it in place. Thus the combs are practically taking the place of hair pins, and it is well, for too many pins are a source of much injury to the hair.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘Combs are still as important as ever in arranging the coiffure; in fact, it may be said that tortoise shell combs, both side and back, have come to stay. Women of all stations wear them, though they differ in quality and ornamentation […] The two side pieces are rather long and curved […]
Whether the coiffure is high or low, a set of three is used, the only difference being that in the former case the back comb is thrust low across the head, while with the latter style this comb is placed at the crown of the head, and is used to hold the pompadour roll in place. […] The idea of the combs is that they shall hold the hair in place, and the pompadour may be pushed forward and caught in this position by means of them, but certainly they should not be so large as to weigh it down.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
‘For morning wear three combs are used for decoration – a large one at the back, just at the top of the long coil and a medium-sized one holding each of the rolls in place. The newest combs are real shell or amber without any gold or silver trimmings or a jewel of any sort, dark shell for dark hair and amber for light, and occasionally jet for very black hair. Never is there a contrast between hair and combs.’ (The Washington Times, 1904) ‘The plain amber-colored combs and pins for the blonde girl, and those in dark shell for the brunette, are entirely correct this winter. The combs are smarter when made with plain tops, without knobs or other decorations.’ (Evening Star, 1907)
‘All sorts of fancy combs are worn. Those giving a coronet effect are the smartest’ (San Bernardino Sun, 1909). ‘The high Pompadour [is] pushed forward by the comb that half encircles the head.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1899) ‘Tortoise shell combs to hold the knot of hair in place are invaluable, and those with a curve are, of course, the best.’ (Evening Star, 1899)
‘The multiplicity of combs in the hair remains. Four or five are worn with apparent ease by most women. They cannot manage three with the hair in the upturned plait; but those who wear the hair high simply stud the head with shell combs. […] Combs are always good style and for morning wear should be adopted exclusively. The pure amber is the most valuable, then comes the mottled, or tortoise shell and amber combined, and lastly the plain shell.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
Fancy Side Combs & Barrettes
‘No one needs to fear an excess of decoration for the coiffure; three or four side combs and as many fancy pins are only a beginning toward complete stylish hairdressing.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902) Side combs ‘are of amber, shell and solid gold filagree. Many times these are set with turquoise, corals or smoked pearls, or they are ornamented with a tiny vine in gold or silver. Each comb in the set shows the same pretty pattern.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘If side combs are not used then one handsome back comb is considered necessary. This should be of plain polished ruby shell for daytime and of any preferred jewels for evening. […] Jeweled hair ornaments, by the way, are in higher favor than ever, and Parisian houses are sending over some exquisite novelties in which emeralds, turquoises, jade corals and brilliants vie with each other in producing alluring effects and adding to the general charms of the fair sex.’ (The Humboldt Times, 1904)
‘Combs are hidden as much as possible, but the large-headed hairpins and the immense barette fill up the surface of the head. […] The barette is the thing these days, it is five inches long and holds up the huge knot at the back of the head. When the hair is on nothing shows but this barette.’ (The Fairmont West Virginian, 1909)
‘An innovation has been made in side and back combs, which are made with ball point grip teeth; hence they cannot fall out. Nor, as might be feared, will they scratch or tear the hair. Moreover the teeth are wider apart than in the ordinary comb, to give that wavy effect to the hair so devoutly coveted. This comes in shell and amber and can be purchased at 25 cents.’ (The Jersey City News, 1903)
‘Combs, costing all the way from $10 to $50, were shown, and the smallest of them was scarcely less than 3×4 inches whether square or octagonal or pointed or of irregular shape. There were Empire combs decorated with gilt and precious stones; Spanish combs, the shell delicately worked in an open design almost as fine as lace and many fine examples of plain shell bordered at the top with raised beads of carved shell in light and dark shades, or thick slats of shell terminating in large round knobs, or round bars of shell interwoven and separating at the top into oblong balls. […]
They are not meant to be worn sedately. Like some of the new hats, they must be put on crooked to get the desired effect. Instead of being poised squarely at the back of the head, the new combs are stuck in at any angle which departs from the perpendicular and usually
at one side of the head. […] One of my patrons, recently back from Europe, has a shell comb, the top about 3 1/2 inches deep and 4 inches wide, studded with gems which cost $500, and there are varieties which cost more’ (The Sun, 1906).
‘The barette of the winter are gorgeous and enormous affairs […] in amber, tortoise shell, metal and jet […] For everyday use the amber and tortoise shell are most seen. The usual form of the big barettes is a plain oblong shield. Some of the other varieties show irregular edges and carved, inlaid or jeweled incrusted surfaces. One of the best liked models has the shield cut in an intricate all over openwork design. Many of the shell barettes are inlaid with silver or gilt or incrusted with a design in brilliants.’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1908)
‘You needn’t be afraid to wear the celluloid ornaments, now modish, because they are made of non-inflammable material. Aluminum pins, slides, casque combs and other fancy adornments set with rhinestones glisten alluringly in the evening and are seen oftener than heretofore.’ (The Atchison Daily Globe, 1913)
‘Old fashioned tortoise-shell back-combs, such as our grandmothers used to wear […] as big as a small breakfast plate, and so delicately beautiful that some of them are purchased only at the expense of a little fortune. […] There are some very beautiful though expensive sets to be had, side and back combs adorned with baroque pearls, turquoise or aquamarine. Some are edged and inlaid with gold and others are set with graduated pearls, the largest gem in the center.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
Stray Lock Combs
‘One word is to be said about the short, stray hairs – “love locks” – at the back of the head, which often stand out so conspicuously when the hair is otherwise well dressed, and convert the most demure gentlewoman into a veritable Madge Wildfire in appearance. A dull gold brooch, or one of tortoise shell, is pretty on fair hair to pin up the love locks; and a silver clasp is better for black hair.’ (Evening Star, 1902)
‘The short locks at the back of the head are held up by a curved comb, shaped to fit.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902) A comb ‘which is intended to hold up “scolding locks” is shorter, but has large teeth.’ (The Washington Times, 1902)
‘One of the newest tricks is to use a barette comb which does not clasp in the usual way, but is finished with shell teeth which go up through the hair and keep every straggling lock in place.’ (The Intermountain Catholic, 1908)
‘For keeping flying ends of the hair at home are shown corkscrew pins of amber – strange-looking things that screw into the hair in spiral fashion, so that it would seem that they never would come out again. But they are, in fact, comparatively easy of adjustment.’ (Evening Star, 1907)
Silk Ribbon Hair Bows
‘No woman with the instinct of the fitting well developed will put a bow in her hair for a dinner, the opera or any function. She will reserve these pretty adornments for morning, to be worn with the intimacy of the tea gown, or in these warm days for a stroll on the beach or along the mountain ledge. […]
The side bow should never be of a pronounced color – either pink or blue is the right color – and to be correct and at the same time becoming the most delicate pastel shade of either must be chosen. Nothing so vulgarizes and coarsens the softest and most beautiful suit of tresses as a staring red, green or any elemental color in a bow. On the other hand the pastel shades go well with either blond or brunette tresses, embellishing their beauty, while the greatest care must be taken in choosing ivory or cream if a white ribbon bow be affected.
When the hair is dressed high two side bows of black, preferably velvet, should be worn. These carry out the design of the coiffure and are pretty as a contrast to light hair, while they seem to add lustre to dark tresses. With the hair low on the neck a bow of broad black
ribbon placed there also is singularly becoming.’ (San Francisco Call, 1906) ‘When there is a pompadour, and the hair is dressed low, there is an awkward place just at the back of the pompadour. To cover this little bows are used’ (The Topeka State Journal, 1902).
‘The hair is nearly always decorated in some way. For day-time, with two big bows of ribbon, one at the crown and the other across the loop at the back. […] On commencement morning she will wear white ribbons, of taffeta gauze; but for ordinary days the ribbons are black, no matter what the color of the frock. Black taffeta or satin, rather than moire.’ (The Washington Times, 1904)
‘One can wear ribbons in the coiffure for luncheon, but the color must just match the hair.’ It is difficult to find the right shade because hair ‘is brighter at times. So the most artistic fancy is to match it to the brighter tones of hair. I tie a sun colored ribbon in brown hair to bring out the sun tones.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1908)
‘Most mothers prefer white, pink, or blue ribbons in their girls’ hair for party occasions; but, as a matter of fact, these colours are extremely trying to all but the loveliest children’s hair.’ White ribbons are only becoming to girls with very white skin, pink for girls with white skin and dark brown hair, and blue for girls with blue eyes. ‘If they have the much more common grey-green English eye, it should have a greenish tinge […] Brunettes can wear cherry and pink’, russet or salmon for red hair, brown or yellow for blond hair, and black velvet ribbons for black or blond hair.
‘For all fluffy or wavy-haired girls, ribbon is a great stand-by. It is charming threaded through the hair, but it seldom sits well on lank, straight hair; and if it is used at all with it – except as a bow, of course – it should be the softest variety, or else velvet. A straight, stiff silk ribbon threaded through stiff, straight hair gives a Dutch-doll hardness to the youngest face.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2d)
‘Dresden designs and Pompadour effects […] give an agreeable finish to a white toilet, but when the frock is of flowered organdy or similar fabric plain ribbons of the prevailing color in the dress are best. […] White, of course, may always be relied upon, blue is comparatively safe, but pink and green should be used with caution. The shell shade of pink is exceptionally pretty when confining brown or golden-brown locks; pale green and white may be used for chestnut-haired belles.
When the hair is divided into front and back portions, and the former is taken pompadour fashion to the crown of the head and tied there, the color off the ribbon is of less importance; almost anything at hand will answer, especially if the back portion falls unconfined. If, however, as sometimes happens, it is braided, the due regard should be given to the color selected, as the ribbon is brought rather near the face. […] Black hair ribbons are always correct for morning and street wear, and often give tone or character to a light toilet. Soft, black ribbon is generally preferred to the stiffer taffeta on account of the rusty look that this silk takes on after it has been worn a short time.’ (Evening Star, 1907)
‘The Mrs. Patrick Campbell coiffure is very popular. For this dress the hair very high and wind it with ribbons. Take a strip of ribbon three yards long and begin at the back. Wind it three times around the head with the strands coming an inch apart. Finally tie in a bow knot right at the back. If properly done, there will be one rope of the ribbon around the knot or coiffure, one just below the knot, while the third will band the forehead. […] White ribbon with satin finish is prettiest for the head decoration, but pale blue and pastel pink are preferred by many as looking less bride-like. Buttercup yellow is very good upon dark hair, the object being in every case to secure a contrast.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘If you wear a yard or two of ribbon at the back of your head, be sure that it is fresh. Nothing looks worse than a dusty hair ribbon.’ (El Paso Herald, 1910)
‘Messaline, moire, satin, taffeta, in white, black and colored ribbons, are those most favored for plain qualities. Bright plaids in narrow and wide widths, black and white blocks and checks, Dresden and other fancy effects are coming into vogue […] The slant of the bow perched on the head is determined by its becomingness to the wearer. Broad Alsation effects are very fashionable, there being from four to five loops with two ends. For side “tiebacks” the ends are cut fish-tail fashion, with the ends standing straight.’ (The Minneapolis Journal, 1906)
‘When the hair has been regularly put up a simple twining of ribbon about the knot is attractive in the evening […] Ribbon run through pieces, or, rather strands of hair has gone out of vogue but narrow bands of silk or satin twisted about the knot give an undeniably pretty touch of color just where it will show most becomingly. White is not as a rule, so becoming against the hair as a brighter shade, but any pale shade which matches the gown will carry out the color effect of the dress attractively.’ (The Evening Standard, 1910)
‘An exceedingly good-looking head ornament worn by a girl with wavy auburn hair was a band of black velvet, embroidered with silver and green thistles.’ (Orange County Observer, 1909) ‘A coiffure ornament consisting of a band of green and gold shot tissue, stiffened with wire, and bent into the form of a double fillet, always looks well with a black gown.’ (The Fairmont West Virginian, 1909)
Flowers & Roses
‘But of all the hair decorations there is nothing that equals in popularity the flower, and particularly the rose. The rose, exaggerated size, is in favor this season, and it appears in all places, in the way and out of the way, in season and out of season. The exaggerated roses are those that are either a great deal too large or a great deal too small. For the berthas and the flounces the tiny button rose is the best. But for the hair the very large rose is the one that is worn. The Spanish coiffure shows the hair dressed low with the rose located just below the ear. It is always a bright red rose and it is fastened deeply in the hair so that the hair fairly waves and curls over it.
The rose, as worn for hairdressing purposes, is not always the natural rose, and she who is wary will select the rose of panne or of silk, or even of chiffon, or of satin ribbon, for it is much better from many standpoints. The natural rose has its faults and failings. It withers readily. That goes without emphasis. It is rarely of a sufficient brilliancy, unless a very high-priced rose, to be effective. It has a tendency to open and fall that is most provoking, and it is afflicted with thorns that must be clipped off. […]
The rose made by man is the one that is worn and the one that has beauty to recommend it. It is a great, beautiful thing of luster and softness, of delicacy and of scent also, for it is artificially scented. This rose is made of satin ribbons so cunningly that you can scarcely detect the fraud, and it is made of velvet with a chiffon center, the leaves delicately curled. There is a new rose material, tulle, doubled and stiffened. This is made into small roses tied together and surrounded by leaves for the hair.
Just where the rose will be located is a question. Shall it go back of the ear or on top of the head? Fashion says that it shall be at either place, but if low it must be very low, and if high it must be very high. There is no intermediary point. A rose worn by Miss Roosevelt was perched so high that it looked like a tiny crown. In Lady Curzon’s latest pictures the rose is worn in very lofty fashion.
There is a new way of wearing the artificial flower, which is neither high nor low, but which is very becoming. It is low and just over the ear instead of under it. The flower must droop so as to cover the ear and set it off, ornamenting it prettily, and making one side of the head decidedly picturesque. This is the Miss Leiter style, having been brought into prominence by the beautiful Miss Daisy at a dinner dance given for Miss Roosevelt. The flower should be light in tone and floppy in kind; the prettiest flower for this use is a pink poppy or one in a brilliant red, in chiffon or crepe de chine.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘At the left side a huge pink gauze rose is placed. This rose is exquisite, as its petals are heavily laden with pearl dewdrops and in the centre is a large pearl and rhinestone cabochon as a heart. […] This rose is a very simple but becoming addition to a dressy coiffure. At present the stores are showing all kinds of the most delightful accessories to this part of a woman’s toilet. Flowers of velvet, swiss and gauze, large, gaudy affairs, tiny, modest blossoms, bunched, with foliage, choux of soft satiny ribbons, iridescent ribbons and all kinds of most exquisite affairs dear to womankind.’ (The Illustrated Milliner, 1902)
‘The countess of Essex has abandoned the severe style which she wore for years and is now wearing her hair pompadour with an ornament at the ear. She chooses a natural flower or one made of chiffon, with a tiny jewel in the center. This jewel gleams and gives the effect of the earring though it is much more becoming to the face than earrings would be.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1905)
The ‘flower in the hair – there is no ornament that adds so much to youth and charm. It is wonderful, too, what different, widely different effects can be produced by different arrangements of even a single rose. Take the stately girl, for instance – the one who dresses her hair high and carries her head as Gibson has taught her. She will choose two or three large roses and wear them high against the knot of her hair. If she has an eye for art as well as a queenly bearing she will pull one rose slightly forward and to one side, to break the stiffness of a too precise effect. […]
Now that the Janice Meredith curl is a raging fad, the wearers of it have learned that a cluster of flowers pinned close to the neck just where the curl starts, adds to the quaint demureness of the hairdressing. There is a coquetry, too, hidden under the demureness of the fashion.
The Oriental beauties have taught the trick of a rose over each ear, and the girl who has classic features is safe to try it. It Is a queenly style and a string of pearls laid across the hair adds to the grace of the effect, Bernhardt’s favorite picture of herself, you may remember, was taken with this arrangement of flowers. The Spanish woman, coquette of coquettes, knows the value of a rose in the hair. She catches it in the fold of her mantilla or lets it droop over her ear.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901) ‘It is a picturesque fashion to wear huge flowers over the ears. This is a style becoming to most pretty women […] The wearing of flowers at the side of the head was the invention of Lady Henry Bentinck, a London beauty, who dresses in an unconventional way.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1903)
‘The popularity of the ribbon flowers is fully brought out in the manner of hair arrangement. Ribbon violets looking precisely like new and caught into the hair at one side, after the Alice Roosevelt fashion, are seen at all afternoon functions. And violets are arranged at the top of the coiffure, where they look from the front like a bed of violets growing upon my lady’s head. A pretty idea was carried out along the violet line. The violets were arranged upon the top of the head, and through them were set little pearl headed pins which looked something like drops of dew. They made a pretty contrast to the color of the lady’s hair, which was as black as night.’ (The Jersey City News, 1905)
‘For the young girl flowers are of course the only ornament, besides a simple ribbon that should be worn. There is no way so girlish to arrange them as in a simple wreath over the loose falling locks. Small flowers are prettier than large. Baby roses are especially good.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901) ‘Single chrysanthemums made of narrow ribbon will be worn by young girls who have just begun to go out formally.’ (The Washington Times, 1907) ‘A dainty evening decoration is a narrow wreath of violets or some fine flower around the back hair and fastened at the top with an upright bow of white satin ribbon.’ (San Francisco Call, 1902)
‘A young girl should have forget-me-nots, tiny rose buds, almond blossoms. A middle-aged woman will find the exquisite tints of the orchid particularly suited to her coiffure.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1904) ‘The Roman wreath of leaves is revived […] of metal or metallic gauze. If the light colors, such as blue and white, are used they are frosted and sprinkled with diamond dust.’ (The Hawaiian Star, 1910) ‘A dainty novelty is made of linked small metal flowers with rhinestone centers (in gilt finish), joined with a small diamond-shaped ornament set with a brilliant.’ (The Atchison Daily Globe, 1913)
Related: How To Make A Gold Leaf Wreath
‘The placing of the flower changes the shape of the face and alters the appearance of the features. Don’t lengthen a too long face by piling the adornments on top of the head, nor broaden one already too broad by the Oriental arrangement. Color, too, should be considered. This usually depends upon the costume; but it is worth while to remember that the white or cream flowers are more becoming to dark hair than to light. A yellow rose is exquisite in bright, gold yellow hair, and pink flowers may be worn above any clear complexion. Red roses are proverbially for the brunette, the Spanish-eyed beauty, but there seems no reason other than tradition why the blonde should consider herself shut out from their use.’ (San Francisco Call, 1901)
‘Pink rosebuds and frosted foliage are almost prettier than any other floral garniture. A little brunette whose hair was as black as raven’s wing coiled a wreath of forget-me-knots in her hair, and the contrast was very striking. Crimson buds, too, look well on a brunette. A perfectly charming flower piece for the hair was worn by a young married woman. It was a large crushed pink rose, filled with dew. The dew was represented by tiny white glass beads, and the rose was worn just back of the left ear.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)
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