Historical women kept their hair clean, but that doesn’t mean their hair was often directly washed. Those who had incredibly difficult to manage hair might employ a hairdresser to help them wash, cut, and singe (yes, singe!) their hair as often as once a month, but for most women, hair-washing was, at most, a seasonal activity.
“Why?” you might ask. “Wasn’t their hair lank, smelly, and nasty?”
And the writers who embrace ignorance as a badge of honor will say, “Well, that just goes to show that people used to be gross and dirty, and that’s why I never bother with that historical accuracy stuff!”
And then I have to restrain myself from hitting them…
The reason that hair was rarely washed has to do with the nature of soaps versus modern shampoos. Soaps are made from a lye base and are alkaline. Hair and shampoo are acidic. Washing hair in soap makes it very dry, brittle, and tangly. Men’s hair was shirt enough and cut often enough that using soap didn’t harm it too much and the natural oils from the scalp could re-moisturize it fairly easily after even the harshest treatment, but in an age when the average woman’s hair was down to her waist, soap could literally destroy a woman’s head of hair in fairly short order.
Instead, indirect methods of hair-cleaning were used. Women washed their hair brushes daily, and the proverbial “100 strokes” were used to spread conditioning oils from roots to tips and to remove older or excess oil and dirt. This was more time-consuming than modern washing, and this is one of the reasons that “good hair” was a class marker. The fact that only women of the upper classes could afford all the various rats, rolls, and other fake additions to bulk out their real hair was another. (An average Victorian woman of the upper middle or upper class had more apparent “hair” in her hairstyle than women I know whose unbound hair falls well below their knees.) Women rarely wore their hair lose unless it was in the process of being put up or taken down–or unless they were having a picture specifically taken of it! At night, most women braided their hair for bed. Now that my hair is well below my waist, I understand why!
The first modern shampoo was introduced in the late 1920s. Shampoos clean hair quickly and also remove modern styling products, like hairspray and gel, but the frequent hair-washing that has become common leaves longer hair brittle even with the best modern formulations. (From the 1940s to the 1960s, many if not most middle-class women had their hair washed only once a week, at their hairdresser’s, where it was restyled for the next week. The professional hairdresser stepped into the void that the maid left when domestic service became rare. Washing one’s hair daily or every other day is a very recent development.) That’s where conditioners came into play. Many people have wondered how on earth women could have nice hair by modern standards before conditioners, but conditioners are made necessary by shampoos. Well-maintained hair of the 19th century didn’t need conditioners because the oils weren’t regularly stripped from it.
Additionally, the oils made hair much more manageable than most people’s is today, which made it possible for women to obtain elaborate hairstyles using combs and pins–without modern clips or sprays–to keep their hair in place. This is why hair dressers still like to work with “day-old” hair when making elaborate hairstyles.
There were hair products like oils for women to add shine and powders meant to help brush dirt out of hair, but they weren’t in very wide use at the time. Hair “tonics”–mean to be put on the hair or taken orally to make hair shinier, thicker, or stronger–were ineffective but were readily available and widely marketed.
If you have a heroine go through something particularly nasty–such as a fall into a pond or the like–then she should wash her hair, by all means. This would be done in a tub prepared for the purpose–not in the bath–and would involve dissolving soap shavings into a water and combine them with whatever other products were desired. Then a maid would wash the woman’s hair as she leaned either forward or backward to thoroughly wet and wash her hair. Rinsing would be another stage. The hair would NEVER be piled on the head. If you have greater than waist-length hair and have ever tried to wash it in a modern-sized bathtub, you understand why no one attempted to wash her hair in a hip bath or an old, short claw foot tub! It would be almost impossible.
A quick rundown of other hair facts:
Hydrogen peroxide was used to bleach hair from 1867. Before that, trying to bleach it with soda ash and sunlight was the most a girl could do. Henna was extremely popular from the 1870s through the 1890s, especially for covering gray hair, to such an extent that gray hair became almost unseen in certain circles in England in this time. Red hair was considered ugly up until the 1860s, when the public embracing of the feminine images as presented by the aesthetic movement (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) gained ground, culminating in a positive rage for red hair in the 1870s to 1880s. Some truly scary metallic salt compounds were used to color hair with henna formulations by the late 19th century, often with unfortunate results.
Hair curling was popular in the 19th century and could either by achieved with rag rolls or hot tongs. Loose “sausage” rolls were the result of rag rolling. Hot tongs were used for making the “frizzled” bangs of the 1970s to 1880s–and “frizzled” they certainly were. The damage caused by the poor control of heating a curler over a gas jet or candle flame was substantial, and most women suffered burnt hair at one time or another. For this reason, a number of women chose to eschew the popular style and preserve their hair from such dangers! Permanents were first in use in the 1930s.
Anne Shirley probably used indigo on her red red hair. Indigo will turn brown hair a lovely blue-black. Blue and orange? A most appalling green.
it had to be done
ONLY DAYS LEFT TO RAISE FUNDS, URGENT LIFE OR DEATH HELP NEEDED ONE LAST TIME
Tumblr friends. You all saved my life. Unfortunately I need help one last time to keep it that way.You helped me pay down a hospital bill so I could have major brain surgery in October. Well, the bill for that is $9,600- Medicaid covered the hospital, NOT the doctor(!!). due to financial hardship, it’s reduced to $4,500.
The problem: the doctor HAS TO adjust and monitor my new neuro implant every other week, and I WILL DIE WITHOUT THE ADJUSTMENTS. But he is NOT ALLOWED to see me more than once more unless this is paid.
The reduction has conditions: I must pay $1,000 by Dec 16, the$3,500 balance by Dec 23.
This is a terrible blow to me, unreal. I can’t stop crying in sheer frustration.
So, sadly, I must ask for help one least time (I can get on Free Care in April). You’ve all already been so generous. The SPNFamily, and Tumblr at large has been amazing. And if there were any way to avoid asking, I would.
PLEASE DONATE IF YOU CAN! I’ve set up a PayPal with the email email@example.com to accept funds (if you “send to a friend” there’s no fee). The hospital can only accept payment from me.
I know the Holidays are already an expensive time. Maybe give someone the gift of saving a life in their name? And I know I recently got so much help from you all. If I had any way to avoid this I would. And of course I’m happy to repay with fics, songs, editing, or anything I can.
As it is I’m also homeless and sometimes staying with my violent abusive parents, other times staying with friends. Every cent I get is going to other medical expenses and necessities.
PLEASE SHARE THIS as far and wide as you can! Share it as text so everyone can read and share again. Whether or not you can give, others may be able to.
Thank you all so so much! Below are some photos just to show what I mean. They called me with the settlement, but the original bill is there, as well as a few of my scars (yes they shaved the whole side of my head).
Thank you again! PLEASE DONATE AND SHARE IF YOU CAN, and ask me any questions.
Sopranish is my friend, and I’ve personally witnessed the reality of her struggles, so I can vouch for both the urgency and the legitimacy of this plea for help. She is on a time crunch and really scared, so any shares or donations would be so, so appreciated. Every little thing helps!!
We had to choose one of our large exterior pieces to edit into several layers and to then perform a camera move to convey 3D space. I chose my colored one!
This was cleaned up in Photoshop and then put together in After Effects.
Santino Fontana on auditioning for Frozen:
"So basically, all that they told me about the character was he’s super confident, perhaps overly confident, he needs to be able to sing with a "Broadway sound" and he’s really good with women, but he may have a dark side. I came into the sound studio and I was very nervous and I sang this."
(Rebloggable version of this reply, per request.)
Well, here’s the deal, anon. The Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian group, and they impose those beliefs on the people that they employ and the communities they serve. Here are a few examples:
They are so opposed to LGBT rights that they have lobbied multiple times for exemptions from Federal and Local anti-discrimination laws, and threatened to withdraw their services.
They refused to provide shelter to a homeless gay couple, unless they broke up and renounced their homosexuality.
They refused to provide a transgender woman with shelter that was congruent with her gender presentation, instead insisting she house with men. She chose instead to sleep on the sidewalk and died from the cold.
Speaking of gender, there was also this charming incident where one of their hostels refused to open the door for a 17-year-old victim who had just been brutally raped (or even call the police for her) because that particular hostel had a strict “men only” policy.
Children who can’t prove their immigration status are turned away.
The organization also disposes of any Harry Potter or Twilight related donations (rather than giving them to other charities), because they claim the toys are “incompatible with the charity’s Christian beliefs”.
During the Bush Administration (thanks to ‘faith-based initiatives’) they fired about 20 long-time employees (Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Gay), simply for refusing to sign the organization’s statement of Christian belief.
So, that—in a nutshell—is what’s wrong with it.
i will never stop spreading the word about how fucking shady the salvation army is
think twice before you donate to the bell-ringers in your local mall this holiday season … i am planning on starting a dialogue with the ones that are set to station themselves outside the store i work in
also one time i volunteered with the salvation army around christmas time being an “elf” and helping parents pick out free donated toys for their kids
which was all well and good until they ESCORTED TWO MEN OUT OF THE BUILDING BECAUSE THEY “LOOKED GAY”
this was a first-hand eyewitness account and i should have left then and there, but seeing as i needed to take the bus back to school…
And this is why I starting to donate to other charities around Christmas.
No more red buckets for me.
and theres also how in Australia they have teared apart native aboriginal communities to “christianize” them and make them part of capitalist western society, up until the late 60’s they assisted with the taking of aboriginal children from their families in the stolen generation and put the children into missions where they would follow strict pattern of work and christian education
reblogging again because of that whole “but salvation army is changed!!11!!” post circulating because people need to be reminded of the terrible shit they’ve done
In case we need a reminder this year
Jonathan Groff @ Ravinia singing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” as a duet with Sven.