As I have been looking at fashion journals lately, I decided to take particular note of the descriptions of hair styles. And, as I was considering pictures, I cropped out some head illustrations because I find, in looking at fashion plates, I am often so distracted by the details of dress that I don't consider the head unless it wears a striking bonnet. I wonder what that is on the 1807 head above right--pearl droplets?
"Cropt hair, confined with a band, and curled over the left eye."
In the same issue, from January 1808, another style is described :
"The hair confined from the root, the ends flowing in irregular curls, leaving the forehead and temples exposed."
In January 1810 a more substantial description of evening hairstyles was given:
"The hair is either worn brought forward in a full tuft of curls on one side the face, or else closely twisted up behind, and confined with a pearl comb; a wreath of heath is placed at the back of the head a-la Daphne, encircling the knot of hair twisted twice round, and inclining to the left ear.."The styles below each seem illustrative of that report.
Descriptions from the Edinburgh Annual Review of 1813 are less fulsome:
"Hair in curls and ringlets confined on the crown of the head, and intermixed with flowers."
"Hair twisted up behind in a very large full bow, divided in front, and much fuller on the temples than last month."
"Hair parted in the centre of the forehead, confined in the Grecian style, and blended with flowers."
For all the elaborate dressing of hair, products were seldom mentioned in advertising. Atkinson's Curling Fluid and Rowland's Macassar Oil appear in advertisements in La Belle Assemblee in 1815, but no dedicated shampoos appear for sale. Indeed the word 'shampoo'--from Hindi--meant, in the early 1800s, a sort of head massage with oil. Late in the Regency, soap began to be shaved into boiling water and herbs added for fragrance, and the resulting mixture used for particularly washing the hair.
In the present day, we have hundreds of products for the enhancement of the hair, and yet hair styles have never been simpler. How exquisitely ironic!
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