Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Historical Hair Care, Part One, Introduction

Hygiene, in any given period of history can seem almost shrouded in mystery. It is one of those things we do every day and think little about. A modern person keeping a diary is hardly likely to record that they showered that morning with a commercial shampoo containing sodium lauryl sulfate and coco betaine followed by a conditioner containing mineral oil and ceteraral alcohol, for both of which they paid $2.99 at Rite Aid. Nor, I suspect, is any person throughout history likely to record the mundane and exacting details of such a necessity. So, it is really not until the big branding and marketing campaigns of the Victorian Era that we really get a clear picture of exactly what was used, how often, by whom, and how it was made. Though, of course, each person then, as now, was a unique individual with their own routine and preferences.

Our hair is something that, even with all of our modern conveniences like running water, hundreds of varieties of products, heat styling tools, and cheap, disposable combs, brushes, and accessories can sometimes feel like an impossible burden. There is that running joke that God gave us hair to teach us that we cannot control everything. Yet, throughout history, it has mostly been worn much longer than is currently fashionable and seems almost have always been a sign of wealth, luxury, and beauty. So, how did they manage it?

That is going to be the subject of this series, which I hope will be of interest to my readers and even put to good use by my fellow novelists. I will be focusing mainly on the periods I have studied for my books and even have a couple of experiments planned. So, please stay tuned for Part Two: The Vikings

Historical Hair Care, Part Two, The Vikings
Historical Hair Care, Part Three, The Medieval Era
Historical Hair Care, Part Four, The Renaissance
Historical Hair Care, Part Five, The Victorian Era
Historical Hair Care, Part Five, The Experiment

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating. What sources do you use for research? For VIRGINS, book two iof my Immortals series, I am currently researching daily life and schooling in the 19 century in Armenia. There’s a lot of historical data but not everyday life information.