During Victorian times, both women and men often sported or supported elaborate hairstyles, and for men that included some pretty amazing mustaches and creative beards. You didn’t just jog on down to the corner store and buy what you needed to keep your hair in style, you usually made your own concoctions. Even in the fancier Victorian homes, personal valets and ladies’ maids whipped up the necessary ingredients.
One of the most popular and common mixtures was Bandoline. It basically served the function of today’s hairspray, but it was spread over curls and coiffures with the fingers. Bandoline could be purchased, but, as some unhappy women discovered, commercially manufactured Bandoline sometimes contained contaminated ingredients that might change the color of the hair — or worse! Bandoline’s primary ingredients varied over the years, but some type of glutinous substance was necessary. In many homemade recipes, quince seeds hold the place of honor. Various perfumes — rose water or vanilla, for example — were added to mask the scents of other “active” ingredients.
I’ve never been good styling my hair. The easier the better. How about you? Elaborate or simple? Do you use hairspray or other products?
(Top photo, Sue Harrison, Common Domain. Next photo, “Vanity” by Gustave Leonard de Jongh, Common Domain.)