- Apr 18, 2019
Image source - Wikimedia Commons
"The hair is the natural accessory to personal comeliness.." stated R. P. Hall in his pamphlet on hair care. But age and ill health, not to mention inferior hair care products, can rob hair of its natural beauty. Luckily, Mr. Hall has a solution. Literally. Hall's Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer was first put on the market in 1864 by Rueben Hall. The formula, Hall claimed, had been given to him by an Italian sailor - hence the Sicilian in the name. Hall's Renewer, a mix of water, glycerin, herbs, and lead, could be used as a shampoo or a conditioner. The formula was changed n later years to include a hefty amount of rum, though I did not find any advertising suggesting it be taken internally.
Image Source - Library of Congress
Hall's Treatise was a 30 page booklet which discussed the structure of hair and follicles, the history of hair and it's importance, and - of course - the miraculous ability of Hall's Renewer to fix all hair woes. Hall did draw the line at too extravagant a claim though: in treating baldness he states he would not "...claim that our renewer will, in every instance, restore the hair to bald heads.." which was shockingly honest for the advertising of the day. Hall's was successful enough that it's sales cut into those of it's largest competitor, Ayer's Hair Vigor. So, Ayer's bought Hall out in the 1870s. Both products continued to be marketed into the 1930s. How many instances of hair being restored to bald heads is unknown - but you can guess.