1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

What did they use in their hair?

Discussion in 'The Ladies Tea' started by JWheeler331, May 1, 2012.

  1. JWheeler331

    JWheeler331 First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,252
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I see such hairstyles from old Civil War photos that it got me wondering.....what did they use in their hair?

    If this has been covered, sorry. I did a search but didnt see it.
     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. James B White

    James B White Captain Trivia Game Winner Honored Fallen Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Messages:
    6,183
    Hair oil, pomade... There are lots and lots of advertisements, suggestions and recipes in period magazines, newspapers and books, with the recipes for homemade ones hinting at how the commercial ones were made. For example:

    Here's a collection of hair oil and other cosmetic ads and articles from period newspapers:

    http://www2.uttyler.edu/vbetts/toiletries.htm

    Period joke, from Harper's Weekly:

     
    Dedej, Historyprof and Robtweb1 like this.
  4. JWheeler331

    JWheeler331 First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,252
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Interesting. Thanks.
     
  5. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    20,104
    Location:
    State of Jefferson
    Sarah Breedlove, aka Madame C J Walker became the first woman millionaire (through her own efforts, not inheritance or marriage) selling black hair care and skin products. She was the daughter of slaves, the first in her family born free. Very interesting person! Her shampoos contained sulphur - not recommended these days! People back then, though, didn't wash their hair often - once a month was considered adequate - and consequently there was a lot of skin problems like eczema. Which meant a lot of shampoos and soaps contained things like pine tar to help those disorders. Beeswax was also considered a good addition to the care of hair, mustaches and beards.
     
    Dedej likes this.
  6. JWheeler331

    JWheeler331 First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,252
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I had wondered because some of the hair styles were so interesting and some of the beards flowing and styled. I knew they were using something but did not know what.
     
  7. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    13,640
    Location:
    South of the North 40
    A comb.
     
    Dedej and JWheeler331 like this.
  8. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    20,104
    Location:
    State of Jefferson
  9. johan_steele

    johan_steele Colonel Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    13,640
    Location:
    South of the North 40
    Okay Diane... sometimes they used a comb.
     
    diane likes this.
  10. Dedej

    Dedej First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    1,035
    For most Black women - they did indeed use combs - carding combs made from wool, wood or bone. Some even used forks. If a comb wasn't available "finger-combing" was done. Which is just using your fingers to detangle, comb and coil hair. To roll or train they would use cotton for hair rollers and then keep it covered until Sundays.

    To curl they would use a heat a butterknife to the fire.

    For moisturizing/styling they would use butters, goat grease and bacon grease.

    To wash/help clean scalp and hair they used cornmeal, grits, charcoal and kerosine. They also used a host of herbs for haircare and skincare -- for health, medicinal and general upkeep.

    Most of the women kept their hair covered with handkerchiefs, wraps and tignons - made of old rags and fabric scraps.
     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)