What do we think about when it comes to the Victorian age? Colonialism, a growing state and
economy, overskirts and bodices, the rising beauty industry, extravagant creations, and of course we
can't avoid mentioning the extraordinary (for some, freakish) length of women's hair.
Why was long hair so common amongst Victorian women?
We have to examine two aspects:
- Social factor: hair growth was such a crucial element, in terms of femininity, and long hair was part of society’s beauty standards and a well-being indicator, a reason that allowed only upper and middle classes women to grow it with a sort of competition.
- Environmental factor: though industrialization was at its beginning, the quality of air was better and food was pesticide-free, another agent that made this exaggerated growth possible. Most of their hair treatments were completely natural, with ingredients they already owned at home.
What did a Victorian woman do to take care of her hair?
1 NEVER CUT THEIR HAIR OFF; sometimes this caused split and mismatched ends. Haircuts happened if they were ill or poor women did it to gain money by selling their hair.
2 LESS FREQUENT SHAMPOOS; shampoo was suggested every 15 days/once in a month (upper classes). Greasy hair due to sebum presence was seen as beautiful and healthy especially because sebum accentuated hair shininess and also strengthened hair fibers.
3 100 BRUSH STROKES BEFORE SLEEPING; it actually flattened hair, and spread sebum from roots to ends, overstimulating sebaceous glands.
4 HOME-MADE EGG SHAMPOO; that's not a joke! Egg yolk left on the head for a certain time before the shampoo, was a degreaser and supplied proteins.
5 HAIR WAS ALWAYS TIED; braids and more complex hairstyles were common, it was a part of usages and customs, so if a woman went out with hair down that surely would have compromised her reputation. But keeping their hair tied, had benefits too: zero hair-knots.
Now it's time to answer the question; yes, Victorian women knew about scissors! They didn't have much choice, but their hair treatments were a ritual! Nowadays we're not aware of what is good and what is dangerous for our hair and tend to stress it a lot with heat sources or shampoos full of petrolatum, parabens and silicones, often because our routine is busy, but there are some simple tips used for flawless hair!
1 Always check your shampoo and hair conditioner ingredients. You don't need expensive ones, there are many excellent drugstore shampoos too!
2 Brush your hair before you shampoo and never with wet hair.
3 Scalp scrub (once a week)
4 Indian scalp massage helps your hair growth
5 Every hair type is unique, so what works for one can't work for everyone!