Subscribe to the newsletter and get Edwardian-themed news delivered straight to your inbox!

Beauty

Edwardian Hairstyling

by

Before attempting to dress the hair it should be thoroughly brushed and combed. Many women are satisfied with giving their hair these attentions at night only. This is a mistake, for the ease with which the hair will “ set” becomingly will be greatly increased if its tone and vigour have been stimulated by previous treatment with brush and comb. If the hair is worn loose at night, it will doubtless be slightly tangled, and must be carefully restored to order before the actual hairdressing can begin. If, on the other hand, the hair is wom plaited or tied at night, fresh life will be restored to it by allowing the air to blow through each tress.

Artificial waving is best done before the process of hair-dressing is begun, either by the use of curling pins or by the use of hot tongs. The latter method has many disadvantages, among them being a certain risk to the health of the hair. Constant use of irons tends to make the hair brittle, and their drying action must be counteracted by the use of a good brilliantine or hair lotion. An excellent method of producing a deep wave is to insert the hot tongs (testing them carefully first to ensure that they are not too hot) in such a position that the hollow part of the prong is under the piece of hair to be waved. The tongs are then closed, rolled over slightly, and pulled obliquely alongside of the head. If in a moment they are removed, the tress of hair on which they have operated will be found to have taken a deep wavy impression, giving a graceful waved appearance, not a crimp. This is the effect of drawing the tongs obliquely instead of letting them rest straight in their pressure on the hair.

At the present time a low coiffure which involves a separate dressing of the front and back portions of the hair is very popular. The portion of the hair above the forehead is divided off from the rest. It may then be parted either in the middle or at the side, or left to be arranged in its undivided state. Perhaps the most generally becoming style is that in which, after dividing the hair by a short parting, each portion is carefully French—combed. By this means, by fluffing up the under-surface of the hair, it is given an artificial thickness that otherwise would be absent or could only be supplied by pads. The hair is then rolled back and held in position by means of side-combs. The ends of these rolled-back portions of the hair should then be smoothed down over the back of the head and allowed to mingle with the hair to be dressed in the nape of the neck.

A girl with very long and abundant tresses can dress her hair becomingly by dividing the back portion into three tresses. Each one should be French-combed and rolled, and then each roll pinned lengthways across the back of the head. One roll will be pinned above the other, so that a spiral effect is obtained. The lower rolls of the spiral should be narrow, while those at the top may be really wide. The addition of a wide ribbon or velvet bow on the top of the spirals will be a dainty finish.

For evening wear few hair ornaments are prettier with a low coifl’urethan the bandeau of ribbon, tinsel, or pearls. Roman pearls sewn on black velvet make a charming bandeau for a fair-haired girl. A gold chain can be used with excellent effect, twisted among the tresses of a dark-haired woman. A single flower, a rose or carnation, can be fastened against the coil of hair, and looks exceedingly pretty.

The Lady’s Realm (1906)

The Parisian Woman at Her Toilet

by

The life of a Parisian élégante is far from being an idle one; it is, on the contrary, a prodigiously active and frightfully exhausting life, which no one can lead with success who is not endowed with executive ability and great nervous endurance.

The cares of the toilette, the daily succession of visits, receptions and fetes, the theatres, the flower and picture shows, races, lectures, attendance at church, with many other duties and pleasures, form a cycle absorbing every hour and moment of this rushing, fluttering, froufroutante existence.

In short, a Parisian woman of fashion lives in a perpetual whirl, which allows her no graceful intervals of leisure in which to retire within herself and indulge in dreams arid reverie. Dress alone constitutes an intolerable tyranny—one, however, to which she slavishly submits. The morning toilette, to begin with, involves the torment of the hairdresser and the manicure, and for many the torment of “making up” the complexion, of massage of the head at intervals (a long and fatiguing process), and of face-massage for her who trembles at the sight of her first wrinkle.

The Colour of Paris: Historic, Personal & Local by Lucien Descaves

The Parisian woman at her toilet

The Parisian woman at her toilet

The Parisian woman at her toilet

The Parisian woman at her toilet

The Parisian woman at her toilet

The Parisian woman at her toilet

The Parisian woman at her toilet

The Parisian woman at her toilet

— Photos from German periodical, Das Album, April 1899 (via Wikimedia Commons)

The Morals of Pink and Blue Hair, or The Craze for Colored Wigs

by
Edwardian coiffure
from NYPL Digital Gallery

The coiffures of Katy Perry, Agyness Deyn, and Rihanna may spark some of today’s celeb and fashion-watchers to dye their hair various shades of blue, pink, and even gray, but the Edwardians were doing it long before them!

For a brief period during 1914, the most daring leaders of Society and Fashion shocked the columnists of the day by adopting a trend created by Parisian hairdressers at the end of 1913 for the 1914 social season.

According to a journalist for the New York Times: “Four hundred mannequins selected from those employed by the leading couturiers are to be provided with color wigs in which to appear at balls and music hall resorts of Montmartre and other rendezvous of gay Paris.”

These wigs were, of course, very expensive, as they were made of human hair–Chinese–and the tastemakers considered a wig to match each evening gown de rigueur.

The trend hopped from Paris to London by February, and at a dinner party given by Mrs. George Keppel for her daughter Violet’s coming out, “about twenty-five women guests wore colored ‘transformations.’…the wigs were chiefly of purple, blue, green, green-blue, and many varieties of the new rose tint called ‘vasco rose,’ with light, medium, and dark shades.”

So outrageous was the trend considered, the more conservative members of London and Parisian society were loathe to admit any guests who showed up in a wig matching their gown. Oddly enough, by May, London socialites discarded their colored wigs for a new trend–their own gray hair! Now it was of the utmost mode to have a head full of gray hair dressed in the latest styles…perhaps a push back against the prominence of youth after Edward’s death?

In any case, one can never discuss Edwardian style and fashion without mentioning Lady Duff Gordon of “Lucile,” and here is her article discussing the morals of pink and blue hair in the Omaha Daily Bee.