My most recent books are set in the 1830s, just before Victoria ascended the throne. Nearly up until about the time she became queen, women’s hair styles were upward bound, wild and crazy and, in my and my heroes’ opinions, highly entertaining.
But about 1836-37 the wild exuberance disappears. Hair sinks from its lofty heights to cling to the scalp, and even the fanciful braids and loops hang rather than leap into the stratosphere.
Still, whether I love the style or not—and I do see the appeal of this as I do other fashions—I love discovering the method of creating it. This video is particularly interesting to us Nerdy History Girls, because it explains how to make the Victorian equivalent of hair spray.
My ladies (1820s-1830s) rely upon pomatums (or pomades), a rather thick concoction, described here and here. Ms Goodman offers quite a different product, called bandoline, of which I was unaware. Also, she’s a treat to watch.
BTW, though I’ve owned Ms. Goodman's How to Be a Victorian for some time, all I’ve had time to do so far is skim. This one is going on the plane with me to England, for sure!
Still and video from Ruth Goodman's Victorian Hairstyling 101 video on YouTube.
Readers who receive our blog via email might see a rectangle, square, or nothing where the video ought to be. To watch the video, please click on the title to this post.