Everything was harder in the 18th century… including doing your hair!
It’s no secret that people in the 18th century certainly had it harder than we do today. No electricity, no running water, and no YouTube video tutorials on how to do your hair. No, the women of the 18th century had to read exhausting books on how to get their hair just right – and it took hours to get the task done. Granted, the final product was intended to last for several weeks, but still. It’s the little things that really show what a completely different time period this was.
They might not have had YouTube back in the day, but we sure do! Thanks to one dedicated YouTuber who found an authentic hair tutorial from the 18th century, we get a glimpse into the hardships of beauty over two-hundred years ago!
The excerpt above is from the book on hair and styling. It says, “I would inform those ladies who wish to dress their own hair, that they will find it very troublesome and tedious, as well as exceedingly tiresome for the arms, straining for the eyes, sometimes not only making them tender but bloodshot.”
After reading a warning like that, one would probably think twice about trying to do their own hair without the help of a hired professional!
This brave soul jumped head first into the tutorial, which starts out instructing her to cover every strand of hair with pomade and then powder, or in this case, flour. The treatment is designed to give the hair texture to make it easier to work with. It also acts as a preservative of sorts, seeing as one hairstyle was meant to last up to several weeks.
The next step is to take small sections of hair from the front and twist, twist, twist, finishing off the curls by tying tissue paper around them. This is definitely where the tedious part of the hairdo comes in. After the smaller, tissue curls are in place, it’s time to painstakingly curl the rest of the hair into tight curls.
And then it’s time to do… this. Take sections of the hair and ad more powder before teasing the hair from the root, all the way to the ends. Yes, it really is meant to stick up like that. How else do you think the ladies of the 18th century got all the height in their hair?
Once this process is repeated again and again all over the head, the result is something like… well, like pictured above. Flattering, right?
The mess of hair is somehow corralled into a slightly more tamed dome on the top of the head. Once the tissue curls are taken out, the front of the hair looks a bit like poodle hair, don’t you think?
Finally, we have the finished product. Whew! What a process. Watch the video below to get the history and more detais for each step of the process.