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Thread: historical hair care

  1. #1

    Default historical hair care

    this video went viral some days ago and i want to know what are your opinions about it? the lady has beautiful long curly hair and she doesn't use shampoo or brush her hair. is this the real secret of the Victorian long haired ladies?


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-2YxqGiI54

  2. #2
    Member Pouncequick's Avatar
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    Default Re: historical hair care

    She does some things historically. I don't know that clay washes were as popular as egg washes in the Victorian era, but they may work better for her. I'm not sure if I agree that her routine is THE historical routine that will get everyone, everywhere long hair. When I read the classic to knee, knee length and beyond, and floor length and beyond threads I don't see anyone copying her precise routine and claiming it as the secret. When I read old hair journals it seems like long haired ladies largely did what they found worked best for themselves and the modern equivalents on this site seem to do the same. Some people wash their hair very infrequently while there was at least one user who washed her knee length hair every day.

    There are a slew of other historical hair care videos if you find that sort of thing interesting though.

    This video by Snappy Dragon covers long hair care in the medieval period in a large portion of Europe:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JZ33WuzPHI

    Then there is Pretty Shepherd who follows traditions inspired by folk hair care in Hungary:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mlAuM8KW3A

    Abby Cox used to do historical reenactment for the 18th century and she did a video covering pomade and powder which she used for over a year:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnBniAE2wiE

    V. Birchwood follows a Victorian inspired hair care routine:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnBniAE2wiE

    Then there are probably a million non Western channels covering historical hair care in a variety of other cultures and locations. The unifying threads seem to be find something that works well for your hair, fits in your life, uses things you can easily acquire, that is gentle enough for you while still cleansing your hair well and detangles it enough to keep it from turning into a giant nest that slowly eats you alive. I combine medieval hair combing with gently washing my hair a few times a week. I tried clay washes a long time ago and found they didn't play nicely with my hard water. ACV rinses aren't as effective for me as citric acid rinses. Finger detangling my hair misses tiny knots, but is really useful before actually combing out my hair. Boar bristle brushes seem to irritate and inflame my scalp while fine toothed combs help me remove build up. I learned these things through experimenting which it seems like she did as well. Combing her hair in the shower was damaging it so she uses her fingers. After she demonstrated brushing it with a boar bristle brush in her most recent video, I feel like I can see why she was getting damage. She is a bit rough with the brush on her hair but she was super gentle using her fingers.

    SL ~ APL ~ BSL ~ WL ~ HL~ BCL ~ TBL ~ CL ~ FTL ~ KL


  3. #3

    Default Re: historical hair care

    I think it's great that methods like rarely washing her hair and not using shampoo worked for her, but as with anything when it comes to hair, YMMV. (I would hate for anyone watching that video to think that is absolutely the way that works for all hair, or that they have to use it for their hair even if other things work better for their hair. By all means it's something to try if a person is interested, but if they find it doesn't work for their hair or lifestyle, it's fine to not use it.)
    Putting it in my signature because I have to say it so often:
    Do what works for your hair, not what other people say is "right" or "wrong." If it works for you, it's not wrong. If it doesn't work for you, it's not right.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: historical hair care

    Interesting stuff - I also remember someone here shared some ancient book about historical hair care and it was so neat seeing what used to be done back then!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kat View Post
    I think it's great that methods like rarely washing her hair and not using shampoo worked for her, but as with anything when it comes to hair, YMMV. (I would hate for anyone watching that video to think that is absolutely the way that works for all hair, or that they have to use it for their hair even if other things work better for their hair. By all means it's something to try if a person is interested, but if they find it doesn't work for their hair or lifestyle, it's fine to not use it.)
    Yep! If I personally followed that route, all of my hair would soon fall out

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    Member Pouncequick's Avatar
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    Default Re: historical hair care

    Quote Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
    Yep! If I personally followed that route, all of my hair would soon fall out
    I went through an all herbal all the time phase and clay washes gave me the most horrifying waxy build up. I had to wash my hair with dawn to get it clean. I think I'll stick with shampoo and conditioner that smells herbal but actually cleans my hair.

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    Default Re: historical hair care

    It depends on a few factors. I follow medieval hair routines and most are just SO and headscarfs It varies on culture, hairtypes, materials, class, and eras. Classes are a big thing, wealthier people who generally put many things in their hair in later eras (1600s-1900s) had a lot of free time to mess with it and see what works, while lower classed people often went pure SO with WO twice a year, eggs masks, clay, combing, and other things that required little effort and money. Won't say too much here unless asked, but in a nutshell, do what works for your hair.
    Last edited by BVU; December 4th, 2022 at 09:38 PM.
    Material Girling my way to longer hair.

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    Member Abacus's Avatar
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    Default Re: historical hair care

    I was really excited about this video when I saw it a few days ago, because I realized I have independently started doing a lot of the things she talks about. I've been doing mostly WO but my washes are getting stretched further and further apart. I'm not really paying attention or planning, it's all by feel and by gut instinct about what's working for my hair. I also started doing that dry finger-detangling process, and I thought I made it up! Like kind of taking my hair strand by strand and isolating the little clumps. So it was nice to see another curly-haired person doing those things that just felt intuitive, and to see what was also working for her.

    The thing I like about this video going viral is that the aesthetics of her hair are different from a lot of mainstream hair aesthetics -- and what I mean by that is her hair is pretty oily. I like that people are celebrating kind of oily healthy hair. That shot that she shows of the back of her hair over and over again -- it looks kind of webby because it's so covered in sebum, and her curls are beautiful but not light and bouncy. I'm finding that my hair looks like that these days and seems very happy. So it was affirming to watch! Her hair definitely looks happier and thicker than when she was doing curly girl method, and I'm finding the same is true for me.

    It's making me think about the whole controversy with Deva Curl products, and how people who have used them for a long time are having some negative experiences with their hair. She specifies that she wasn't using Deva Curl products, but she does mention how she thinks the long term use of the curly girl method gave the facade of healthy hair but didn't really benefit her as she grew her hair to greater lengths. And maybe that's the thing, maybe they work great for shorter lengths but don't give enough benefit over many years of use as the hair gets longer and older. Who knows, but it made me wonder.
    Last edited by Abacus; December 4th, 2022 at 10:10 PM.
    twa -- shoulder -- collarbone -- ARMPIT -- mid back -- waist -- hip -- tailbone -- classic -- mid thigh -- knee

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    Default Re: historical hair care

    Quote Originally Posted by Pouncequick View Post
    I went through an all herbal all the time phase and clay washes gave me the most horrifying waxy build up. I had to wash my hair with dawn to get it clean. I think I'll stick with shampoo and conditioner that smells herbal but actually cleans my hair.
    Omg, Dawn?! I can't imagine how much build up there was! It probably would have happened to me too Nothing like a good shampoo and conditioner for me as well

  9. #9
    Evil Duck Queen TatsuOni's Avatar
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    Default Re: historical hair care

    I haven't watched more than the first minute yet.

    But a few thoughts.

    There truly isn't one routine that fits all.

    And chin to hip lenght isn't really that impressive... Don't get me wrong. Her hair looks healthy and it's clearly longer while stretched. But I've seen many people grown to hip and beyond even with bleach, heat styling and damaged hair. Many people can grow hair that long.

    As for historical hair care. As mentioned there has been many different ways to care and wash your hair during different times, places and people of different social status and so on. And while people tend to romanticise past eras such as the Victorian. thinking that every woman had long lucious hair. That's not the truth. The pictures we see are of models chosen for their hair. Just like today. Who's seen in fashion magasines is rarely your average working woman. People then, like now had different lenghts' thicknes and hair health. And most certeinly, not everyone had a lot of time to spend on their hair.

    With that said. I take a lot of inspiration from historical hair care, from many eras, cultures and countries. My routine is hardly that of the average modern western woman today.


    Be nice or the beast will scream

    Lady Raven, Guardian of the Enchanted Forests of Nevermore. In The Order of the Long Haired Knights


  10. #10
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    Default Re: historical hair care

    Alright. I'm going to write down more thoughts as I watch the video.

    * It's great that it works for her.

    * As mentioned earlier. Not every woman had that long hair. Those were chosen to model for pictures and paintings. It isn't just hair care. But it's also about genetics.

    * She sais that a text section is from 1910 and that people didn't often use shampoo. Shampoo wasn't actually invented until 1920... So I doubt her source.

    * Heat styling isn't good for hair. Absolutely not. But it's not a new invention. It's been around for thousands of years. Even some of the "long haired" victorians used it. So yes it's damaging, but it's not impossible to reach certain lenghts even with heatstyling. Just want to mention it.

    * Historical people? If she's talking about people during the Victorian era in Great Brittain, she should say so. Because what she's describing is not at all accurate for every era or country. So I find it a bit missleading. For example, the vikings and medieaval people didn't use bristle brushes. They used combs for the same thing.

    * Once again. "They all had very, very long hair." No! You can't base this information just on some pictures.

    * Yes fingers are great for detangling. But to say that one can't feel tangles with a comb or brush? Of course you feel it of you're careful. This is when I put the comb down, detangle it with my fingers and then keep on combing.

    * Yes methods such as eggs were used. But there are also recipes that used really harsh and drying ingredients...

    * It's great that rhassoul clay works for her! It didn't for me when I tried it. It just dried my hair out badly.

    * Oils on the scalp works great for some people. For others it can cause both irritation and hair loss.

    * Heavy hair oiling works for some people. For others it just leaves the hair tangled and more dry.

    * You can easily make a bun without putting any strain on the front sections of your hair. You don't have to add that hair later.

    * "This is a common feature you see in most historical womens updos". Not really... The part of something happening in the front has been in fashion in some places during some periods.

    * Bobby pins was a hair killer for me personally and could not really hold up a bun. I prefer U-pins.

    Summary. It's great that she's found something that works for her! But it's absolutely not for everyone. She generalises a bit too much with her "historical women". I get that she isn't a professional hair historian and neither am I, but she could have checked some facts a bit more, before trying to "sell them". My problem with videos like this is mainly that there's a bit of a "this is the way" attitude.


    Be nice or the beast will scream

    Lady Raven, Guardian of the Enchanted Forests of Nevermore. In The Order of the Long Haired Knights


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