Victorians took their hair seriously: “Want Good Hair?” asked Godey’s Lady’s Book (1861). Throughout the nineteenth century, much advice circulated in magazines, newspapers, and cook books regarding how to cleanse hair (long before shampoo was invented), use of combs, whether or not to cut kids’ hair and more!
In this Blog Article Series about Victorians and Oatmeal, we’ve seen cookies (both with and without raisins), Victorian attitudes about oats for food (rather than fodder), and vintage newspaper clippings highlighting the attitudes of some American Victorians. This article is still about oatmeal–and Victorian woman using those rolled oats in bath sachets to soften the skin. See the Victorian-American bath sachet recipe(s).
While dimples and beauty marks were seen as attractive and stylish, Victorian Americans deplored freckles, “moth marks”, suntans, and sunburns–most unfeminine! Commercial products promised to eradicate such unwelcome blemishes and guaranteed beauty! If potions and powders failed, one photographer promised no freckles showed in his cabinet cards.
Nineteenth Century American Bath Houses were often businesses connected to hotels, barber shops, ladies’ hairdressers, and spas offering massages and curative measures (steam baths, medicated baths, etc.). In the Old West, such businesses advertised in the newspapers of the day, some announcing prices (compared to today’s dollar). It’s a peek into the luxury of a wet-from-head-to-toe bath when a person has no running water at home.
Santy (Santa Claus) wasn’t the only celebrity to endorse the well-known, well-loved, imported English Pears’ Soap. Even when the method of celebrity endorsement was used to lesser extent, it’s still implied. Another ad run either in a magazine or newspaper in the latter portion of the century quoted, “I have found it matchless for the hands and complexion.”