Thursday, 2 December 2010

Beauty Alphabet - H

This week in the Beauty Alphabet, we are looking at hair.

"H" for Hair

"Grandmother told you to take care of your hair and brush it one hundred times a day. Well, grandmother was right, and if you have been following her advice all these years, you probably have a head of healthy, shiny hair. Brushing massages the scalp and keeps it dust free.

Your hair should be washed at least once every 10 days. A liquid shampoo should be used.

Very oily hair should be treated with special setting lotions. There are several preparation on the market. If the oiliness is due to bad health, you should consult a hair specialist.

Certain hair should never be bleached - and certain colours. Don't consider it if your hair is black, dark brown or grey.

Mothers should urge their daughters to be hair-conscious at the youngest possible age. For the younger a girl is when she realises the importance of a healthy head of hair, the longer she will be arrestingly attractive."

(From The Argus, 2 November 1950)

Hmm, not much there we didn't know already. As that was such a skimpy piece, I've found a few more articles on hair care in the 40s and 50s. It's interesting to note that they all stress vigorous brushing of the hair, preferably with the head upside-down. I swear if I brushed my hair as often as suggested, it would be an oily mop, but perhaps before conditioner was invented, one needed to spread the natural hair oils around?

This article is from a 1952 issue of The Australian Women's Weekly. I've chopped it up into several bits so the text is big enough to read.

This article is from 1941, and takes a more scientific tone, with advice on diet and scalp massage.

Look at those wonderful victory rolls!

The article reads as follows:
"The hair receives nourishment for health and growth from the blood vessels permeating the scalp and surrounding the hair roots. Oil glands near the hair roots supply oil and keep the hair soft and glossy.

Almost all hair is lovely when healthy and clean. Hair catches dust and dirt easily and soon becomes dull and grimed. If you want to know whether it is soiled, cover your fingers with white tissue paper, rub or massage your scalp with it. If the paper is soiled, your hair needs a wash.

Normal hair needs washing every week or ten days...oily hair every few days, or at least once a week...dry hair every fortnight.

Use soft water, if you can get it, and warm, rather than hot. Under the shower is an excellent way if you do it at bath time.

If you don't use a liquid shampoo, dissolve your favourite soap by shaving it in hot water and and heating slowly. This way it is easier to rinse, and it is most important to rinse thoroughly.

It seems hardly necessary to tell you to brush your hair, but few girls use the hairbrush enough. It won't hurt your permanent wave, and it keeps your hair clean and shining.

Your scalp needs exercise, too. Massage it for several minutes, several times a week. Press the heel of each hand against the scalp and rotate with vigor. Then pinch it firmly between your thumb and fingers. A convenient way is to sit before a table, rest your elbows on the table, and droop your head forward to meet your hands.

If your hair is dry, avoid having it uncovered in the sun too much, and don't wear tight hats. Brush it a great deal, and consult your hairdresser about a good oily tonic.

If your hair is oily, eat sparingly for a time of oily, fatty foods. Drink plenty of water, and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Brush the hair, even though it seems to increase the oiliness temporarily, but wash it often.

Sometimes ill-health will cause the hair to fall out more than is natural. In that case a doctor should be consulted. Plenty of sleep, outdoor exercise, and a good, nourishing and balanced diet with a high vitamin content will help.

Take the greatest care of your hair if it is thin, and brush and comb it well several times a day."

(From The Australian Women's Weekly, 25 October 1941)

Here are some tips for a neat pin-curl set, and below it, some hairstyles from 1954 which use pin-curls.

I'd like to have a go at the middle one, the "Edwardian effect for evening"!


  1. wonderful post!!!

    Hi! my name's martina and I come from Italy...I'd like you visit my blog and if you want, follow me! I wait you and your tips! kiss kiss ^^

  2. Oh, I adore these vintage photographs! Great post!

    Happy December, cheers: Evi

  3. I appreciate your sharing the hair setting instructions. One of the books on my amazon wish list is vintage hair styles and how to achieve them.