Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Return of Madame X

For Halloween this year, the Madame X costume reemerged. This time, I decided to wear it with historically correct makeup -- the whiting, powder, and the very last of my Ageless Artifice Red Paint for the Face, plus some black eye pencil. I didn't bother with coloring my hair this time. I also didn't have anymore white feathers so I just put a jewel in my hair, but the effect actually came out looking more like the final painting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Clean Hair Brushes

In the Gibson Girl era, hairbrushes were very important tools as they functioned much the wash shampoo and conditioner serve modern women (That is, for cleaning dirt and dandruff from the hair while distributing oil) -- plus they created the specific hair texture needed for period hairdos.

Natural bristle brushes were most commonly used, but wire-type brushes were also available (however, they were warned to be, in all function, combs.) Here's a cleaning how to for both types.

For wire brushes.
For bristle brushes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Early Product Reviews

Before online reviews, magazines were the place to go for data on how good a product was. And, before mandatory listing of product ingredients, it was also a good place to find out what was in your favorite potion.

For example, the column featured a series of letters from March 1868 on “Mrs. Allen’s World’s Hair Restorer,” an American commercial hair wash distributed by local wholesalers. Hearing that the product caused itchy, red scalps in two acquaintances, a female correspondent turned to readers of the “…invaluable Conversazione, which so often helps us out of difficulties.” Her letter set off a chain of responses over the coming months. Respondents warned that “Mrs. Allen’s Dressing” contained hazardous amounts of mercury, eventually prompting a defensive response from London agent John M. Richards, who asserted the “natural” makeup of the product. Reader responses followed both refuting and supporting the charge of mercury, accompanied by correspondents’ proven personal recipes for hair-restorers. In this Victorian precursor to “customer reviews,” readers placed their trust in the textual community in an effort to recreate the traditional exchange of advice among female intimates. Their efforts bore fruit; they elicited responses that exposed the dangerous chemical makeup of manufactured beauty products, all while soliciting tried-and-tested alternatives from readers’ own recipe collections.



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