Friday, 13 May 2016

Trying out some Edwardian hair care

This Monday I realized what kind of person I am, and how obvious it is that I tend to want to dive quite deep into things when I get the chance. On Sunday it's a 1900's fair at the National Railway Museum, and I'm going there. I was not happy about my hair the last time, so I wanted to do it better now. I started reading a lot of tutorials on Gibson girls' hair-dos, and when reading up on historical hair it's inevitable that you also run into a lot of posts about 18th century hairstyling. Both Edwardian and late 18th century hairstyles are very much about adding volume, so I figured I could pick up stuff there as well.

One thing that is clear, especially when reading about 18th century hair, is that you can't do without pomatum and powder. Pomatum is simply an older name for pomade, a grease that you add to the hair to make it more moldable, but also to make the powder stick to the hair. The powder acts as a dry shampoo, and helps keep the head clean and add volume.

I then tried to find out how to make your own pomatum/pomade, since there wasn't a chance that I would get it shipped here in time, the only sellers of pomatum that I've found are in the US. One thing led to another, and in this blogging World we live in I found a lot of recipes of pomade for people wanting to live more "natural" and avoid chemical stuff, like modern shampoo and hair styling products. Reading them I thought "hmm, this doesn't sound too complicated", I found a Swedish place selling the ingredients and made an order. Today the things I needed arrived, so I set off to make my own pomade.

A note that what I've done is not an historical recreation, originally pomatum was made from lard and animal fats. I'm using modern ingredients, but I here the end result, a simple hair product to help with styling, was more important than historical accuracy.

The recipe I used was from The Hippy Home-maker

3 tbsp beeswax
2 tbsp shea butter
2 tbsp coconut oil

 I put the beeswax and the shea butter in a metal bowl and placed it in a pot with boiling water and let them melt. When they had melted I kept it on the heat for 20 minutes. I also added some ground cinnamon and cloves to the fat to give it some scent. It would of course be better to have used whole spices, and I was sure that I had some but apparently I had used them up when baking for Christmas.

After 20 minutes I poured the fats into a plastic bowl, added the coconut oil and whisked it all with an electric beater until it cooled into a fluffy consistency.

Here is the finished result scooped up into a small jar. The ground spices add some brown dots, but that won't be visible in my hair since it's quite dark.

Making this was easy, but of coure I haven't tried it out yet so I don't know how well it works. It took me a lot longer to get the spoons and bowls that I used free from the fat and grease. And in case the pomade doesn't work with the hair it's probably very good for your hands, since my skin now feels very soft and moist after having worked with it.

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