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( Originally Published Mid 1800s )
"The loose train of thy amber drooping hair" - Milton.
Poets and prose writers and painters and everyday men had not from the beginning of the world sung and written and painted and praised goldenhaired beauties, there would be no occasion for these humiliating remarks of mine. If we had not had golden-haired sirens flung at us from babyhood, we never would have been the streakyheaded frights we are at this moment some of us. But I want to ask seriously the women who are slaves to the peroxide bottle: "Does it pay? Is it worth the price? Does it pay in the first place to enter into any kind of bondage voluntarily?" For artificially acquired and maintained golden hair is a bondage compared to which Egyptian servitude appears, by all accounts, to have been lightsorne and diverting.
To begin with, as every "peroxidian" knows to her cost, bleached hair never remains the same shade, and never by any happy chance looks like the natural golden locks. It will deceive many men,-which is something,but never another woman.
If once made yellow, it should stay so, one thinks, but it never does. On the contrary, as though it really were possessed of an independent spirit, the original color of the hair is forever unexpectedly asserting itself-just when it should not. It has a truly maddening way of showing up, despite all the skill of the peroxide experts on the face of the earth. Those awful telltale, dark roots, those lustreless tow-colored ends-the bleached woman is always conscious of both. For though you religiously abstain from touching any part but the roots of the hair with the colorless liquid, the roots never say dye, nor yet bleach.
The cause of this failure to bleach the roots is easy to understand. The hair pigment is more copious at the roots and the continuous growth-of necessity-makes the dark line at about half an inch from the scalp. The contrary is the case with the hair from about three inches from the roots, which becomes lighter and more of a telltale at each application.
At the very best, a bleached her mind for. a moment. Either peroxide and feels sure that it is ingly metallic in color, or she is touching up about the temples head one or the other of the telltale spots. She is tied down to a bottle of peroxide of hydrogen for the rest of blonde is never easy in she has just applied the unevenly done, and glarconscious that she needs and at the back of the her life, and if, as is devoutly to be hoped for all women, she is some man's idol, ten to one she has deceived him as to her lovely golden hair, and her slavery is more nnbearable from the awful fear of discovery. Wherever she goes she must take her peroxide. Just so often she must apply it. It takes about one day to do this satisfactorily. But the self-consciousness of presuming to be something one is not, the anxiety concerning the awful telltale spots at the roots, the time and trouble required for the everrecurring treatments are only a very minor part of the price a bleached blonde pays for her locks of gold.
Just as soon as a woman bleaches her hair,-professional women always excepted,-she invites most unpleasant criticism from both men and women, strangers and acquaintances. When a woman by design makes herself conspicuous, she must accept the consequences. The consequences usually are that she is regarded lightly, and although she may be, and often is, a girl or woman of unblemished character, her appearance belies her, and she suffers the truly awful humiliation of failing to evoke immediate respect wherever she may happen to be.
At this cost, I find the price paid for the most lovely golden locks ever produced artificially much too high. But to those of my sex who insist on yellow hair and who desire a harmless bleach, I give directions for the process:
PEROXIDE OF HYDROGEN
Get a bottle of chemically pure peroxide of hydrogen. Before making the application, the hair should be thoroughly washed and dried. Pour a little of the peroxide into a saucer, and apply to the roots of the hair with a tooth brush. You must regulate the color by your own observation. One application will produce a most noticeable change.
Never use ammonia in connection with peroxide of hydrogen. Hair dressers have a fashion of "preparing" the hair, as they term it, by bleaching, and in order to hasten the bleaching process, they use ammonia.
Peroxide of hydrogen will not injure the hair, if carefully used, but in connection with ammonia it will, in the course of time, destroy the constitution of the hair.
The effect of peroxide is always to make the ends of the hair very much lighter; the color has been literally taken out of the hair and there is no way of restoring the bleached ends. You will have to have the hair dyed or stained. I do not think any one can personally keep the hair an even shade by the aid of a bleach, and there is really no other process that is not injurious. The hair can be kept slightly brightened by the use of diluted peroxide, but the roots of the hair will always be the original color as the hair grows out.
In order to keep your hair a uniform color when you are using an artificial preparation, you should have the services of some one who understands the matter thoroughly. Nothing can prevent the hair from growing out its original color, and there is always a difference for about a half inch from the root. Only a person very skillful in the art can touch up the roots successfully.
To turn bleached blond hair back to its original color, have it dyed or let it grow out its natural color. After it has grown out, if you choose to bleach it again, you can do so without injury, but it would not do to rebleach or attempt to rebleach the dyed hair.
Peroxide of hydrogen is also a bleach for the eyebrows. It would first lighten the color and finally would turn them a golden shade.
I do not think the peroxide treatment adapted to the eyebrows.
Peroxide of hydrogen diluted half and half with water will turn dark brown hair an auburn shade.
When muddy brown hair is at its best it is not beautiful. When it loses its lustre it is extremely unbecoming and robs a woman of color and style. It can be bright ened by washing it, after a thorough shampoo, with a teaspoonful of chemically pure peroxide of hydrogen, diluted in a teacupful of water. Wet the hair thoroughly with it and fan it until dry.
Prematurely gray hair is usually an inheritance from father to daughter or from mother to son, or it may come from a generation or two back. Many people ask me for something which will change black hair to silver white, and do away with the yellow shade. There is no harmless preparation which will effect this desirable result. I have not seen a homemade dye which was not plainly perceptible; and though I give recipes for them, T do not advise their use when a first-class proprietary article can be obtained.
I give a formula for a hair dye, but I want to say candidly that I think homemade hair dyes are rarely, if ever, successful. In order to make a thoroughly good hair dye, the services of a skillful chemist are required.
Pyrogalic acid, one-quarter of an ounce ; distilled water (hot), one and one-half ounces. Dissolve. When the solution is cool add onehalf ounce of alcohol. Pyrogalic acid is extracted from Chinese nutgalls. The hair should always be thoroughly washed before applying the dye. I repeat that while this is an excellent hair dye, I do not think it is successful as usually made by an amateur.
To stain the hair slightly the above dye may be diluted with two or three times its weight of soft water and a little more alcohol.
A ONCE-FAMOUS HAIR DYE Precipitated sulphur ....1 drachm. Acetate of lead ....1 drachm. Rose water.... 4 ounces.
This dye was famous during the Mexican War, and its inventor made a fortune out of it. I do not myself believe in lead hair dyes.
THE TURKISH METHOD OF APPLYING HENNA LEAVES TO THE HAIR
In Turkey the women very much affect the Titian-red tresses which are today so much in vogue in America. The reddish tint is produced by henna leaves as in America, but the Oriental method of applying the color is different.
The Turkish women grind the henna leaves to an impalpable powder. They make a paste of this powder by mixing enough boiling water to it to produce a thin paste. While yet warm the mixture is applied to the hair and allowed to remain on the head from a quarter of an hour to two hours, according to the shade of red desired. The henna is removed by rinsing in several clear waters. My own opinion, as I have announced it previously on the subject, is that the best results are obtained by patronizing one of the well known manufacturers or hair dressers who make a specialty of coloring the hair any shade the customer desires.