Her crowning glory: Her hair
How she may keep it bright and glossy, how prevent it from falling out, and by what means she can keep away the white locks that tell of age’s advance.
by Marion Martineau
Woman’s crown of beauty is her hair!
No need to tell her of it. She knows it and recognizes it. Let a woman’s hair begin to fall out, and away she rushes to the druggist to get a tonic. Let it continue to fall, and she goes to a massage operator, a head masseuse — one who understands the art of manipulating the scalp in such a manner as to stimulate the roots of the hair. Let her hair grow gray, become faded in tone, or in any way get “out of sorts,” for hair can really get out of sorts, then there is real trouble, for well a woman knows that her best beauty is threatened.
There may have been some time a beautiful woman afflicted with a bald head. But if so, her name is not on record. All the world’s famous women have had heads of hair, or at least they have had hair that could be prettily arranged, and the records have yet to tell of a woman who could be pretty in spite of poor hair.
The low-growing hair, giving the forehead that wide, calm look which is demanded by certain types of beauty, does not belong to all. Nor are the curling side locks within reach of everybody. High foreheads are an American affliction, but the American woman overcomes the evil a little by the tasteful ways in which she dresses her hair.
Pretty hair should be fluffy, it should be glossy, it should be sufficiently abundant to clothe the head nicely, and it should be even in color.
The color question
The question of color is one that bothers every woman with a head of hair. Her hair may be uneven in tone, shading from light to dark and looking faded in places. Again, it may be actually streaked with a long light lock trending its way through hair much deeper in color. Or the whole head, while of the same color, may have a curiously drab and dull look, without “bloom,” as the French put it.
Gray hair offers still another problem, one of the most serious of all hair problems.
To meet the color question fairly and squarely there is only one thing to be done. If the hair has been neglected and has grown gray, or if it is decidedly streaked, or if it is in any way peculiarly marked by nature, a light streak and a dark one, there is but one solution — and that solution is hair dye.
The hair must be made all of one color, and to do this select the best dye obtainable and follow directions. There are home-made dyes that are not as good and it is unsafe to experiment with them. Buy, therefore, the best and do not deviate as much as one hair’s breadth from the printed rules for use.
But these cases are the extreme ones, the cases that occur only once in a while. And the rules which hold for these rare ones are not applicable to the others. For the majority of women, the best treatment for the hair consists in the right kind of a shampoo, in a skillful massaging, in a little clever handling afterward — and that is all.
Hair that is faded and drab-looking has been known to reclaim itself under the familiar egg shampoo: Take a half cake of oily soap. Select one that is recommended for its oily properties, and put it on the stove to melt, cutting it first in little pieces. Let it rest in a double boiler and cover it with a pint of water. When melted, remove from the fire and let cool. Beat into the cold soapy water one egg and add a few drops of ammonia.
A brisk shampoo
In dealing with mixtures in which there is ammonia or melted soap, a great deal of care must be taken that the eyes are not injured. It is best to have an assistant who will operate the soapy mixture while the patient rests her head against the edge of the wash basin, a towel held to her eyes.
This mixture should lather easily and is intended for the massage of the scalp and hair. Never rub soap directly upon the hair, for it sticks and cannot be removed with ever so many washings, but the mixture, on the other hand, is easily managed.
In washing clothes, it is the custom to allow them to remain awhile in the suds. So, in washing the hair, the head should remain saturated for a few minutes that the soapy water may do its cleansing work. Let the operator manipulate the suds for, say, five minutes.
The rinsing should be done with a spray. The little sprayer with which flowers are sprinkled is better than nothing, but it really costs so little to own a pipe of rubber with a sprinkler attached to it that most women are willing to afford the little luxury.
The water should be hot at first, then cold. With homemade contrivances, it is difficult to regulate the heat, but it can be done, and the result is a clean, smooth, sweet-smelling scalp.
The matter of drying is managed in various ways, one of which is by continual fanning. Stretching the hair out in the sun is good, while hanging it before a grate fire, if the weather will permit, is best of all. However it is done, the hair should be well-dried and there should be no thick, clinging feeling to it. A dainty custom of scenting the locks comes from Paris. A little cap of fine muslin, filled with sachet powder, is slipped on over the head and the hair bundled up into it, a permanent scent is thus imparted.
Scenting the hair
An excellent scent for the hair is made from oil of rose geranium. Take a few drops of the oil and add, a third of the quantity of glycerine. Pour upon absorbent cotton and roll the cotton round and round until quite a piece is moistened. Now spread out the cotton until it makes a flat piece like a pancake and sew it into thin silk. This can be placed in the crown of the little scented cap to impart extra fragrance to the hair. Be careful, and remember that you are dealing with an oil. If left on more than fifteen minutes, it will oil the hair too much.
All sorts of devices for perfuming the hair are employed, one of these being the tying of a ribbon around the head at night to which are attached little soft sachet bags, all hanging from ribbons of different lengths.
No hair scent is ever permanent. It must be often renewed. Just as your dinner must be eaten daily, so also must your scent sachet give forth its daily supply. When you come to think of it, perfumery should not “last” — it should not be expected to do so. But it should be renewed every day.
Hair which shows dandruff in an unpleasant manner needs shampooing. That is the first step in its cure. Often that which is mistaken for dandruff is merely dust and will disappear if the hair be treated frequently to a shampoo. But in no case should the hair be washed more frequently than once in two weeks. Nothing cures dandruff as quickly as oiling the head. This seems to heal the scalp and remove all tendency to a scaly condition.
But oil, on the other hand, is unpleasant, and the scalp must be cured without causing the hair to become greasy or to suffer in any way.
A famous singer applied to a hair specialist for treatment, complaining of excess of dandruff. The specialist began by manipulating the scalp very thoroughly, though lightly, with almond oil. The quantity used was small and the scalp was thoroughly gone over. Perhaps a few drops did the whole work. After a week of this treatment, massaging the scalp every other day with the tips of the fingers anointed with the oil, the singer’s scalp was entirely healed.
The whitened locks
While gray hair is honorable, it is not always pretty or becoming. Seldom does the possessor enjoy it. To prevent gray hair, there is nothing like taking care of the hair while the roots are young and vigorous. A shampoo once a month, a little light brushing twice a week for five minutes with a soft brush, letting down the hair at night, dressing it in different ways so that the pins do not come always on the same spots, nourishing the roots with a good tonic — all these things tend to keep the hair from growing gray.
Roots that have grown feeble can be stimulated by a light massage. Lift the hair lightly with the fingers, just so that the scalp is massaged by the fingertips. This is the treatment advised for those who find the hair gray or out of condition.
Golden hair is frequently produced by shampooing the hair with hot water, to which a little kitchen soda is dissolved. The soap should be kitchen soap, and after it is rinsed off, then the washing soda is used. Finally, the hair is well rinsed and dried in the sun. This will generally brighten hair that is inclined to be of a drabbish hue, instead of the ruddy gold that is so much admired. But the process is apt to be harmful and is not recommended.
Thinning hair or baldness
A correspondent who signs herself Mrs J R writes that her hair is getting thin and that she dreads baldness. “I wash my hair often,” says she, “and brush it for fifteen minutes every night before retiring. Yet it continues to come out.”
The latest theory in hair preservation is that hair can be best preserved by letting it alone. A limited amount of neglect improves the hair.
This is particularly demonstrated in the case of men who become bald, universally, at an early age. Poor men, who work hard and have no time to spend upon shampoos and fancy brushes, do not complain of baldness. It is the man of wealth, the one who washes his head at least once a day, and maybe three times. Who brushes it vigorously a dozen times a day with a stiff hairbrush, who puts on perfumes and who otherwise ill-treats his scalp — this is the man who becomes bald.
The man with less time and opportunity preserves his head of hair all his life.
The woman who finds herself getting bald should not use a hairbrush any oftener than is absolutely necessary. She should not wash her head more frequently than once in six weeks; she should use no alcohol on her head; she should not wear a switch if she can help it, and she should give her hair a chance.
Don’t worry the roots. Hair is the hardest thing in the world to kill. Let it alone and you will never be bald, or your chances will be greatly lessened.