Make high hairstyles with side combs (1896)

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Hints about hair

Changing fashion demands the addition of “cushions”

They come high, too

A nice little switch of the Marie Antoinette style costs $25 — Side combs getting larger

The side comb has come to the front, indeed to the back and to all parts of the head, and it has come to stay. From the little unobtrusive inch and-a-half combs that used to plaster back refractory bangs during the Madonna craze, the side comb has developed into a five or six inch implement encircling half the head and variously ornamented and filigreed according to the taste and pocket of the wearer.

The teeth are fine or far apart, to suit soft or coarse hair, and variously graded, being perhaps only a half inch deep on one end and two inches on the other. In the matter of coiffure, sweet simplicity has been relegated to the background, and authorities predict that feminine heads at the opera and other evening functions during the rest of this winter will be works of art.

“Are they going to use cushions, really, and false hair?” was asked of a popular hairdresser on Fifth Avenue.

“We have used cushions for over a year,” was the answer, “but not to the extent they will be used this season. As for the false hair, of course the Marie Antoinette style necessitates more luxuriant tresses than many women have, and the deficiency will have to he supplied.

“Most of our cushions are made of hair like this,” said madame, exhibiting one for inspection. “But the pompadour roll is bound to come; is here now, in fact, and will have to be used in common.”

The hairdresser’s shop was full of women asking for side combs. “We can’t find them long enough in the stores,” explained one of three girls who were examining the assortment critically. “Those pretty curved ones, to be put in back of the ears, are not in the city at all, although they are worn in Paris.”

“We haven’t them long enough, either,” said the saleswoman, apologetically, “but they will be here in floods in a little while. Madame has ordered some.”

“Put your side combs in with the teeth toward the face or the neck,” directed madame. “In that way, they will puff the hair softly about the face, not drag it back. The effect is wonderfully different if a woman has been wearing them the wrong way. The side combs are especially useful in arranging the hair about the nape of the neck. Somehow the hair there will not grow long, and the straggly fringe about the collar is dreadfully inartistic.

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“A favorite way of arranging the hair for evening is to turn the hair back from the face in soft puffs, the fluffier the better, and mass it in an oval twist at the back of the head. A loose curl or two must fall over the forehead and behind the ear.

“By the way, I have been taking note of these curls and their wearers. A very tough girl is sure to have a tough, rollicking curl; an artistic girl is likely to have a feathery, tously, airy little curl; and a tallormade girl, if she be a thoroughbred, will have a curl that is smooth, perfect and curved like a bow.”

“How are they going to wear the hair this winter for the street?”

“In flat, simple braids, low at the back. And if you have not sufficient hair to braid, you can get two charming little switches, light and natural looking, for $25. The figure 8 at the nape of the neck will be worn again, too, but it rubs so easily and looks so untidy that many girls will not adopt it.”

“The Marie Antoinette style, If I am not mistaken, has a loose, puffed arrangement hanging down at the back like a catagon braid, as well as the puffs on the top of the head?” said the caller.

“Yes, and it requires skill to contrive that puffed arrangement, as well as abundant and very soft hair; but, in all its modifications, it is certain to be worn.”


From top: Hair comb by René Lalique (c1902), Victorian sterling silver hair comb (c1897), Bakelite hair comb (c1896) – thanks to mammajane, Sterling silver heirloom hair comb (c1808)

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