1870,  Beauty and Hygiene,  Browse By Era,  Browse by Subject,  Victorian

Hair-Oil.

THE frequent use of “oils,” “bear’s grease,” “arctusine,” “pomades,” “lustrals,” “rosemary washes,” and such like, upon the hair, is a practice not to be commended. All of these oils and greasy pomades are manufactured from lard-oil and simple lard. No “bear’s grease” is ever used. If it could be procured readily, it should not be applied to the hair, as it is the most rank and filthy of all the animal fats. There are many persons whose hair is naturally very dry and crisp; and in most families there is a want of some innocent and agreeable wash or dressing which may be used moderately and judiciously. The mixture which may be regarded as the most agreeable, cleanly, and safe, is composed of cologne spirit and pure castor-oil. The following is a good formula: Pure, fresh castor-oil, two ounces; cologne spirit, ninety-five percent,) sixteen ounces. The oil is freely dissolved in the spirit, and the solution is clear and beautiful. It may be perfumed in any way to suit the fancy of the purchaser. The oil of the castor-bean has for many years been employed to dress the hair, both among the savage and civilized nations; and it possesses properties which admirably adapt it to this use. It does not dry rapidly; and no gummy offensive residuum remains, after taking on all the chemical changes which occur iu all oils upon exposure to light and air. It is best diffused by the agency of strong spirit, in which it dissolves. The alcohol or spirit rapidly evaporates, and does not in the slightest degree injure the texture of the hair. This preparation for dressing the hair of children or ladies will meet nearly or quite all requirements.

A cheap and very good dressing is made by dissolving four ounces of perfectly pure, dense glycerine in twelve ounces of rose-water. Glycerine evaporates only at high temperatures; and therefore under its influence the hair is retained in a moist condition for a long time. As a class, the vegetable oils are better for the hair than animal oils. They do not become rancid and offensive so rapidly ; and they are subject to different and less objectionable chemical changes. Olive-oil and that derived from the cocoanut have been largely employed; but they are far inferior in every respect to that from the castor-bean.