Wednesday 29 July 2020

Hairstyles for Growing Girls

While during the Victorian era it was deemed greatly inappropriate for women to wear hair loose (it was only appropriate in very intimate settings such as in the bedroom or dressing room), it was one of the few hairstyles reserved for children and young girls. Young girls almost exclusively wore their hair down or in loose braids. It was a girl’s responsibility to keep her hair proper and well kept, they often styled using ribbons, bows, or cloths to create ringlets or loose braids. It was not until girls were about 16 years old that they could wear hair in a more mature style of up-do. This change in style would often be an indicator of adulthood as well as marriageability.

            Typically, a sunbonnet would accompany a girl’s hairstyle when outside to avoid sunburns and a dust cap inside to avoid dirt/dust getting into hair. Hair care and protection was considered very important as they would often only wash once per month without the use of shampoos (and would be last to use the water). The most important hair care was the brushing of the hair, this was meant to keep hair clean and untangled resulting in a strict regimen of 100 brushes every night for girls!

Below is a clip from the Ladies Home Journal on Dressing a Growing Girl by Isabel Mallon, August 1893. 

"About Her Hair

The extremely young girl oftenest has a fluffy bang, which must not be frizzed, and her hair either brushed back from her forehead or parted, and then braided and looped as she may fancy. Personally, I would advise the parting of the hair, as that will tend to make it grow a little lower on the face, and this is, of course, always to be desired. Hairpins of all kinds should be avoided, and the hair should be given the same opportunity to grow that the girl herself has. It should be kept perfectly clean, being thoroughly washed about every two weeks and, and much brushing should be given it. A comb that is soft and which is, at the same time, coarse, should be used upon it in preference to a finer one. It is brushing and brushing and brushing that the hair wants to make it beautiful and glossy and a veritable crown of glory. The comb should only be used to divide the hair, or if it should get tangled to straighten it out preparatory to a good brushing. Before retiring the hair should be well brushed and loosely braided so that it may not become tangled."