From The Toilette of health, beauty, and fashion: including the comforts of dress, and the decoration of the neck with directions for the use of most safe and salutary cosmetics and a variety of select recipes for the dressing room of both sexes, 1832
Prints from Fashion in Paris : the various phases of feminine taste and aesthetics from 1797 to 1897, by Octave Uzanne
Direction For Staining The Hair
Many learned men have treated of the colors for staining the hair and eye-brows. And while men of learning and talent were descanting upon this topic, the fathers of the church wrote and preached against the practice: born enemies to the toilette, which does not exactly agree with the austere life which they sought to introduce, they proscribed every cosmetic falsehood. St. Cyprian, among others, lays down twelve reasons to prove that women ought not to stain their hair; out of which the following two are selected as not unworthy of notice :—’ ‘The action of staining the hair,’ says he ‘is worse than adultery.’ The other, equally singular with the former, is, that’ ‘to blacken the hair argues a detestation of that whiteness which belongs to the head of the Lord.’ Let us now, however, leave these far-fetched discussions of the learned, and proceed at once to the means which art affords for changing the color of the hair. Nor can such a subject be better adverted to than by recommending in the first instance, the necessary caution against the use of many dangerous preparations sold by the perfumers. The first to which we shall therefore allude, is the solution of silver, known under different names, such as Chinese wash, Egyptian liquid, &c. Instances have been seen where, after the use of this solution, people have been reduced to a state of frenzy. They should equally guard against compositions into which henbane, the morel, milk-thistle, and other venomous plants enter; as also those in which aquafortis or arsenic are introduced as ingredients.
1.—Composition for staining the Hair Black.
Take of bruised gall nuts one pound, boil them in olive oil till they become soft; then dry them, and reduce them to a fine powder, which is to be incorporated with equal parts of charcoal of the willow, and common salt prepared and pulverised. Add a small quantity of lemon and orange peel, dried and reduced to powder. Boil the whole in twelve pounds of water till the sediment at the bottom of the vessel assumes the consistence of a black salve.
The hair is directed to be anointed with this preparation; covering it with a cap till dry, and then to comb it. It is represented as an excellent composition for staining the hair black; it should be used once a week, which will prevent it from afterwards turning red. It should be observed, that as fast as the hair grows, it appears in its original color at the part nearest the skin; in whatever way therefore the hair is stained, it is necessary from time to time to repeat the operation.
2.—A Tincture for the same.
Boil an ounce of lead ore, and the same quantity of ebony chips, for an hour, in a quart of clean water. Wash the hair with this tincture, and dip your comb into it before you use it.
The composition turns the hair black; but the color is rendered more lively, brilliant, and beautiful, by the addition of two drachms of camphor.
Boil the following for half an hour on a slow fire, namely, equal parts of vinegar, lemon juice, and powdered litharge. With this decoction wet the hair, and in a short time it will turn black.
Let the head be previously washed, then dip the comb you intend to use in oil of tartar, and comb your hair in the sun. Repeat the same three times a day for a week, and in a week the hair to which it is thus applied will turn black. To give it an agreeable scent it may be impregnated with oil of benzoin.
Dissolve steel filings in good vinegar: with this vinegar, which will then resemble thick oil, wash your hair as often as you think fit, and it will make it black in a very short time.
Wash the head with the lye made of the ashes of plants in which a small quantity of alum has been dissolved. This wash prepares the hair to receive the tint you propose to give it. Then comb it with a leaden comb dipped in any substance known to impart a black color, such as oil of cedar mixed with liquid pitch, or myrtle oil beaten up for a considerable time in a leaden mortar.
To stain Hair a light Chestnut Color.
The hair is to be previously cleaned with dry bran, or warm water, in which alum has been dissolved. Then take two ounces of quick lime, which kill in the air; one ounce of litharge of gold, and half an ounce of lead ore. Reduce the whole to powder, and sift it. Wet a small quantity of this powder with rose water; rub the hair with it, and let it dry again in the air, or dry it with cloths a little warm. This powder does not stain the skin, like the wash made of aquafortis and assaying silver.
It has been asserted that the hair may be stained black by impregnating it with lard, mixed with minium and lime; but this composition, we apprehend, would produce only the chestnut color of which we are here speaking. The hair may likewise be turned black by different vegetable substances boiled in wine, with which the head is to be washed several times a day; but this operation ought to be continued for some time. The substances usually preferred for this purpose are, leaves of the mulberry, myrtle, fig, senna, raspberry, arbutus, artichoke; the roots of the caper tree; the bark of the walnut and pomegranate; the rind of walnuts, shumac, skins of beans, gall nuts, and cones of cypress. It is also necessary to use a leaden comb. The same object may be attained by using a comb dipped in extract of lead.
The hair, beard, or whiskers, may be turned black by the following composition:—Take the oil of costus and myrtle, of each an ounce; mix them in a leaden mortar; add liquid pitch, expressed juice of walnut leaves, and laudanum, of each half an ounce; gall nuts, black lead, and frankincense, of each a drachm; and a sufficient quantity of mucilage of gum arabic, infused in a decoction of nut-galls. The head, whiskers, and beard, after being shaved, are to be rubbed three times a-day.
The simple means of producing, in a certain degree, the same effects, are the following: namely, the leaves of the wild vine, which not only turn the hair black, but prevent it from falling; burnt cork, roots of the holm oak and caper tree; barks of willow, walnut tree, and pomegranate; leaves of artichokes, the mulberry tree, fig tree, raspberry bush; shells of beans; gall and cypress nuts; leaves of myrtle; green shells of walnuts; ivy berries; cockle and red-beet seeds; poppy flowers, alum, and most preparations of lead. These ingredients may be boiled in rain water, wine, or vinegar, with the addition of some cephalic plants, as sage, marjoram, balm, betony, clove, July-flower, laurel, &c. &c.
From The Art of Beauty; or, The Best Methods of Improving and Preserving the Shape, Carriage, and Complexion, 1825
Grecian Water for Darkening the Hair
Dissolve two drachms of nitrate of silver in six ounces of distilled water, add two drachms of gum water.
Perfume it with any essence you choose, and wet the hair which you wish to dye black. It is dangerous, if applied to the skin; and, though it does darken the hair at first, the black colour is apt soon to become purple. It is often sold at a rack price.
To Darken the Hair
It is recommended in books, but we cannot answer for the effect, first to wash the head with spring water, dip a comb in oil of tartar, and comb the hair in the sun. After repeating this operation three times a day, at the end of about eight days, it is said, the hair will be quite black.
The leaves of the wild vine infused in water are, also, said to render the hair black, and prevent its falling off. Many other things, such as green walnut shells, ivy-berries, poppy-flowers, &c., are recommended for the same purpose.
To Dye the Hair Flaxen
Take a quart of lye prepared from the ashes of vine twigs, briony, celandine-roots, and turmeric, of each half an ounce; saffron and lily-roots, of each two drachms; flowers of mullein, yellow stechas, broom, and Saint John’s wort, of each a drachm. Boil these together, and strain off the liquor clear. Frequently wash the hair with this fluid, and it will change it, say the books, in a little time, to a beautiful flaxen colour.
Coming soon: have that pearly white Regency smile.
For more beauty secrets see Beauty Secrets of the Regency Lady — Have Cheeks like Roses in Bloom