Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I can't go out tonight

Bert Hardy 1948

Because I have to wash my hair! For a girl from the 40s this is a completely valid excuse. Washing and setting is an ordeal, so you're probably going to only do this once a week. First brush your hair (100 strokes of course!) If your hair is dry, heat up some oil on the stove and rub it through your hair, massage into your scalp and wrap it up in a hot damp towel. You rinse this out with borax (now known as a skin irritant. You wouldn't have had a shower, so your stuck with a basin. You may not have had shampoo, just regular soap bar or flakes - and not much of it at that (you'll need your ration book!) No conditioner then, so you may have used a homemade treatment of vinegar (for brunettes) or lemon juice (blondes), egg if you're lucky, maybe a commercial spirit tonic or some bay rum. My Good Housekeeping says you then need to rinse it four or five times, until it squeaks. You probably don't have a hairdryer at home so you have to wait for it to dry by itself. This bit takes a while. Beauty magazines recommend sitting in the sun. Then there's the set - this takes even longer! I cheat a bit here and start with hot rollers. After an hour or so, I then set it in pin curls. I use mousse because I haven't got around to going to Circa in Fitzroy to pick up setting lotion. In the 40s you may have made your own with beer or linseed oil. You might go to the hairdressers every three to four weeks for a perm, so you're probably just perking it up. Sadly, my hair has lost all of its natural curl, so I set my hair in pin curls every night - as lots of women did. A bit of a drag but I do it while watching tv. Then tie it all up with a silk scarf to combat the frizz (thanks to the ladies at the Fedora Lounge for that tip). I start this process on a Saturday morning, Saturday being my movie watching day. I then pop a knitted turban on and leave it like that for the weekend. Phew! Pre war ladies would go to the salon about once a week I think.

Modern Beauty Shop 1942

Penny's Beauty Salon, getting a perm. Cold perming came in in the early forties but this scary contraption was still in use.

What a name! 1945


Anonymous said...

I still can't believe your curl is gone (even though I've seen it with my own eyes) - even post haircut? So it wasn't just straightening solution as you suspected?

It's a bit hard to dry your hair in the sun if you wash it at night.

Our shower is out of action atm so i've been having to wash my hair in the bath. Brings back memories of when I was little and mum would wash our hair over the basin. I'm too old tho now it makes my back hurt.

Anonymous said...

(I was just wondering why Gus wahs beig so quiet while I typed that and found he was sucking the side of the computer)

Curvy Kitty said...

Sadly, dead straight. I thought getting it cut might help but it hasn't. No one can explain it. And I just ruined my set by going boxing without pinning my hair up.

Drying your hair in the sun in Melbourne is practically impossible for at least 9 months a year!