Victorian Hair Styling

I’m probably required by the universe to get Ruth Goodman’s book on How to be a Victorian. In the above video, Goodman styles a very unlucky volunteer’s hair in the dreadful early part of the century style. Who thought that double part and those swooped braids were a good idea? Seriously? Sadly, I can’t even claim that it’s the worst hair styling idea ever because I grew up in the 1980s and had that dreaded 80s perm, which really was the worst idea in the annals of hair styling. My hair is not meant to be permed. Ever.

The first part describes how good poor Lucy’s hair is for this task: the right shade of blonde, the right length, pin straight, and thick. My first thought was “oh thank heavens, mine is not long enough, yet, brown, and only pin straight if I spend a lot of time with the flat iron. It’s probably too thick to boot.” I love studying the Victorian period, but I’d have made a lousy one or would have been one of those women working for dress reform. Plus, after watching Goodman use gum arabic and vodka as a hairspray, I’m left wondering how many times Lucy had to wash her hair to get the stuff out. Goodman, however, is absolutely delightful, and I know I’ll show this video to students.


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