Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bandoline, a 19th Century Hair Preparation

Bandoline is intended to be used as a fixer for the hair and for other similar uses. The word, bandoline, comes from the French word bande, or bandeau, meaning a "band" or "belt", because the hair has to be kept in position by a band of thin cloth or better, a bit of old lace or gauze, to allow the air to come in contact with the hair until completely dry. Line comes from the Latin linere meaning "to smear".


The Bandoline was used to plaster the bangs onto the forehead into what was known as "Montague curls", a flattened type of curl, the Bandoline itself was a gummed viscous liquid that worked much in the way of today's mousse or hair gel. These Montague curls were also known as "beau-cachers" during the 1860s and "spit-curls" in rural New-England.


The earliest mention of the word Bandoline was used in Dicken's Mugby Junction.


The secret of Bandoline was to wait until the Bandoline was dry and then comb out the Montague curls, which resulted in soft, pretty and graceful rings.


In some Victorian photographs, you can see the usage of Bandoline on women's bangs. Even though the Bandoline was meant to be brushed out after it was dried, we can see from photographs that some women didn't brush it out, and either didn't have enough time, or enjoyed the look of the glossy, flattened bangs.

Bandoline was made up of quince seeds and water, it was often perfumed with rose or violet essences. It could also be tinted.


"If bandeaux are worn, the hair is thoroughly brushed and frizzed outside and inside, folding the hair back round the head, brushing it perfectly smooth, giving it a glossy appearance by the use of pomades, or oil, applied by the palm of the hand, smoothing it down with a small brush dipped in bandoline." —The Book of Household Management

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