Had Nature been always the kind dame we love to paint her, she had bestowed a love lock or two upon each of us, and in so doing she would have eliminated from our summer one of its most distressing accompaniments-the withered bang, the limp and straightened Hyperion curl a la mode of today. The genre done-up appearance we present when the curl has ally departed from our forelocks is one of our summer agonies, and too well we know how the glory of the hair dresser (be he never so skillful) is eclipsed in one brief half-hour of seaside fog.
It is said that persons with naturally curling hair are always possessed of more lovable and sweeter natures than those with wiry or straight capillary adornments, and small credit to them, say I. On most occasions in this pilgrimage, the fact that we are looking our best is a wonderful incentive to good behavior, and the woman with natural curls can discount her straight-haired sister in the way of appearances many a time and oft. She knows it; why should she not be amiable? Think of the picture a curly-haired woman makes of herself in the surf, with her tiny ringlets blowing and coquetting at every turn. Why should she not reflect complacency of spirit l Look at the straight-haired “miserable” as she endeavors to sneak to her bath-house from her dip, the one thought uppermost in her mind expressed in her stern and wretched countenance: “Oh, my hair, my awful, awful hair, with every bit of wave taken out of it. How like a fright I look!”
The sad sea wave is a merry, reckless trifle compared to the somber, straight-haired, drenched, and desperate looking woman bather,and the hops and yachting par ties! What chance is there for her of the wiry locks if there be a curly-haired girl about-a girl whose hair grows prettier, more irresistible, more dangerously attractive from the very exposure to fogs or exercise, that ruin the looks of the lass with the straight wisps where crimps have been.
It would have been more just, I consider, to have let the beauty of waving locks go unattended by special virtues.
The straight-haired martyrs should have been at least the recipients of the sweetness that is alleged to belong to curls. If we can’t be beautiful we ought in justice to have been created sweet of temper.
When it comes to artificial methods for making the straight hair crooked, or to be more correct, wavy, why there are many so-called curling fluids, curlines, and the like. They are rarely satisfactory, as they all contain gelatinous ingredients and result in giving the hair a stiffness of texture that is disagreeable and unbecoming in most cases. I give a formula for a curline, but I must frankly say I prefer the curls formed by the old-fashioned rubber curlers or even by the curling iron.
Naturally the curling iron must be used with discretion, and care must be taken not to burn the hair.
As good a curline as any is made as follows:
Gum arabic (finest white)….1 ounce. Moist sugar (good)….1/2 ounce. Pure water (hot)….4 pint. Dissolve. To the solution, when cold, add of Rectified spirit…. 2 fluid ounces. Corrosive sublimate (powdered)….8 grains. Sal ammoniac (powdered) ….8 grains.
The last two being dissolved in the spirit before the admixture. Lastly, add enough water to make the whole measure a pint, with a little esprit de rose, eau de cologne, or eau de lavande, to scent it. The hair is moistened with the fluid before putting it in papers or papillotes, or using irons.
HAIR CURLED TO LAST THREE WEEKS
A few years back a hair dresser in Paris acquired renown for a process of permanently curling or waving the hair. The coiffeur liberally advertised, and tho rush to his establishment was something amazing to see. Women waited hours for even an opportunity to make an appointment for “the permanent curling,” and the payment of sometimes ten times the advertised price (five dollars) would secure a few hours advance in the longed for services of the besieged hair dresser, but more frequently engagements were made six weeks ahead. It was certain that a fortune as well as fame awaited the individual who had invented the process for keeping the hair permanently in curl.
Being in Paris I availed myself of an opportunity ardently desired to secure waving ringlets, and, after pleading earnestly, almost tearfully, with the coiffeur’s “secretary” (if you please), I was told that as an especial favor I might have my hair treated one week from the date of the reception of my prayer, if I could be, without fail, at the hair dresser’s establishment at six in the morning. I eagerly promised, and I smile now as I look back on that summer morning and remember with what zeal I arose at daybreak and how to the minute I kept my appointment. The thought of waving tresses, the hope of never again having to wrestle with hot irons and alcohol lamps was exciting, and gave quite a zest to life.
When I reached the celebrated M. Eugene’s shop, I was ushered into a little room. My hair was quickly taken down, and brushed by a young woman assistant. It was then thoroughly moistened with a liquid, after which, with a dramatic gesture, the young person walked to the door at the rear of the room and said: ” Madame est prete, Monsieur! ”
Immediately a small, dark-haired man appeared, bearing two sets of curling irons and a little stove. The irons were heated, and with many a twist and wrench, every blessed hair on my egotistical head was given a curl. The operation was neither painless nor soothing. Quite the contrary. The odor of the liquid as it dried beneath the heat of the iron was offensive. I wondered if I should be permanently odorous as well as curled. It was too high a price to pay even for ringlets. The coiffeur was a stern and majestic gentleman who wielded a curling iron as a king his scepter. I dared not remonstrate.
When the curling was over, his majesty departed, and I was allowed to cool; then my hair was combed and dressed, and I can truthfully say it was curled. I could not have believed there was so much curl in twenty heads of hair. I seemed to have developed suddenly a most wonderful case of mature rickets. My head was four times its size, and I reflected with bitterness that it was guaranteed permanent. When I reached my hotel, my traveling companions shrieked with glee at my Circassian Lady hirsute adornment, and they sang me Lear’s nonsense rhyme about a “bird that was three times as big as a bush.” I was as anxious to get rid of my curls as I had been to acquire them. I accordingly sent for an everyday hair dresser, and had my hair thoroughly washed. Alas! It was permanently curled and no mistake; and later when an eminent French chemist called, and I hysterically explained the sudden swelling of my head, and told him what I had done, I was not much consoled to have him tell me that my hair had been treated with the process used by the pelt mongers (somewhat modified) to obtain and fix a curl in certain skins, and called a “secretage.” The method is to moisten the hair for one-half its length with the secretage which is made as follows :
SECRETAGE OR PERMANENT CURLING FLUID
Quicksilver…. 1 drachm. Acqua fortis …. . 2 ounces, dissolve; dilute before using to half its volume with an equal volume of water. Care should be taken that neither the liquid nor the moistened hair, until it has been subsequently washed, touches the skin. The moistened hair is loosely adjusted into the desired curls by the aid of oiled curl papers (this was not done in my case) and permitted to dry; after five or six hours, the hair is washed and dried, and on being gently combed it will curl or wave. The hair will retain the curl or wave four or five weeks. In my own case it lasted a little over three, despite frequent washings.
The process is highly objectionable, and cannot but be injurious to the hair, although it seems at times to have no immediate harmful effect on vigorous hair. It will permanently curl. I have proved that fact.