How Women Of The Tudor Era Looked After Their Hair

How Women Of The Tudor Era Looked After Their Hair
How Women Of The Tudor Era Looked After Their Hair

Video: How Women Of The Tudor Era Looked After Their Hair

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The last of the Tudor dynasty, Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland, had a reputation for being a well-groomed, clean lady. Surely she washed herself quite often, at least more often than other people of that time.

How women of the Tudor era looked after their hair
How women of the Tudor era looked after their hair

In the Elizabethan era of the Tudors, the image of ideal beauty was a woman with blond hair and snow-white skin, which was complemented by red cheeks and red lips. Queen Elizabeth achieved this perfect beauty with white makeup. She had natural red hair that matched the beauty standard of the time.

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And when a woman of the Tudor era sought pale skin, blush on her cheeks, her hair became the next object of her attention.

Hair coloring and wigs

Women actively dyed their hair, but used materials for these purposes that would shock most modern beauties. Since light, and even better, red hair was considered the ideal, many girls strove for this color. To achieve blond hair, they usually used urine with lime or a mixture of caraway seeds, saffron, celandine and oil. All of these expensive ingredients only a few could afford, so for most, urine was the only remedy available.

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To dye the hair red, henna was used, which was also used to paint the nails. Unfortunately, the staining and bleaching processes were not perfect. Often, women got quite unexpected shades, from platinum blonde to carrot red. In addition, the bleaching process severely damaged the hair, making it dry and brittle.

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Wigs have been a popular alternative to the laborious and not always effective dyeing process, again only for the wealthy. In addition, wigs were popular with those who could not dye their hair blonde, but still wanted to be fashionable.

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Many Tudor noble women preferred to wear fake hair strands rather than exposing their scalp to toxic mixtures. Wigs were also the last chance for balding women.

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Elizabeth I herself was very fond of wigs. At the time of her death, there were at least 80 wigs in her collection, despite the fact that her natural red hair color was already perfect.

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Those who were happy with their hairstyle and hair color sometimes adorned their hair with gems, pearls, ribbons and combs anyway. Some even wore veils over the pointed hats that were popular at the time.

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Hairstyle

Hair styling was just as important as coloring. Women of the Tudor era wore long hair, which was usually hidden under some kind of headdress. Both Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon had hair so long that one could sit on it. However, such chic curls were usually hidden under a headdress or hood. On special occasions such as coronations or weddings, women were allowed to show their long, flowing hair. This applied to Anne Boleyn at the time of her coronation, as well as to Queen Elizabeth I.

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Long, loose hair of a young girl was considered a sign of virginity and the bride's favorite hairstyle on her wedding day. After a woman has achieved the status of a married lady, her hair is combed up or hidden under a headdress.

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Long hair was usually tied up in a bun to which a variety of hats could be attached. The side strands of hair were getting a lot of attention as it was the only uncovered area. A high forehead was considered a sign of beauty and to achieve the desired effect, the hair, namely the bangs, was plucked as high as possible.

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By the time of the Elizabethan era, curly hair was in vogue. This was achieved by curling the hair with hot tongs. And it was this hairstyle that Queen Elizabeth I loved most of all.

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Interestingly, some particularly complex hairstyles did not unravel for weeks or even months.It is not surprising why the heads of the nobility became a real breeding ground for lice and fleas, which were combed out using special combs.

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Medicines for head lice, which have existed since at least 1526, consisted of olive oil mixed with Rhine wine and mint. Alternatively, you could grease your hair with pig fat mixed with sulfur, mercury, wine and mint.

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Care

Frequent shampooing was considered hazardous to health and especially for women, given the time required for complete drying. There was a high probability of catching a cold and dying, so they washed their hair more often in the warm season and extremely rarely in the winter. Before the invention of shampoo, 400 years remained, so the hair was washed with ordinary soap.

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Most Renaissance soaps were made from animal fat and salt refined from alkali. The combination of strained and cooked fat produced a soft, jelly-like soap, and the addition of salt produced a solid soap. This soap looked like a brown-gray mass and practically did not foam on contact with water.

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Herbs and aromatic oils were added to expensive varieties, and olive oil was added instead of lard. The cheap soap most likely smelled like old lard. Members of the highest ranks preferred to wash their hair with rose-scented water. No less popular were aromatic oils, which effectively mask unpleasant body odors. And there was something to mask at that time. They were rubbed into hair, hats, or clothing.

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For matted hair, a lard conditioner was recommended. To get rid of the characteristic smell, it was necessary to dip the scallop in water with rose petals, cloves or nutmeg.

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Outcome

Renaissance women were in many ways more natural than modern women. Cosmetics were not considered a necessity, and the clothes were varied enough that even the most discerning lady could express her own style. Although some women wore corsets, they were not as obligatory as in subsequent eras.

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But the ideals of beauty in Tudor times came at a price, and many risked their health to achieve them. For example, in order to avoid sunburn, which was a hallmark of the lower strata of society, the ladies of the court wore special sunscreens made of leather. They often used white makeup, which consisted of vinegar and white lead. This poisonous mixture not only dried, but also damaged the skin, leading to the appearance of purulent wounds.

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Great attention was paid to the hairstyle. A high forehead was ideal, so women who did not have it by nature often plucked the hairline, making the frontal part more expressive. And to make the forehead even more noticeable, the eyebrows were plucked to a barely noticeable line.

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All this was condemned by the church as a manifestation of vanity. But this did not stop the fashion and the ladies were still plucking their hair. Copper or silver tweezers were a common part of the medieval toiletry set.

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