18th century, 18th Century Hairdressing Book, 18th century wigs, publications

18th C. Hairstyling Book – Houston we are GO!

Thanks SO much to everyone who gave me your feedback on the idea of an 18th century hair/wig-styling book!  I got a TON of positive, useful feedback and I really think it’s viable, so I am going to go for it!

I’m still crunching the data I gathered on the survey, and exploring options for images.  I’ve ordered myself a practice mannequin so I can work out the specific styles I want to do.
And there are some things I want to do a bit more research on, like caps — how ubiquitous were they?  Etc.

I even appreciate those who said they WOULDN’T buy the book, because that’s helpful to know!  It seems like those few are more interested in a book on 18th century techniques, which I agree are interesting, but I just don’t see myself (or the bulk of costumers/theater people) wanting to make pomade out of beef tallow and setting curls by baking hair on clay curlers in ovens.  It just doesn’t sound viable.  I’ll certainly be researching how they did it, and including information about that in the book.


My goal is to have the book ready to go for Costume College 2013!

And — what I’m going to do is use Kickstarter, which is a site that allows people to fund a project.  You can donate $1 or $500, depending on the various levels that I set it at.  Obviously I will have the basic “donation” be a discounted price on the book, and you’ll get a copy of the book at this discounted rate for pre-funding the project.  This way I can figure out the cost of the book and essentially pre-sell it… And the way Kickstarter works is that you figure out what your funding goal is, and if you don’t make that goal, nobody’s credit cards get charged — so basically you’d be buying the book, but if for any reason I can’t get enough people to buy a copy and the project falls through, you wouldn’t be out a cent.

So my plan is do more research and figure out hairstyles over the next couple of months, and hopefully do the real work with photography and writing over winter/spring.  I won’t start the Kickstarter pre-sale until I have things pretty firmly lined up with a finish date — so when a lot of the writing is done and I’m starting to work with models, and have a firm end date in site.  So, watch this space for lots more updates!

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  • Reply Cynthia Griffith August 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I’ll have to keep an eye on how things go. I’ve got a problem with too much hair. It’s past my knees and I try to baby it (limited products, no heat). Most of the time, I just put it in a bun and wear a cap. For late 18th century hair, I tried Mme. Lavoisier’s hedgehog/ringlets/long tail look. It was a pain for me to get my ends comfortably curled without causing damage. Bandana/rag curls also made it difficult to sleep and I needed my husband’s help heheh. The second time I wore that outfit, I didn’t even bother curling my ends. I’m also contemplating a way to fold the length up in a flat, looped ponytail fashion, like I see in some images for a different look.

    I’m not sure if you’d be able to include some extra tips for those of us with very long hair as well as for those with shorter hair. I’ve also heard from others who don’t even have half as much length as I do and they still end up fighting with their hair or struggling to find ways that won’t cause damage.

    We’d be very appreciative! Best wishes, and good luck!

  • Reply Lauren R August 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    WOOHOO! This is AWESOME!

  • Reply Sue Bundy August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I think thats a great idea!! I was bummed that I didn’t get into a wig class at CoCo this year and then heard it was not really up to snuff…so still trying to figure out how to arrive at wig(s) for several periods. I lean more towards Civil War events just because there are more of them around here being done- but I’m sure that techniques for 18th century styling could be adapted/ tweaked to arrive at most any period if you have pictures of where you want to end up! I give the idea a resounding “10”!!

  • Reply SassyCountess August 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This is brilliant. I look forward to reading it.

  • Reply Becky August 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    This is such a great idea!!! I do hope you will include instructions/ tips and tricks for us non-wig wearing gals! I tend to be a go-to hairdresser for alot of my reenactor friends, my best friend and I have toyed with the idea of running a “hair salon” at events, we get that many requests. Since we’ve mostly focused on WWII and civil war styles your book would be a great research for 18th C. styles.

  • Reply Joanne Renaud August 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Sounds like an awesome idea! Do you need an illustration or design done for it? If you are, I’m willing to help.

  • Reply Rebecca August 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Since you are going the self-publishing route, I would definitely recommend having the books printed by a “print-to-order” publisher. You get a real ISBN number, you can list your book on Amazon or sell it on your website, but you don’t have to front a large chunk of money, because the printer only prints books when someone orders them. So you could, say, get 100 (more??) printed to take with you to costume college, and if you run out, just take orders! It requires much less upfront investment for you, and you can get a really professional looking book without putting out a fortune upfront. (You also get to keep ALL the profit, and don’t have to share it with anyone!) You could also format it into an e-book, and sell it as an Amazon Kindle book, which costs you even less!

    My mom is in the middle of self-publishing her own Art History Curriculum for home schoolers, which is just as specialized and niche as this book would be – if you want me to get the name of the print-to-order printer she’s using, I will!

  • Reply Natalie August 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Hooray! Count me in for kickstarter funding: great idea. Will keep my eye out for more news,


  • Reply Liz August 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Can’t wait!!!!

  • Reply Elisabeth Franklin August 30, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I’m really excited to see this done. We need books like this for all eras. Good luck!!!!

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