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

18th Century Hairstyling Book?

So, a potentially crazy idea… A conversation at Costume College got me thinking about the possibility of writing a book on 18th century hairstyling (and makeup?) — using modern techniques to achieve a historically accurate look, working with your own hair, adding false hair, and wigs.  Now, this could be a lot of work, so it wouldn’t really be worth the time unless people would buy it.

Here’s what I picture:

  • Something along the line of Lauren Rennells’ fabulous book on vintage hairstyling
  • Start with some history, include lots of pictures and source material (if possible?  gotta look into that whole public domain images thing)
  • Go over some basic your-hair styling techniques, like ways to curl your hair, tease, etc.
  • Go over some semi-advanced wig/false hair styling techniques, like different ways to curl/straighten synthetic hair, ways to create volume, ways to create rolls, how to attach wigs/false hair to your head, how to match colors, how to not look like you’re wearing a Wig, how to adapt a wig for different hairlines, etc.
  • Step by step instructions that walk you through hairstyle for different eras — I picture 1-2 styles for each decade, with some info on variations
  • Hairstyles would be those worn in France and England (there’s some differences b/t the two, and lots of similarities) — the English stuff could be extrapolated to those doing American
  • Possibly 1-2 styles that are appropriate for lower/middle classes, but most would be upper class styles — I would talk about ways to tone things down if you’re doing middle class
  • Mostly I’m picturing this focusing on women, but it could also talk about men’s styles
  • Possibly including some brief info on creating an 18th c. makeup look using modern products
So, crazy idea or good one?  I’ve created a survey that I’d love if you would fill out so I can try to figure out 1) if there’s a market for such a thing, and 2) what specifics people would want.  Please feel free to share any thoughts in the survey or by commenting here — I wonder if people are concerned about geography, class, etc…. And my forte is NOT “here’s how this recipe from this 1764 beauty manual makes up,” so again, we’d be talking modern/theatrical techniques — would that work for you?
Please feel free to forward this survey around!  The more input I get, the clearer an idea I’ll have as to whether or not this is a viable idea.

Here’s the survey:  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KDVJZY7

And, in case you aren’t a regular reader of this blog, here’s some examples of hairstyles and wigs that I’ve done:

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12 Comments

  • Reply Perian August 24, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I think it’s a fabulous idea and we’ll all love you fo’evah!

    Drop me a line if you have questions about Rights and Reproduction. I’m fairly well-versed on it.

  • Reply Aubry August 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I would totally be interested! Not only is it a really interesting subject, but I know I could use a lot of help in this department and having a hard copy reference would be so nice!

  • Reply Lylassandra August 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I didn’t have to read beyond the opener before my soul went YES YES OMG. Getting hair right is a major challenge for me and I would LOVE a book like this! (…and so would my sister, since I make her do my hair half the time…)

  • Reply Mistress of Disguise August 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    OMG, PLEASE do this. I would adore having a book like that, and I know sooo many people that would feel the same! You definitely have a yes vote from me!

  • Reply Saraquill August 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Just so you know, on the survey you have, you can only check one answer for question 5, though it says “check all that apply.”

  • Reply Karen August 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Your idea really has my attention because that is such a challenging era for hair for the aspiring costumer. A book like the one you’re describing could help de-mystify those piles of curls and intense bouffants. And of course there’s always the eye-candy element. Lots of photos please- of hair and costumes!! Love it, Kendra!

  • Reply Chris D. August 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I’d buy it! Bonus points if it gave a few tips for those of us with reeeally short hair (anchoring, blending, etc) , or how to best cover up colors that aren’t natural (oh hai blue hair).

  • Reply Isis August 25, 2012 at 3:50 am

    I think thats an excellent idea! Especially if it coever teh early 18thc entury as well, which is rather step-motherly treated. Most (me to) seem to do a simple bun, but there are so many other rather exiting styles.

  • Reply Trystan August 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Lmk if you need an editor / beta reader!!!!

  • Reply Trystan August 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Oh, also, if you haven’t already researched self-publishing, I have a info on several of the popular platforms. Bec. DUDE, THIS IS A BRILLIANT IDEA.

  • Reply Bess Chilver September 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Fabulous idea and I’d definitely be interested in the book.
    Particularly in how to make those perfect rolled curls and how to keep them looking perfect.

  • Reply Anthony Canney September 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Would you be covering mens hair at all? I would actually be really excited about this book if it included some mens styles (I imagine at lot of the process is the same anyways) as well as American styles. While I understand american hair styles were often inspired by those worn in Europe, upon reading “The Politics of Fashion in 18th century American” it appears that by the 1780’s even the French were mocking us for our over done hair, describing us as caricatures.

    Either way though, I’d probably be quite interested.

  • Leave a Reply to Karen Cancel Reply