The Victorian Lady’s Best Friend

HighlightingHistromfleet-1024x295 Author's Blog Highlighting History

Highlighting Historical Romance with Jo-Anne Roberts on Victorian hair care, particularly the use of bandoline.

Long before the invention of hairspray as we know it today, women used a variety of substances to keep their curls and pesky fly-away strands intact.

In Victorian times, a product known as bandoline was used as a sort of pre-cursor to hairspray for smoothing down stray hair and setting the entire coiffure into place. Unfortunately, commercial brands of Bandoline were often made of toxic materials, resulting in damage to the hair.

As a result, many ladies opted to make their own bandoline at home, allowing the women more control over the ingredients. The 1859 edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book gave simple directions for the homemade recipe.

“…by pouring boiling water over quince seeds and allowing the latter to soak for a few hours, then squeezing the clear part through muslin, and preserving it.”

To give the odorless liquid a pleasing scent, cloves, rose oil, bergamot, or herbs could be added, thus naming the mixture accordingly, i.e. “Rose Bandoline”, “Orange Blossom Bandoline.” The mixture held the hair in place but the clear liquid didn’t show on the strands.

Bandoline was applied to the hair either with a sponge or the fingers. For elaborate styles as pictured below, a sponge application of the product over the finished coiffure would hold it in place.

For ringlets, the lady would moisten her fingers with the bandoline to create and set the curls.

Of course, the women were advised to thoroughly wash their hair once a week to rid the strands of dirt and grime!      

Though bandoline fell out of fashion by the mid 1870s, women would continue to use ‘fixatures’ (wax, grease and sap) through the remainder of the century and well into the next to keep their hair in place until commercial aerosol hairspray became available in the 1940s.

About the Book

Posie: Brides of New Hope, Book Two

Posey Campbell couldn’t understand why her love life, or lack thereof, was of such interest to her family and friends. Having endured one ill-fated relationship, she resigned herself to living out her days as New Hope’s spinster schoolteacher…until an unkempt U.S. marshal with inviting grey eyes and a kiss-me-smile came to town turning her well-ordered life off-kilter.

Glad for a temporary assignment keeping him in one place, Grayson Barrett never expected to find love, let alone a wife, a set of orphans, and a life he’d feared had passed him by.

When a secret from Posey’s past comes to light will Gray’s steadfast love be enough to convince her he is the right man? Or will an old nemesis put an end to their love before it begins?

About the Author

Born and raised in western Massachusetts, Jo-Ann Roberts was fascinated by America’s Old West  and always felt she was destined to travel on a wagon train following the Oregon Trail. With her love of history and reading, she began reading historical romance during high school and college. Victoria Holt, Jude Deveraux, and Roseanne Bittner were among her favorites. Influenced by her father, she fell in love with John Wayne, James Garner, and her all-time favorite, James Stewart and grew up watching Wagon Train, Bonanza and Rawhide.

A firm believer in HEA with a healthy dose of realism, Jo-Ann strives to give her readers a sweet historical romance while imparting carefully researched historical facts, personalities, and experiences relative to the time period. Her romances take her readers back to a simpler time to escape the stress of modern life by living in a small town where families and friends help one another find love and happiness.

When she isn’t creating believable plots and relatable heroes and heroines, Jo-Ann enjoys spending time with her husband, children and grandson. She also enjoys baking, quilting and eating way too much chocolate.

After 38 years in public education in Connecticut and Maryland, she’s now calls North Carolina home. She is a member of  Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina RWA, and the 2018 Winner (Historical Category) of NEORWA’s Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. Her debut romance, Lessie-Brides of New Hope Book One, is a 2020 RONE Award Nominee.

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