The Antiquity of the Custom of Perfuming the Hair-different Methods of Applying Perfumesantiseptic Properties of the Ingredients-eau-de-portugal-modern Recipes for Perfumes-persian

Essence-Scented Pomades-sachet Powders for the Hair perfuming the hair is a very ancient custom, dating back to the days of the early Egyptians; the Greek and Roman ladies also perfumed their hair, chiefly by the use of scented oils and pomades.

Perfumes for the hair and the body were, no doubt, largely used, not only for their agreeable odours, but for their antiseptic and disinfectant qualities.

Dr. Monin, of Paris, tells us in his "Hygiene of Beauty" that the Egyptians chose resins and aromatics (galbanum, storax, mastic, cedar, myrrh, cinnamon, marjoram, etc.) in embalming, on account of their purifying and antiseptic qualities. Benzoin, the principal perfume of the Oriental incense-jars, conceals a chemical power really disinfectant, due to benzoic acid. This formed an important ingredient in ancient hair perfumes. Camphor, too, was used in making up hair-oils and pomades, and this has an immense antiseptic reputation. A great number of perfumes, notably those obtained from the lauraceae, synanthae, and labiates, contain camphor.

Scenting the hair by fumigation was a favourite method in ancient days. After the hair had been washed, it was dried and then subjected to the fumes from burning aromatic balsams and oils, among the ingredients used being benzoin, myrrh, tolu, balsam, storax, Peruvian balsam, musk, ambergris, sandalwood, and oils of rose, lavender, clove, cinnamon, etc.

The practice of spraying the hair with lavender-water, eau-de- ologne, and other simple perfumes is widely spread, but there are some special perfumes which give distinctive odours to the hair and which are also more lasting. An example of such a scent is eau-de-portugal.

In a French toilet handbook of the early eighteenth century, entitled "Hygiene des Dames" instructions for perfuming the hair are given as follows: "The practice of dipping the comb in perfumed water is very beneficial, particularly if care be taken not to moisten the roots of the hair, as this has been found not to agree with certain individuals. The hair must be brushed with a rather hard brush, dipped by the surface only in a mixture of water and eau-de-portugal. It is to be afterwards combed with a comb that is rather fine, but not so fine as to injure the skin of the head. The brush, again dipped in the eau-de-portugal, is to be used if the hair is naturally greasy; but if dry, then some perfumed pomade will be preferable."

The recipe for eau-de-portugal is then given. "The water," says the writer, " when imported from Portugal, as it sometimes is, soon spoils and becomes sour and muddy. In order to have it fresh and of fine quality, take a pint of orange-flower-water, a pint of rosewater, and half a pint of myrtle-water. To these put a quarter of an ounce of distilled spirit of musk, and an ounce of spirit of ambergris. Shake the whole well together and the water will be ready for use. Only a small quantity should be made at a time, as it does not keep long, except in moderate weather, being apt to spoil either with cold or heat."

Distilled waters for perfuming the hair were very popular. Most of the formulas are obsolete as alembic stills are no longer used. A perfume called " bouquet water," which was used as a spray for giving a delicate odour to the hair, was prepared from this recipe: " Take of the flowers of white lilies and Spanish jessamin, of each half a pound; orange flowers and those of the jonquil and pink, of each four ounces; damask roses, one pound. Let them be fresh gathered and immediately put into a glass alembic with a gallon of clean proof spirit and two quarts of water. Distil off until the faints begin to rise."

Honey Water

Honey-water (aqua mellis) was, according to the " Chemist and Druggist," an ancient preparation made by the destructive distillation of honey. It was used for centuries as a hair stimulant and perfume, and was replaced by a perfumed water made by Mr. George Wilson, a " faithful chemist," for King James II., as follows: Best honey, one pound; coriander seed, one pound; cloves, one and a half ounces; nutmegs, one ounce; gum benjamin, one ounce; storax, one ounce; four vanilloes; the yellow rind of three large lemons. Bruise the cloves, nutmegs, coriander seed, and benjamin; cut the vanilloes in pieces, and put all into a glass alembic with one gallon of French brandy, and after digesting forty-eight hours, draw off the spirit by distillation. To one gallon of the distilled spirit add damask rosewater, one and a half pounds; orange-flower-water, one and a half pounds; musk, five grains; ambergris, five grains. Grind the musk and ambergris in a glass mortar, and afterwards put all together into a large matrass and let them circulate three days and three nights in a gentle heat; then let all cool. Filter, and keep the water in bottles, well stopped.

A modern perfume to be used as a spray for scenting the hair is composed of the following ingredients:

Oil of verbena ......

Oil of bergamot......

12 min. 12 min.

Oil of lemon........

Oil of orange........

Otto of rose........

Rectified spirit ......

12 min. 72 min.

3 min.

4 oz.

A delightfully fragrant preparation may be made up from the following formula:

Oil of orris . . . Essential oil of almonds

Oil of neroli........

Oil of rose geranium

Otto of rose........

Storax, liquid ......

Musk ..........

Coumarine........

Vanilla..........

Essence of jasmin......

Essence of tuberose Rectified spirit ......

1 min.

1 min.

2 min. 5 min.

16 min. 1/2 dr. 1 1/2 gr.

3 gr. 7 gr. 5 dr. 5 dr. 5 1/4 oz.

Mix. The musk is rubbed up with a little water before adding it to the alcoholic solution. Macerate for a week, and filter.

Here is the formula for a famous perfumed spray for the hair, called Persian essence:

Oil of cloves ......

Oil of sandalwood

Oil of lavender (English) ..

Otto of rose........

Oil of bergamot......

Musk (grain)........

Ambergris........

Tonquin bean ......

Orris root( freshly powdered) Rectified spirit, to produce

1 1/2 dr.

3 dr. 3 dr. 2 dr. 1 1/2dr.

15 gr. 1/2 dr.

4 dr. 1 1/2 oz.

40 oz.

The Tonquin bean should be powdered, and the musk triturated with the orris, and placed in a percolator; the essential oils are dissolved in half the spirit and passed through the powders twice, afterwards passing the remainder of the spirit, and finally displacing the spirit with water.

Scented Pomades

Scented pomades have almost gone out of date, yet they are sometimes used, as are also scented oils. The following two recipes for "huiles antiques" are taken from a book of toilet recipes which has been out of print for nearly a hundred years: "Huile Antique du Muse. - Pound in a glass mortar a drachm of musk with four grains of amber, adding gradually, by little and little during the process, eight ounces of oil of behn. When they are well mixed, put the mixture into a small bottle, and, to take up every particle of musk and amber, put into the mortar four ounces of oil of behn, which is also to be put into the same bottle. Put the whole for twelve or fourteen days in a warm place, shaking it every day. Leave it then to rest for one day more; pour off the oil clear, and preserve it in small bottles, well corked, for use.

"Huile Antique a l'orange. - With one pound of oil of behn mix three ounces of essential oil of orange, and put it into small bottles, well corked, with wax over them, to preserve it from the air and prevent the perfume of the orange oil from evaporating. In the same manner you may make Huiles Antiques au Citron, a la Bergamotte, au Cedrat, au

Girofle, au Thym, a la Lavande, au Rosmarin, etc. Take care, as a general rule, to proportion the quantity of the perfumed essence which you employ to its strength."

Millefleur pomade is a modern hair pomade with sweet-scented qualities. It is made from this recipe:

Jasmin pomade......

Cassia..........

White wax........

Tuberose pomade......

Orange pomade......

Rose pomade ......

1 oz. 1 oz. 1 1/4 oz. 2 oz. 2 oz.

Melt together over a water-bath.

Scenting the hair by means of sachet powders is a favourite method, and a very delicate and subtle odour may be imparted by this means. It is advisable to make a dainty cap of very fine muslin, the material being double, with an interlining of wadded silk, thickly sprinkled inside with sachet powder of powerful odour. Any kind of sachet powder may be used according to the perfume required. Either of the following recipes would be admirable for the purpose:

Frangipanni:

Powdered orris root Powdered Tonquin bean

Musk (grain)........

Civet ..........

Otto of rose........

Oil of sandalwood

Oil of neroli........

8oz. 2 oz. 5 gr. 25 gr. 5 mm. 5 min. 5 mm.

Heliotrope:

Musk ..........

Otto of rose........

Oil of bitter almonds

Heliotropine ......

Tonquin bean (crushed) Orris root, in powder ..

1 gr. 2 min.

2 min.

1 dr.

2 dr.

1 oz.

The oils are rubbed with the orris root, the heliotropine is then added, and finally the musk and Tonquin bean.

The scented cap is worn during the night, or for an hour or two in the boudoir during the day. When the sachet powder loses its fragrance it may be easily replaced.