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 Post subject: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2019, 23:18 
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Remember way back in the Tyrolean years, when several victims had their hair powdered with cornflour? It seems that “dry” shampoo is exactly that, plus fragrance. It’s used when you can’t give your hair the necessary weekly /regular scrub, so you can get a few extra days. I wonder if EBD considered using it?

Along with this, were there any grooming / beauty tips that she passed on? I’m thinking of the switch from Jo being told by Matron not to “mess about with that muck on your skin” to Peggy giving lectures about not having “shining cheeks and pale lips”...


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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2019, 23:43 
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Matron tells Jo not to wear make-up at all. Joan Baker is criticised for wearing too much make-up, too young. Edna Purdon is criticised for not wearing any make-up. It's enough to confuse anyone :lol: .

Curls are good, but only if they're natural. Perms are bad. So is hair dye.

Mountain air is good for the complexion.

Apart from the thing about Peggy and Edna and make-up, the general idea is that natural is best - which is fine if you're got naturally flawless skin and perfect hair, but not so great if you haven't!

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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 02:43 
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I must say that I thought it was stretching it more than a little to claim that the Swiss mountain air would change somebody's sallow skin - Carol Younger's, wasn't it? - to the extent that the new gentian blue uniform would suit her. I remember an art mistress at school who had sallow skin, and I doubt anything would have changed it that much. I would think that Carol's best hope would probably be to get a bit of a tan, if possible, but that was probably not approved of either, with all the emphasis on the big shady hats.


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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 11:34 
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Hair washing doesn't seem to be part of a regular beauty routine. No-one ever seems to wash their own hair. Madge, Jo and Grizel go to Herr Alphen, Madge is advised to go to the hotel for a hair wash when Jo is ill and the girls with cornflour have their hair washed by the prefects. How or when did they get their hair washed? EBD is so good with details but she avoids this one. Perhaps they did regularly go to the hotel or to Innsbrucke. Bubble bath is frowned on as being frivolous (Leader) but baths salts are OK (Highland Twins).


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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 12:54 
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The norm then seemed to be once a week. Helen Forrester's autobiographical novels, set in the '30s, mention that a lot of teenage girls would pair up with a friend and they'd wash each other's hair! Later on, a lot of women would go for a "shampoo and set" once a week - when I was a toddler, in the mid 1970s, my grandfather used to come round to play with me every Saturday morning, whilst grandma (who could see me during the week, whilst he was at work) was having her weekly hairwash! I can't imagine the mistresses all trotting off to have their hair done at one of the hotels or going into Innsbruck every week, though.

Madge is told specifically to have hers "shampooed", and Joey and Grizel have theirs "shampooed" by Herr Alphen - so did they usually just use water? Or soap and water? Liquid shampoo hadn't been going that long when the school opened.

Surely they didn't expect people to wash their hair with cold water, so presumably there was some sort of rota … and people with long hair must have had to sit near the fire to try to get it dry before bedtime. Unless poor Matron was expected to wash everyone's hair, they must have either done their own or gone in pairs … but it is quite frustrating that we're not told!

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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 18:24 
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There's quite a long section in EJO's At School With the Roundheads (1915) about the girls washing their hair, and sitting by the fire with it spread out to dry. But I can't remember her mentioning it anywhere else...

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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 19:07 
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Alison H wrote:
Madge is told specifically to have hers "shampooed", and Joey and Grizel have theirs "shampooed" by Herr Alphen - so did they usually just use water? Or soap and water? Liquid shampoo hadn't been going that long when the school opened.
Wikipedia reckons that liquid shampoo was invented in 1927, but I think that's a bit misleading - I've seen Victorian adverts for shampoo. The difference is that in the Victorian era individual chemists made up their own from boiling up soap shavings and water (rather than using synthetic detergent as the commercial producers did) - or people made something similar at home. Remember how Len tells Mary-Lou that Anna can make hair washes? Hers may have been distilled from plant-based material like herbs, though.


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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 20:52 
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The use of shampoo as a verb was just a current expression. I don't think any of them would use cold water for washing hair. Grizel famously asks for hot/holy water as a final rinse, though she really wanted cold, but couldn't remember the German for 'cold' - or indeed 'hot'...


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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 20:56 
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Hair wash once a week - Saturdays - with a shampoo powder mixed with warm water in my '50s childhood, dried near the fire. Think the first liquid shampoo I remember was Silvikrin


Last edited by ivohenry on 04 Dec 2019, 00:24, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2019, 23:53 
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Boarding school 1953-59, hairwashing certainly not every week, more like once in 3 weeks and if you had your period when it was your turn, you had to miss it. That is why we resorted to the appalling dry "shampoo" which did nothing more than turn greasy hair into white greasy hair....

Drying took place in front of matron's tiny gas fire; one friend got so close that she scorched some of her hair.

The first bottled shampoo I remember was Drene.

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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 00:49 
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They seemed to regularly visit Herr Alphen (surely an error!) as Copper, I think, was taken to him... I don’t imagine they’d travel to Innsbruck for the hairdresser!

Perhaps some people got regular haircuts, and once in a while a treat of a hairdresser. But it’s true that hair washing is not explained. Except for the cornflour incident, as Alison mentioned, the only references were in School At


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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2019, 03:35 
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I can remember shampoo in the late 70s and early 80s being labelled "gentle enough to use every day", and I vaguely remember weekly hair washings as a young kid. I think my grandmother got a wash and set once a week into the 90s.

In a lot of earlier literature, there are references to washing hair on Saturday night, so you'd be fresh and clean and possibly curled for church on Sunday, and references to hair that needed a day or two after washing to settle down and be smooth (due to harsh soaps, I assume). In Seven Scamps, there's a comment about washing Jose's hair, and she's indignant because it was "only a fortnight since it was done".

So less frequently than every two weeks for a full shampoo, presumably distributed through the week at school, but they'd be expected to thoroughly brush daily.

The portrayal of beauty and grooming is very, shall we say, precise in the CS. Being devastatingly beautiful is wonderful, as long as it's totally effortless and you aren't aware of your beauty. Putting any attention into your looks beyond basic grooming is frowned on, but when you turn seventeen, you need to transition to very subtle, tasteful makeup, and you need to have naturally good fashion sense that's not at all trendy.

It's kind of hard on the girls who are a bit plain, or even just average looking, to be limited to keeping clean and tidy and the weather to improve their looks. Nowadays, they'd have a dizzying array of hair products designed for various textures and grease levels (and the freedom to choose a flattering style), acne medication, moisturizers and toners, braces and other cosmetic dental work, concealer, foundation, blush, spandex in clothing. If someone has the money and is willing to put in the effort, they can improve significantly on nature.

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 Post subject: Re: CS Beauty secrets
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2019, 22:55 
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And heaven help you if you have big bushy eyebrows!


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