Crazy and scary beauty tips from the 1920s. Are you people mad?!

We are wusses compared to women back in the day. We worry that ratting our hair too much with damage it, when these ladies were burning it to make it healthier! Looking through my old beauty school book I came across this treatment for the condition of trichoptilosis (split ends) with illustrations and all.

There are a lot of old techniques I highly recommend for getting a retro look, but please don’t do this one. This has bad accident written all over it.

Clipping and Singeing

24. How is the condition of trichoptilosis or split ends treated?

Trichoptilosis or split ends is treated either by clipping or singeing, which removes the unsightly appearance of the split ends, and prevents further splitting.

28. When and why is hair singed?
The hair is singed preferably before a shampoo, because shampooing will remove the unpleasant odor of singed hair, and also the unsightly burned hair ends.

29. Briefly describe the method of singeing a hair bob.
Run the flame of the wax taper over the ends of the hair, held straight through the teeth of the comb.

30. Briefly describe the method of singeing long hair.

The hair is divided into sections about one inch square, each section is twisted tightly and ruffled, and held near the ends. The flame of the wax taper is then moved rapidly all along the hair strands, thereby singeing all protruding ends.

31. How often should the hair be clipped or singed?

The hair should be clipped or singed as often as there are split ends present.

I hope they didn’t treat the condition of trichoptilosis after working with this shampoo. This description is given after the info about egg shampoo, but before the method for dissolving soap curds.

Gasoline Shampoo (Liquid Dry)

1. When is a gasoline shampoo recommended, and how is it given?

This is another shampoo which may be given to a patron whose health will not permit her to have a wet shampoo. Prepare the patron as for a plain shampoo. Gasoline, benzine, carbona, or some like agent, is usually used for the purpose. Slowly pour about a cupful over the patron’s hair, being sure not to rub, brush, or give manipulations of any kind. Lift the hair carefully in sections, as you pour, so that the liquid will cover all parts of the head. Squeeze the excess moisture gently from the hair, then pat gently with a towel. Fanning will assist in drying. Do not use an electric or gas dryer. (Duh!) After the hair is dry, an oil or ointment may be rubbed into the hair to finish the shampoo.

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  1. Wasn’t there a guy in NYC a few years ago who was doing this? Maybe it was more than a few years ago but there was something on the news about it.

  2. Im 30 years old, and the part of setting your hair on fire is actually true. I used to hear these things from my mom when I was small and I know of friends who still used to do it. I also know the use of benzine for lices since some of my mates used to do it, I never used benzine but I used vinegar, my mom would put me lots of it when small and since I used to cry she said “better stay still or I will put you kerosene and that one you wont like!”. lol

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Welcome to the Bobby Pin Blog! I am Lauren Rennells and as a hairstylist, makeup artist, writer, and generally artistic over-achiever, the Bobby Pin Blog is my outlet for thoughts and research about vintage hair and makeup trends and how to recreate them today. Thank you for stopping by!

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