haircuttingfun (haircuttingfun) wrote,

vintage hair recipes

Because I was asked to give an egg shampoo, I looked through all my hair formula recipes from the late 1800s to the 1950s or so.  I have collected many hair tonic, shampoo, etc recipes over the years from old cookbooks, vintage cosmetology school text books, friends, and the internet.  I'm posting these here so that way I can reference them much easier.

The following recipes and formulas are shared for entertainment and education.  They are NOT recommended for actual use.

Recipe measurement equivalents are given at the end.

Castile or Savon de Marseille 72% Oil:
12 ounces soap powder
1 gallon boiling water
Cut in small pieces or use powdered soap.  Pour over one gallon of boiling water.  Allow to stand over night, strain and use. 
This shampoo is for general use.

Cocoanut Oil Shampoo:
6 ounces of cocoanut oil soap (powder)
1 gallon boiling water
Cut in small pieces or use powdered soap.  Pour over one gallon of boiling water.  Allow to stand over night, strain and use. 
This shampoo is excellent for after the permanent wave.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate:
7 ounces sodium lauryl sulphate
1 gallon hot water
5 ounces sulphonated castor or olive oil
Pour a gallon of hot water into the lauryl powder and dissolve.
This shampoo without sulphonated oil is excellent, especially before a permanent wave.

Shampoo for Oily Hair:
3 ounces powdered castile or olive soap
1/2 ounce sodium bicarbonate
1/2 ounce potassium carbonate
1 dram borax
1 quart boiling water
Cut in small pieces or use powdered soap.  Pour over one gallon of boiling water.  Allow to stand over night, strain and use. 

Shampoo for White Hair:

4 ounces concentrated liquid soap
1/2 dram violet methyl
Shampoo the hair and rinse with clear water.

Soapless Shampoo:
50% sulphonated castor or olive oil.
50% hot water
Perfume to suit.
This is a simple but excellent shampoo.

Phalon's Instantaneous Hair Dye:
1 ounce crystallized nitrate of silver
1 ounce concentrated aqua ammonia
1 ounce gum arabic
6 ounces soft water
To crystallized nitrate of silver, dissolved in concentrated aqua ammonia, add gum arabic and soft water. Keep in the dark. Remember to remove all grease from the hair before applying the dye.

Barber's Shampoo Mixture:
1/2 ounce of carbonate of ammonia
1 ounce borax
1 quart water
2 ounces glycerine
3 quarts New England rum
1 quart bay rum
Dissolve the carbonate of ammonia and borax in water; then add glycerine in the New England rum, and bay rum. Moisten the hair with this liquid; shampoo with the hands until a light lather is formed; then wash off with plenty of clean water.

Bay Rum:
1 gallon French proof spirit
6 ounces extract bay
Mix and color with caramel; needs no filtering.

Dye for White or Light Eyebrows:
1 ounce of walnut bark
1 pint of water
lump of alum the size of a filbert
Boil walnut bark in the water for an hour. Add alum, and when cold, apply with a camel's-hair brush.

Fine Sweet Powder for the Hair:
1 pound starch
1/2 pint rosemary water
Powder of Damask Roses
4 grains Ambergreece
Take one pound of the best starch you can get, put it into a Basin with Rosemary water, as much Rosewater, stir them well together with a Spoon, then dry them well in the Sun, then take the searced Powder of Damask Roses, and four grains of Ambergreece, mix it well with your Starch, and sift it fine.

For Dandruff:
4 ounces glycerine
5 ounces tincture of cantharides
4 ounces bay rum
2 ounces water
Mix, and apply once a day and rub well down the scalp.

Hair Invigorator:
2 pints bay rum
1 pint alcohol
1 ounce castor oil
1/2 ounce carb. ammonia
1 ounce tincture of cantharides
Mix them well. This compound will promote the growth of the hair and prevent it from falling out.

Hair Wash:
1 penny's worth of borax  (1 tablespoon)
1/2 pint of olive oil
1 pint of boiling water
Pour the boiling water over the borax and oil; let it cool; then put the mixture into a bottle. Shake it before using, and apply it with a flannel. Camphor and borax, dissolved in boiling water and left to cool, make a very good wash for the hair; as also does rosemary water mixed with a little borax. After using any of these washes, when the hair becomes thoroughly dry, a little pomatum or oil should be rubbed in to make it smooth and glossy—that is, if one prefers oil on the hair.

Macassar Oil for the Hair:

a quarter of an ounce of chippings of alkanet root
8 ounces sweet oil
60 drops tincture of cantharides
10 drops oil of rose
60 drops neroli
60 drops lemon
Take chippings of alkanet root, tie this in a bit of coarse muslin and put it in a bottle containing eight ounces of sweet oil; cover it to keep out the dust; let it stand several days; add to this sixty drops of tincture of cantharides, ten drops of oil of rose, neroli and lemon each sixty drops; let it stand one week and you will have one of the most powerful stimulants for the growth of the hair ever known.

Hair Invigorator #2:
1 pint strong sage tea
1 pint of bay rum
a quarter of an ounce tincture of cantharides
1 ounce castor oil
1 teaspoon rose
To a pint of strong sage tea, a pint of bay rum and a quarter of an ounce of the tincture of cantharides, add an ounce of castor oil and a teaspoonful of rose, or other perfume. Shake well before applying to the hair, as the oil will not mix.

Oxmarrow-Pomade for the Hair:
1 marrow bone
1/2 pint of oil
10 cents' worth of citronella  (1 ounce)
Take the marrow out of the bone, place it in warm water, let it get almost to boiling point, then let it cool and pour the water away; repeat this three times until the marrow is thoroughly "fined." Beat the marrow to a cream with a silver fork, stir the oil in, drop by drop, beating all the time; when quite cold add the citronella, pour into jars and cover down.

Razor-Strop Paste:
sweet oil
flour of emery
Wet the strop with a little sweet oil, and apply a little flour of emery evenly over the surface.

Tincture of Cantharides:
40°C pure ethanol
catharides, secreted by the male blister beetle, Spanish fly, and cardinal beetles
Put cantharidin in a jar and a spirit of 40°C pure ethanol is added.  The jar is closed and left to stand for 2-3 weeks. It is shaken every once and a while.

Egg Shampoo:
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ounce water
1/4 ounce borax
Apply as a liquid soap, rubbing into the scalp and hair.  Rinse with warm clear water.

Dry Shampoo:
50% soap powder
30% borax
15% sodium lauryl sulphate
5% sodium bicarbonate
Rub this mixture into the scalp and hair, then brush it off until all powder is out of the hair.

Brightening Shampoo (for Blonde Hair):
2 ounces hydrogen peroxide (20 volume)
8 ounces liquid shampoo
Rub into the hair and leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse with clear water, followed by a lemon rinse.

Shampoo Tint:
1 ounce usual instant dye
1 ounce hydrogen peroxide (20 volume)
1 to 2 ounces of liquid soap (according to the shade)
Mix this at the time of use -- NOT BEFORE

Vinegar Rinse:
1 ounce cider vinegar
1 pint water

Acetic Acid Rinse:
1/3 ounce acetic acid
1 dram sodium benzoate
1 gallon water
This rinse will give a very high gloss.

Lemon Rinse #1:
2 lemons (strain the juice)
1 pint water
Prepare this rinse at the time of its use.  Rub into hair, allow to stay for a few minutes, then rinse with clear water.

Lemon Rinse #2:

2 1/2 ounces citric acid
1 gallon water
lemon oil
1 dram sodium benzoate

Henna Rinse:
1 ounce natural henna
1 pint boiling water
Mix in a double boiler, strain and rinse hair.  Allow to stay on a few minutes, then shampoo.

Camomile Flower Rinse:
Boil a handful of camomile flowers about ten minutes (boil longer if stronger rinse is wished).  Strain and rinse after shampooing, while the hair is half dry.

Violet Methyl:
1 ounce violet methyl
1 quart hot water
Allow to stand a day or two.  One drop of this solution is sufficient to a quart of water.

Blue Methyl:
This is prepared as above.  It will give blue reflects.

Silvery White:
3 drops Chinese ink (Encre de Chine)
1 pint water
This rinse will not cover the yellow tint of the hair, but will give a beautiful silvery white reflect.  This Chinese ink is of French fabrication.

Fingerwave Lotion #1:

1 to 2 ounces quince seed
1/2 dram boric acid
1 dram formaldehyde
1 gallon water and perfume
In a gallon of boiling water, put the seeds and boric acid, boil about half hour and allow to stand overnight.  Strain and add formaldehyde and perfume.

Fingerwave Lotion #2:
2 ounces gum tragacath powder
1/2 dram boric acid
1/2 dram formaldehyde
1 1/2 gallons water
20 drops oil of cloves
Pour boiling water over the gum tragacanth powder, let it stand until the gum is dissolved, then strain and add the formaldehyde and oil of cloves.

Bleaching Solution:
112 grams peroxide (20 volume)
10 grams soluble oil
5 grams ammonia, 28%
Mix this solution at the time of use.  If white henna is to be added, put in enough to make a loose paste.

Spray for Burns:
1 dram tannic acid
5 grams sodium carbonate
3 ounces water

Discoloring of the Yellow Tint:

If the peroxide (20 volume) and ammonia render the hair a reddish yellow tint, the following formulas will make the hair snow white.

Solution #1:

2 ounces potassium permaganate
1 quart distilled water
Dissolve the permaganate in the hot water, but do not strain, and use it cold.

Solution #2:

9 ounces concentrated sodium bisulphate
1 quart distilled water
Wash the hair with castile shampoo, then rinse it with two teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate to a quart of water.  Follow this with clear water and dry, then carefully wet the hair with Solution No. 1, using a brush or a piece of cotton.  Leave it on from five to ten minutes.  The hair will take a brown color, and when it is dry apply Solution No. 2.  The hair will discolor; then rinse the hair with clear water.  Repeat this operation until the hair is perfectly snow white.  Use the violet methyl rinse to finish.

Taking the Wave Out:

If the permanent machine wave perm is too kinky, this remedy will take the kink out, leaving soft and natural waves.  This formula will not harm or dry out the hair.  Follow these directions:
1.  Start the permanent wave over again.
2.  Take larger meshes.  (If you wound 36 meshes, wind 26 this time).
3.  Rub with a good soluable olive oil or paraffine oil on the hair.  DO NOT USE ANY WAVING SOLUTION.
4.  Wet the sachets lightly with water.
5.  Heat to the boiling point.
6.  Remove the heaters immediately and unwind when hot.  Wash with lukewarm water and rinse with vinegar.
The permanent wave or kink can be taken out only by the same temperature of higher than that at which it was put in.  This process will give excellent results if it is executed with great care.


Dry Measurements:
16 ounces = 1 pound
16 ounces = 453 grams
16 ounces = 2 cups
16 ounces = 1 pint
1 ounce = 29.57 ml
1 ounce = 28.35 grams
1 dram = 3.5 grams
1 dram = 1 teaspoon
2 cups = 1 pint

Liquid Measurements:

16 ounces = 473 grams
16 ounces = 2 cups
16 ounces = 1 pint
1 ounce = 29.57 ml
1 ounce = 29.57 grams
1 ounce = 8 drams
1 dram = 3.69 grams
1 dram = 1 teaspoon
2 cups = 1 pint
1 quart = 2 pints
1 teaspoon = 60 drops

Boiling Point of Water:

Fahrenheit 212 = Centigrade 100


Formaldehyde.............1/2 to 1 dram to 1 gallon
Sodium benzoate..........1 dram to 1 gallon

Stabilizer (Hydrogen Peroxide)
Acitanilide..............2 1/2 grams to 1 quart


Some of the above chemicals/ingredients needed above are toxic.  I wanted to clarify a couple of them, as I know that these are readily available in drug stores and hardware stores.

Boric Acid
Tags: hair recipes, recipes

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