Ladies hairdresser aboard


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Richard Coplen

Guest
Hey all,
I've always wondered - the gentlemen passengers aboard Titanic had a barber to keep their hair trim and neat, but what about the ladies? Was there a hairdresser aboard? Also...was the barber at the service of 1st class gentlemen only? What about the 2nd and 3rd class passengers? Looking forward to your replies,
Richie.
 
May 12, 2005
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Richard,

Someone more familiar with the crew of Titanic will know better than I as to whether a ladies' hairdresser was employed for first class, but my guess would be that the stewardesses and passengers' personal maids would have attended to the ladies' hair. To be highly aware of fashion was a prerequisite for a good ladies' maid as they were called upon to arrange and accessorize whole wardrobes, which for upper class women in those days was a no small matter.

Hairdressing, except for evening, was a simpler affair than in former years and so many ladies may have fixed their own. As you know the "in" thing in women's hair by 1912 was a variety of parted styles, the hair being drawn more smoothly and closer at the sides, and wound in a chignon or small knot in the nape of the neck. The high-piled, top-knotted "pompadour" style was fading though conservative and certainly modest older women continued to wear the upswept coiffure. These would definitely have required the assistance of maids.

Randy
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Randy makes an important point, many women did their own hair in those days, or had their maid help them with a hair-do ... perhaps for dinner. It is also important to note that in those days women hardly ever cut their hair and generally grew it long. This was 1912 and the affects of WWI were still several years away.

The Barbershop mainly served men for hair cuts and shaving. It also was the souveneir shop aboard a ship. Ladies did not need to shave or get hair cuts, and doing their hair (as Randy said) was a simple procedure, so therefore there was no need for a ladies hair saloon on Olympic or Titanic in 1912.

There was also a Barbershop for 2nd class passengers on E deck. There's a photo of it in the Lynch/Marschall "Titanic Illustrated Hisotry" book. (There's no photo of a 1st class one that I know of).

After the war, in the 1920's there was a ladies hair saloon installed on the Olympic. Women's hair was shorter then, haircuts and other hair-dos were required.

Hope this helps.

Daniel.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Oh Darlings- HAIR yes- I do know a few things here. You must rush to :
http://www.costumegallery.com/hairstyles.htm
click on the 1912 Delineator button. Hair was not washed very often then- usually braided at night, brushed out in the morning and styled. Having had 42 inches of hair once I can tell you the brushing distributes the hair oil. Granny always told me to brush 100 strokes every night. If the crown hair was oily then a little talc or cornstarch was brushed through it. Maids would give those nightly brushings- or paramours! Combs of bone or tortoise held the coils of hair- hats and veils kept things tidy during the day- downy heads slept on satin pillow slips at nights- and I would estimate hair-washing was maybe a once or twice a week thing. Fascinating subject- The Crowning Glory. Once the Flapper bob caught on- and the SHOWER instead of bath tub- hair needed and got more washing daily. Ladies stopped glowing and started sweating- ugh! All those short skirts and athleticism!
 

Tracy Smith

Member
Apr 20, 2012
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South Carolina USA
A little off the topic, but as Shelley mentioned that women didn't wash their hair every day, I'm wondering if people had started to wear deodorant by 1912. If not, things must gave gotten kind of gamey, especially in the summertime.
 
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Richard Coplen

Guest
Hey all,
thanks for that fascinating insight. I'm quite surprised that the ladies did their own styles and even more surprised that they did'nt wash their hair that often. I meant to ask - were'nt there showers attached to the bath-tubs aboard Titanic? I recall seeing a photo of one of these primitive looking contraptions once before though I think the photo was aboard the Olympic. Any ideas?
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Tracy- first one must keep in mind today's American obsessive standard of personal hygiene is confined to a small percentage of the world population. We have become an utterly de-odorized society. The presence of all-natural fibers for undergarments, such as linen, wool, and cotton- which breathe- was beneficial in odor control. Also,Victorian women never admitted to HAVING legs- let alone shaving them- so the compulsion to remove every hair did not come in until the flapper fashions made leg-shaving a neccesity . There were many Victorian concoctions for anti-perspirants. Aloe vera has been around for centuries. Witch hazel, pine soap, parsley and herbal infusions, cornstarch, talc, and camouflaging agents in perfumes and eau de toilette were much used. By Titanic times- yes- there were commercial preparations. These usually contained cocoa butter, beeswax, glycerine and rosewater and an anticeptic/acid herbal essential oil such as rosemary, sage, lemon, lavender. Smithsonian magazine had a nice story about this fascinating topic about 2 years back. The advertisements for these hygiene preparations are charming.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Richard,

The photo you would have seen is from the Olympic, but Titanic would have been no different. Showers, however, aboard these ships were only found in the private bathrooms. So if you didn't pay the toll (i.e. for an expensive suite - or one with a bathroom) you had to make do with the public bathroom facilities, which actually only had salt-water hot and cold taps. Showers and fresh wather were only in the private bathrooms.

Daniel.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Hi Richard,

It may interest you to know that the deck plans for the Britannic, show [for 1st Class] both a Gents Barber's Shop and a Ladies Barber's Shop.

Lester
 
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Richard Coplen

Guest
Thanks guys,
I appreciate all the interesting information!
Richie.
 
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Emily Bisignano

Guest
Cosmetology student here! Hairstyles of 1912 (of what I've seen in period pictures and fashion plates) reflected those of the Roman times quite accurately dipicted in the 1997 movie. Yes, women did have their maids do their hair and it was kept very long. People did only bathe once or twice a week and private bathrooms on a ship were quite a luxory. Showers were around bach then only it was more like a cylindrical cage with a shower head and a seat in the middle.

PS: Read the hair article-intersting. She's right on a lot of things too. Use (NOT SALT) water and a good mild clarifying shampoo for everyday use. Hard water does a number on the hair. Oy do I remember my long locks that I had before!
 

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