The Evolution Of Victorian Era Hair Care

These days, it feels as though there’s always so much to do to keep your hair in top condition. You need to use the right shampoos and conditioners, the right protective treatments for heat styling, and more. That’s not even mentioning dying and cutting hair too.

Back in the Victorian era though, women were putting just as much effort into their hair, if not more. Over nearly 70 years of Victoria’s reign, there were a lot of changes to hair care and a lot of it is different to how you’d look after your hair today. Let’s take a look at what they did to stay fashionable.

The Longer, The Better

While styles did change over the years, it was seen that the longer your hair was, the better. You’ve probably seen photographs of women with long wavy hair, sometimes even touching the ground. There were even a group of sisters, named the Seven Sutherland Sisters, who were famed for their long hair. In fact, they has around 37 feet of hair between them.

They were a musical act in the 1880’s, wearing their hair down as they performed. They even sold their own range of hair care products, showing that celebrity endorsements were a thing even then. However, the bob came into style in the 1920’s, and they were considered very old fashioned then.

While the Sutherland Sisters wore their hair down on stage, it wasn’t the common thing to do. Little girls would wear their hair down, but women aged 16 and up were expected to put their hair up in up dos. ‘When women were photographed with their hair down, that was often to express intimacy within the photograph’ says journalist Lleyton Ware, from Brit Student and Write My X.

Caring For Victorian Hair

As women were growing their hair long, they of course had to take care of it. There were some modern solutions, such as giving hair trims in order to remove split ends. There were other methods though, that you’ll be glad were kept in the past.

For example, in the 1860’s it was common to boil bran in soft water, rub some white soap into the water, and then rub the mixture into the scalp with the corner of a towel. Women were often recommended to use egg yolk on their scalps too, to protect them.

Hair washing was recommended monthly, with ingredients such as borax, olive oil, and water. After you’d washed your hair, you needed to dry it out as water was thought to allow ‘disagreeable odors’ to arise from the hair. To dry it, you could brush powdered starch through it to remove that water.

With crimped and curled hair, it was important to set them so they wouldn’t come out on hot days. To do this, women would use a mixture of egg yolk and pomade to do so. It’s interesting to note that women’s bonnets were recommended to have oiled silk linings, to protect the bonnet from hair treatments.

Victorian Hair Styles Through The Decades

As the Victorian era was so long, hair styles evolved for women. Here’s a run down of what was popular at the time.

Usually, up dos were used as they were for ‘respectable’ women. The shape of the hair was important, as it would be taken into account with the rest of a woman’s silhouette. If a woman needed more volume, she would add false pieces made from human hair to create the look she needed.

‘Sometimes these hair pieces were known as “rats”, and were created from hair from the woman’s hairbrush’ says writer Samina Coffey, from 1 Day 2 Write and Origin Writings. ‘They would be packed into the hair, to add that volume.’

Hair was usually twisted into intricate styles, and the styles themselves changed over time. The sides of the hair were sometimes curled too. Over time barley curls, or ringlets, came into fashion. Up dos had padded sides, in order to match the width of the skirts that were fashionable.

As you can see, while a lot of Victorian hair care was very different to modern styles, there’s still some aspects that are relevant today. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of having long, wavy locks?

George J. Newton is a content writer, and business development manager for Academic Brits and Thesis writing service. He contributes to sites such as Buy coursework, too. His wife is his biggest supporter when it comes to his writing.

For Tradition’s Sake? Nontraditional Wedding Trends Today

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For Tradition’s Sake? Nontraditional Wedding Trends Today

Weddings are often steeped in tradition from the Victorian era and beyond. Today’s traditional weddings still feature things like white bridal gowns and diamond rings. But, many brides and grooms are opting to step outside the box and try different things when it comes to their big day.

The very act of having a wedding is a way to celebrate two people coming together for a lifetime commitment. That’s a tradition that will never change, and one that has been around long before the Victorian era.

But, the celebration itself has adapted over time. From small ceremonies to parties that last all night, wedding trends come and go, but some seem to stick around longer than others. While we could certainly talk about some of the traditions that have stood the test of time, it’s also fun to see how weddings have evolved over the years.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some nontraditional wedding trends today, and how some traditions are okay to break.

It’s A Nice Day for a … Non-White Wedding?

Billy Idol may have been speaking to tradition when he sang about a white wedding, but nowadays, many brides are going the nontraditional route with their dresses. Throughout the 20th century, the white wedding dress was a symbol of virtue and purity. It represented a lifelong commitment to one person, so much so that the dress itself often became the star of every wedding.

Today, some of those stigmas and stereotypes have passed. Now, brides are breaking tradition with the colors and styles of their dresses. Millennial brides are taking the reins on this trend. Nonwhite dresses are available almost everywhere. They offer a way to save money and be unique. Some brides are ditching the dress altogether and opting for pantsuits and rompers.

Colorful weddings are becoming more popular than ever as stark white is fading into the background. It’s not just the dresses that are changing, it’s the overall color scheme. Some of the most popular wedding colors this season include:

  • Dark blue
  • Champagne
  • Gold and white
  • Burgundy
  • Pink
  • Dark gray
  • Green

By choosing a wedding dress that isn’t white, brides can create a whole color palette for their wedding that all fits together rather than standing out from everything else. For many women, having that playful pop of color is a great way to express themselves on their special day.

Ditching the Diamonds

Diamond rings are still a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands. That’s a tradition that’s likely to never go away. But, some couples are exploring different jewelry options, and it’s becoming quite the trend. Diamond ring alternatives can often be more affordable. But, they’re also more unique and can showcase your personality. Some of the most popular diamond alternatives are:

  • Sapphires
  • Aquamarine
  • Morganite
  • Ruby
  • Amethyst

Some sustainable-minded couples have even started to opt for more eco-friendly ring options, like bands made of stainless steel, wood, or recycled materials. The days of needing a flashy ring to show off are over as environmental concerns become more important. Thankfully, many of these alternatives are just as beautiful as any diamond, and by being a bit nontraditional in your selection, the jewelry can feel more personal and intimate.

WiFi Weddings

Obviously, Zoom gatherings weren’t a thing in the Victorian era. But, in the age of COVID-19, they have become a way of life. Throughout the pandemic, many couples opted for virtual weddings so family members and friends could safely “attend” online. Some still held small ceremonies while others got married in their own homes with family and friends watching via video.

Even now, as things are starting to go back to normal, online platforms have become a more permanent option for weddings. It’s likely a trend that is here to stay as long as technology keeps advancing.

Why?

It’s not uncommon for families to live in different parts of the country – or the world. It can be difficult (and expensive) to bring everyone together in one place.

By using an online platform and giving everyone a link, you can “stream” your wedding for those who can’t be there in person. Doing so allows them to take part in your event from the comfort of their own home. You can get as creative as you’d like with virtual ceremonies and celebrations, inviting your digital guests to eat with you, or even having a “digital dance party” by playing the same song and having everyone dance in front of their cameras.

Wedding trends will continue to change and adapt over time. While some traditions will undoubtedly continue to stick around, breaking away from certain things doesn’t have to be a “faux pax” in any way. After all, at the heart of every wedding is a couple wanting to celebrate their love, and there are countless ways to do that.

Victorian Hosting & Home Etiquette Still in Use Today

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When most people think of the Victorian era, proper etiquette and manners are some of the first things that come to mind. Many of the etiquette standards set in that era are still in use today and hold cultural relevance.

Of course, some things have changed. But, it’s interesting to see the influence the Victorian era had on the things we consider normal today, especially when it comes to hosting and basic etiquette.

So, what are some of the lessons that have stood the test of time? Everything from how you greet and treat your guests to how your home is decorated has a deeper background than you might realize.

With that in mind, let’s dive into this interesting section of history.

The Host With the Most

Entertaining guests and hosting dinner parties are standard practices today. Whether you’re getting your extended family together for a meal or inviting friends over for something more upscale, certain things make for a good host/hostess, including:

  • Making sure everyone is comfortable
  • Being prepared
  • Making your home visitor-friendly
  • Helping everyone find what they need and get around
  • Making everyone feel welcome
  • Taking care of everyone’s dishes and offering refills for individual glasses

Invitations are still the norm in many cases, too. That’s something that goes well beyond the Victorian era, but one thing that has changed is the casual nature of invites. In the Victorian age, invitations had to be formal, or they weren’t taken seriously. Today, it seems like creating an online event is enough to get more people to attend your event. Setting a date and time and explaining what to expect in your invitation is proper etiquette and can get more people to attend your event. But, it’s interesting to see how the formalities have changed.

If you’re a guest at a party, there are also things expected of you – many of which stem from the 1800s, including:

  • Letting your host know how long you’ll be staying
  • Bringing a gift
  • Conforming to “house rules”
  • Lending a hand
  • Being grateful

When it comes to how to be a good host or guest, many of your actions will reflect on proper etiquette. So, how has that changed since the Victorian age? What has stayed the same?

Mind Your Manners

It’s easy to assume people had better manners in the 1800s, but so many of the etiquette rules put in place during that era are still used today. Some of those rules, especially when it comes to attending events, include:

  • Not coming by unannounced
  • Dressing for the occasion
  • Being your best self in front of others
  • Striking up conversations

That said, some basic etiquette rules have changed dramatically over the years. It’s rare to see a gentleman “bowing” to a lady in the street these days. According to the 1875 publication the Manual of Social and Business Forms, this type of bowing was acceptable. But, it also might cause rumors and gossip to start.

Interestingly enough, that same manual takes a somewhat criticizing tone when it comes to small talk, suggesting that “no topic of absorbing interest may be admitted to polite conversation” for fear that it might cause discussion. Imagine if that rule still rang true today! No one would have to worry about heated political debates at their next dinner party. Perhaps it’s a rule that should come back around!

Hosting and Houseplants

When you’re hosting a get-together, you want your house to be clean, decluttered, and accessible for everyone. Most people also put a bit of extra effort into making it feel “homey” and decorated the way they like.

In recent years, there has been a boom in houseplant popularity when it comes to home decor. The COVID-19 pandemic caused another rise in plant-palooza as people were spending more time at home and got into new hobbies and endeavors. There are actually many benefits to bringing nature indoors. It helps to reduce stress, improve air quality, and boost your mood. Plants are also a great way to make people feel more comfortable and welcome in your home.

But, plant fever is nothing new. It was going strong in the Victorian era, with certain exotic plants seen as prized possessions – many only fit for royalty. If you live in a small home or apartment today and you have plenty of plants, know that once upon a time that would’ve been a prominent status symbol!

Whether it’s decorating, hosting, or simple etiquette and manner lessons, the changes and similarities between today and the Victorian era are interesting to look at. So much of what was done in the past is still relevant today. Even though some of those old rules have fallen away, they have undoubtedly influenced our culture, society, and the way we interact with each other.

How The Victorian Era Changed The Way We Look At Our Pets Today

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It’s hard to imagine a world without pets. Dogs are considered to be man’s best friend. Cats are cute and cuddly companions. Even more unconventional pets like mice, lizards, and Guinea pigs have become major parts of American homes.

But, it wasn’t always that way.

While owning animals for different purposes has been practiced for centuries, the Victorian era changed the way we look at pets. Up until the 19th century, it wasn’t common to have an animal in the home with no real purpose other than companionship. People certainly weren’t researching how to care for kittens or spending money on dog toys the way they do today.

So, what is the history of pets, and how did that change during the Victorian era? If you’re a pet owner today, you can probably thank the 19th century for changing the way we look at our furry friends. Let’s dig deeper into those changes, and why they matter so much in terms of the dog or cat you might have by your side while you’re reading this.

The Early History of Pets

Research has shown that humans have likely kept animals as some form of entertainment for centuries. It’s believed that dogs were the first domesticated animals, as research has been published showing wolves were domesticated in Europe 16,000 years ago, and in Asia about 14,000 years ago.

These animals weren’t really considered “pets.” Rather, they were more like property, kept around for entertainment purposes or to do a specific job. That didn’t mean those animals weren’t enjoyed by their owners, but it was a far cry from the companionship and praise of household pets we’re used to today.

The real rise of pet domestication in the U.S. began in the early 1700s with the catching and taming of wild animals – including squirrels! Most squirrels were trapped by children who caught them in their nests and attempted to domesticate them. The trapping and taming of wild animals didn’t stop there and carried on into the Victorian era, though it combined with a view on pets that was starting to become a bit more exclusive.

What Changed in the Victorian Era?

As the Victorian era rolled in, pets were already well-established for some people. It was their purpose, however, that started to change. It was during the 19th century that it started to become more acceptable for animals to be companions. That included letting them into the home and allowing them to be a part of the family. Many people started to see pets as a way to add moral value to a family and build character for children.

During the Victorian era, people became more interested in a domestic lifestyle, and having a pet seemed to naturally fit. Pets were especially encouraged for young boys, as they were thought to develop a sense of responsibility.

But, the pets of this era were slightly different than the cat curled up next to you or the dog at your feet right now. Poor and working-class families essentially had to trap their own pets. Many of them captured wild birds to keep in cages or rabbits to keep in hutches. Middle- and upper-class families popularized pedigree dog breeding. It was seen as a sign of status and wealth, and something that is still practiced today.

With the rise of pet popularity in the Victorian era, people became interested in keeping more unusual or exotic animals. There were even manuals on how to care for such wild pets, including:

  • Squirrels
  • Monkeys
  • Badgers
  • Owls
  • Ravens

While the types of pets people have may have changed, pet owners of today owe a lot to this era for changing the narrative of what domesticated animals can be.

Today’s Pets are Parts of the Family

Today, 67% of households in the U.S. have some type of pet. Many of those furry (and sometimes not so furry!) friends are considered to be part of the family. The pet industry is booming, reaching $99 billion in 2020. Needless to say, we’ve come a long way in how pets are perceived and what they’re used for. The 21st century has even seen a rise in animal rights, with several notable court cases featuring animals as plaintiffs.

There are still “working animals,” of course. Working dogs are extremely common in farming, police work, search and rescue, and even for therapeutic purposes. But, many pets are simply constant companions within a household. People now take the time to pet-proof their homes and provide things like:

  • A bed
  • Toys
  • Food and water bowls
  • A litter box/training pads
  • Training treats

People care for their pets so much today that many even take out pet insurance to help cover veterinary bills. In centuries past, the medical care of domesticated animals was rarely a concern. Today, pet insurance can cover everything from diagnostic testing to emergency care.

It shouldn’t be surprising to see how far the role of the household pet has come throughout history. Centuries ago, people couldn’t stay away from the idea of domesticating animals. While the purposes have changed, the desire for companionship hasn’t, and we owe a lot of how pets are viewed and treated today to some of the changes that took place in the Victorian era.

Buying a Home as a Single Person: What You Need to Know

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Buying a Home as a Single Person: What You Need to Know

Buying a home used to be associated with getting married or starting a family. But, that isn’t the case anymore. Marriage rates are declining in the U.S. and people are choosing to stay single longer. So, you certainly don’t have to be in a relationship to buy a home. Homeownership has long been a part of the American dream, whether you’re a couple or not.

You can obtain that dream on your own, and make a solid investment while you’re at it.

That being said, buying a home on your own can feel a bit intimidating, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. How do you know if you’re ready? What does the market look like? What should you know before you even make an offer?

Let’s cover a few things you should know before you buy a home as a single person. The more informed you are about the process and what to expect, the easier it will be. If you find that it’s the right option for you, you’ll be moving into a place of your own in no time.

Are You Ready to Own?

It’s not uncommon for single individuals to choose to rent over buying a house, and it has its benefits. You don’t have maintenance issues to worry about on your own, and you’re not “tied down” to one place. But, there are so many additional benefits to owning your own home that often outweigh the pros of renting. Some of those benefits include:

  • It’s a good long-term investment
  • You’ll build equity
  • Tax perks
  • More privacy
  • Greater stability

You can also put more into a home you buy, making upgrades that could increase its value if you ever decide to sell.

Once you’ve decided that you want to buy, your next question should be if you’re truly ready. Take a look at your financial situation. Crunch the numbers and be realistic about your budget. If buying a home is something you truly want, you might have to cut back elsewhere (including that morning coffee run for a $5 latte). In addition to thinning out your expenses, consider getting a roommate while you save up, or even moving back home with your parents for a few months, if possible.

In addition to knowing if you can afford it, it’s also important to know whether you can handle the everyday responsibilities of a home. If there are any maintenance issues, they fall on you. Emergency repairs? That’s on you, too. You can be as prepared as possible, and the unexpected can still occur at any time. Make sure you’re ready for that before you commit to anything.

Getting What You Need

You’re officially ready to start house hunting and eventually make an offer. But, do you have everything you need to get started? Even if you know your budget and how much you’re willing to spend, there are a few things you’ll need to move the process along:

  • A real estate agent
  • A lender
  • Insurance
  • A real estate lawyer

It’s also important to make sure you qualify for a loan. Having a good lender to work with will help, but you can figure things out ahead of time and make life easier on yourself. Conventional down payments on a home are 20%. If you’ve figured out your budget and don’t have that kind of money, don’t stress. You may qualify for an FHA loan if you have a decent credit score and you can verify that you’ve been consecutively employed over the last two years.

Getting organized before you start the process will make things less complicated for you. In the end, when you finally make an offer and finalize the buying process, you’ll be more prepared to deal with the pile of paperwork that follows because you’ve done so much leg work already.

Don’t Buy “Too Much House”

Some people say single people should look for homes that are attractive to married couples and families. Why? Well, you might decide to start one of your own someday. Beyond that, though, family-style homes are usually more desirable. You may be able to eventually sell your house for a profit.

But, a larger home may not be within your budget right now, and that’s okay. There are some risks to buying “too much house.” You won’t have much equity, your payment could be eating up too much of your income, and you might not be able to afford to keep up with general maintenance. If that’s the case, it’s unlikely the house will ever be in good enough shape to upsell anyway.

Buying a house you can afford is crucial. While staying within your current budget is smart, you can always choose to take on a side gig to earn extra money. You can earn money freelancing through sites like Upwork, Elance, or SimplyHired and work as much or as little as you want to bring in extra income every month. Freelancing has its risks, of course, since there’s no way to determine how much you’ll make. But, if you have a “dream home” in mind and are willing to work harder to afford it, a side hustle is a great way to do it.

Don’t let the concerns over buying a home for the first time consume you. It can be a lot of work, but it’s well worth it, in the end. Keep these ideas and tips in mind as you go through the process, and you can be confident in every step of the buying process.