Glamour in Glass: curling hair

In the Regency, curls were the fashion. It started as an effort to mimic the hair on statues from Greece and then transformed into its own thing. By 1815, when Glamour in Glass takes place, the hair styles had become fairly elaborate.

If you had straight hair, like Jane, there were a number of things you could try to do to force your hair to curl. Pomades and paper curls were one option and still an effective one.

18th Century Curling tongs in Historic Williamsburg. Photo used with permission from "In the Kitchen"

But if you had courage, you could also use curling tongs. These were basically pieces of metal you heated in a fire and then rolled the hair around, hoping you didn’t burn it off. You might remember them from Little Women when Jo as an unfortunate accident with them.

Curling tongs make an appearance in Glamour in Glass, though without the unfortunate results.

Once dressed, Anne-Marie had her sit as she attended to Jane’s hair. “I suggest that we play at conversation. I will pretend to be another guests and plague you with questions.”

“That seems a good plan.”

Heating an iron in the fire, Anne- Marie began the thankless task of attempting to force Jane’s straight hair into fashionable curls. “I  will begin with the most obvious questions. Where are you from?”

“I am from near Dorchester.” She wrinkled her nose at the smell of heated hair.

Releasing the curl, Anne- Marie took up another section of hair. “Have you lived there always?”

“No. We lived in London these three months past.”

“What did you do there?”

“We created a glamural for the Prince Regent.” To her surprise, Jane realized that since so many of the common terms for glamour were French, she was suddenly possessed of a broader vocabulary than she had hitherto suspected. She chattered happily about the glamural as Anne- Marie worked her way through the rest of Jane’s hair, leaving her with a respectable set of curls.

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