Introducing “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty”

We’re official one month away from the release of our second book, “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty” !

This time last year we were sewing, styling, and photographing with alacrity on new projects for a companion volume to our first book, “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking.”

The new book includes new patterns and instructions for caps, like this organza 1785 “jellyfish” cap.

We wanted to do this second book focused on 18th century cosmetics, hairstyles, and accessories (moar accessories!) because these things are particularly important to getting your Georgian look right, but they’re not easy to figure out!

Big Hair, Don’t Care – Laurie Tavan rocks the super-tall “donut” hairstyle from the 1770s. Learn how it was done the original way….

Hair styling 250 years ago was a world away from how we care for and style our hair today. How did women achieve those really high styles without the aid of hairspray? With Abby’s extensive study and experience into 18th century hygiene, cosmetics, and techniques, we set out to answer this question and many more.

For instance…

Did women wear wigs? Did rats live in their hair? Did they all wear white lead makeup?

How were the frizzy hairstyles done? How long was tall hair actually in fashion? What is a pouf and a hedgehog really?

What is pomade, how was it made, and how was it used? Original recipes, instructions, and tutorials for 18th century pomades, powders, rouge, and lip salve are all included.

The result is something Abby and I are very proud of. “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty” is a step-by-step how-to guide for everything from the shoulders up. We cover:

  • Recipes and directions for making original 18th century hair products
  • How to pomade and powder, crape, and papillote curl the hair
  • Patterns and tutorials for making cushions for the tall and wide styles
  • Step-by-step chapters for styling 8 historically correct hairstyles from 1750 – 1795, using original methods.
  • Patterns and directions for creating caps, hats, bonnets, lappets, and poufs for each specific time period.
  • Instructions for making hair pieces – the chignon, toupee, and buckles.
  • Tutorials, tips, and tricks for working with different hair types.
  • A boatload of research, footnotes, and fascinating tidbits.

Additionally, we worked with Cheyney McKnight to discuss African hair care and styling and how it related to 18th Century Western fashion.

We work with different hair types and textures, and address ethnicity and cultural appropriation in the 18th century.

There is a lot to be found in this book – something for everyone of every level. In the coming weeks I’ll share more about specific ‘chunks’ of the books – the cosmetics and hair care products, the hairstyles themselves, and the accessories.

The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty” is available to order now from any major bookseller. Release/shipping date is July 9, 2019!

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