18th Century Clove Pomatum

$ 10.00

18th Century
Clove Pomatum
Historical Label

Have you ever wondered how women were able to get their hair to do such amazing styles throughout history? Here is one of the best kept secrets: Pomatum.

Pomatum is a perfumed ointment used for the hair, face, and skin. It can be a salve made with beeswax and oils (like spermaceti or almond) which produces a more stable compound, particularly in the heat and for traveling. It can also be made from a combination of scented waters, fats, and oils. After trying various recipes, I settled on a general recipe "To Make Pomatum" from 1739, consisting of wax, spermaceti, and almond oil. This recipe for pomatum ( pomade) has been used for over 300 years with minor changes. These pomatums are exceptional because they are great for the hair, face, and skin, while also travelling well.

In pomatums, clove could be used independently, or occasionally combined with other fruits and flowers. This 1772 receipt for "Another Pomatum for the Hair" lists cloves, lemon, and roses, while "A White Pomatum" uses rosewood, cloves, rose, and orange water. Other recipes from Toilet de Flora left the choice of scent up to preference: "This pomatum is an excellent cosmetic... it is sometimes scented by using rofe-water or Orange-flower in the preparation, instead of Spring-water, or with a few drops of any effence." In addition, to the 1772 receipt above, clove pomatums reoccur in receipt books in 1811, 1842, and 1866.

A little goes a long way. To achieve the curls pictured, the pomatum was massaged into damp hair which was then set in foam curlers over night. This works well to tame fly aways and help set the hair. This pomade will assist in crafting a variety of 18th century styles, from the smoother styles (including the fashionably tall hair of Marie Antoinette) to hedge hog curls, all while conditioning your hair and staying true to the time period.