King's 8th Light Coy.

The Light Company of the King's 8th Regiment of Foot has been established as a means through which members of the living history community can develop and share their knowledge, skills and research in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Reenactors, those taking part in this hobby, are welcome to participate and learn what they can from those around them, while contributing for the betterment of all.

Those new to the hobby who are interested in portraying a more progressive side of the Revolutionary War era, will be warmly welcomed and provided with the necessary guidance and resources to participate as full, knowledgeable members of the Light Coy.

Representing the Light Company of the 8th, this group will participate in a variety of events across North America and beyond, though emphasis will be placed on the Great Lakes expeditions and events, covering the historical actions of the Light Coy. and the 8th, at large. 

Hair and Makeup - Part 1 Introduction & Original Sources

As a followup to the presentation I lead at the Battle of the Flockey at the Old Stone Fort Museum recently, I wanted to make a few blog posts delving a bit deeper into the topic of hair and makeup in the 18th century. I will try to post one per week. Today’s post will be a brief introduction including some of the primary sources I have used to gather my information.

To start with, when identifying tools used in hairdressing and wig making, The Wigmaker’s Art in the 18th Century- Translated from the French ‘Encyclopedie of Denis Diderot’ from 1776 is an excellent source.

Plate II

Plate II

Here is a link to the plates that contain the tools and techniques used in wig making according to Diderot:

A list of hair dressing manuals from the period are:

Plocacosmos: or the whole art of hair dressing, by James Stewart (1777)

An elaborate hairstyle taken from Plocacosmos

An elaborate hairstyle taken from Plocacosmos

The art of hair dressing, or, the ladies director/The art of hair dressing, or, the gentleman’s director, both by Alexander Stewart (1788)

A treatise on the hair, by Peter Gilchrist (1770)

A treatise on the hair, by David Ritchie (1770)

Each manual contains slight variations on how to dress the hair, but also gives other useful information which I will go into in a later blog post. Plocacosmos also contains recipes for various hair powders, including pink, blue and yellow coloured powder.

Original books that are available that contain makeup, beauty and hair dressing recipes are:

Toilet of Flora, by Pierre-Joseph Buc Hoz (1779)

Abdeker: or, the art of preserving beauty, by Antoine Le Camus (1756)

The New London Toilet: or a compleat collection of the most simple and useful receipts for preserving and improving beauty (1778)

Finally, a wonderful book that I recommend which has a step-by-step guide on how to dress your hair in different 18th century styles is Kendra Van Cleeve’s ‘18th Century Hair & Wig Styling’. It is a modern book, but the author is very thorough in her examination of period hair styles and how to recreate them.

Coming up next, I will talk about some original and replica tools that I own that can be used to recreate period hair and makeup.

My assistant and I getting ready for my presentation. Please excuse my appearance, I wasn't feeling well that day.

My assistant and I getting ready for my presentation. Please excuse my appearance, I wasn't feeling well that day.

Note: Some books that I mentioned are available for free online, here are a few links to them:

New London toilet:

Toilet of flora:


Peter Gilchrist’s Treatise on the hair:

Edit: I have since found more books on the subject and will add them here. Firstly, A Dissertation Upon Head Dress, by an English Periwig Maker from 1767. I have also found two french manuals, but unfortunately haven’t found any translations of them. They are, L’Art de la Coeffure des Dames Francoises and Traite des Principes de L’Art de la Coeffure des Femmes by M. Lefevre, Maitre Coeffure.

© King's 8th Regiment of Foot - Light Company - 2019