Apr. 22nd, 2013

helblonde: (Flocke and seal)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] joycebre and I made a foray into some of Giambattista della Porta's hair dying recipes (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] falzalot who provided the braid to experiment with).

We made homemade lye* and quicklime. That was cool. We tried a few abbreviated recipes, without much success. That is, the recipes went together fine, but I haven't seen any changes in hair color. The recipe with the saffron and honey smells fabulous, though. I have locks of hair soaking in just lye and just quicklime and haven't seen any changes in color despite 20 hours in the baths.

We'll be shopping before we try again, to see get some of the herbs and such we didn't have this time around**.

I have seed on the way to grow some of the plants. I have a suspicion that the fresh celandine, for instance, will give us a good hit of yellow. Who knows? Perhaps we'll find that they were putting yellow pigments atop their hair color, rather than bleaching and coloring as we do today.

Let's do some more science!

* By the way, home soapmakers, I have about a gallon of lye. If you need some, let me know.
** We'll skip the recipe that calls for Gold Litharge. It turns out that's just a fancy way of saying lead oxide. We're not keen on the saltpetre, vitriol, sal ammoniac, and cinnabar recipe, either.

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