Some Hair Care

A woman combing her hair.
Paris, circa 1400, from a pen and ink drawing in the Staatliche Museen, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin. 

I’ve been experimenting with some of the recipes in the Trotula for a while now. The Trotula is a manuscript on women’s medicine that originates from the 12th century, but was copied and used during the whole middle-ages. It contains recipes for make-up, anointments and other fun things concerning the female body and looks. One of my favourites is this one below (I think it was Cathrin that brought it to my attention):

When she combs her hair, let her have this powder. Take some dried roses, clove, nutmeg, watercress, and galangal. Let all these, powdered, be mixed with rose water. With this water let her sprinkle her hair and comb it with a comb dipped in this same water so that [her hair] will smell better. And let her make furrows in her hair and sprinkle on the above-mentioned powder, and it will smell marvelously.
– The Trotula

The spices can be found quite easily in Swedish stores, except for the galangal which I had to buy from a webshop. The watercress was the hardest thing to get a hold of – I actually had to buy seeds and grow it myself on my balcony. The watercress I have in my powder I grew last year, but I also have some growing right now for future use.

Part of my not so very well-kept watercress plant

The spices were already ground down to a fine powder when I bought them, but I had to dry and grind the roses and watercress myself. That didn’t turn out perfectly – they didn’t grind down to that fine powder I had wished for. I probably didn’t dry the leaves enough before grinding them. It still works fine when I use it in my hair, but the small bits of watercress and roses can be seen if you looks closely.

I use it as you would use a modern day dry-shampoo that isn’t in a spray bottle, parting the hair and sprinkling some of the powder, and then repeating the process in different parts. Then I massage the powder into the hair, and then sprinkling rose water all over the hair – both at the roots and over the lenghts. After this I comb through the hair and then it’s ready to be made into beautiful and/or funny hairstyles.

It’s not often I get the compliment that I smell nice during events, but when I’ve used this powder it’s a reoccurring comment. 😉

Doing Annette’s hair at my workshop at Battle of Wisby
When I got back to Sweden after visiting Middelaldercentret I felt very inspired and made my own rose water. As far as I’ve understood, actual rose water is derived from distilling rose petals, whereas mine was made by pouring boiling water over the petals and letting it sit for 24 hours and then straining it. It turned out fine, with a lovely colour and scent.

My own rose water 

To end this short post – here is a way to get smooth and soft hair.

If, needed, you wish to have hair soft and smooth and fine, wash it often with hot water in which there is powder of natron and vetch.”
– The Trotula

Green, M. H. (Ed.). (2001). The Trotula: a medieval compendium of women’s medicine. University of Pennsylvania Press

A Visit to the 1910’s

Snart har det gått tre månader av det nya året (redan?!) och jag har inte fått tummen ur att skriva ett blogginlägg till er. Hemskt ledsen för det. 😉 Som ni antagligen märkt händer det mycket i mitt liv.

Almost three months of the new year has passed (already?!) and I haven’t got around to write a blog post for you. Sorry for that. 😉 There are lots of things going on in my life which you’ve probably have noticed.


En av sakerna som hänt den senaste månaden att jag blev vald som ordförande i min reenactmentförening Fraternis Militia Carnis. Yay! I augusti ska vi organisera ett event i Linköping. Det är en stor bankett med torneringar och en mindre fest för de som inte har lust att vara överdrivet uppklädda. Läs mer om det på

One thing that has happened in the last month is that I was chosen as the new chair(wo)man of my reenactment group Fraternis Militia Carnis. Yay! In August were hosting an event in Linköping, Sweden. That event is a big banquette with tournaments and a smaller feast for those that doesn’t wan’t to be too fancy. Read more about it at

En annan sak som hänt är att jag och några vänner besökte Tjolöholms slott och deras afternoon tea i 1910-talet. De har en utställning med en del av kostymen från Downton Abbey just nu och i samband med det har de några afternoon tea där de har serien som tema – man får alltså gärna komma dit i dräkt. Jag, Annette, Cathrin, Ida och Andreas åkte dit i söndags, men dagen började med att vi intog brunch hemma hos mig. Sedan fixades dräkt och frisyrer innan det var dags att åka till slottet och njuta av en fantastisk eftermiddag med riktigt gott afternoon tea. Såklart tog jag en hel del bilder under dagen!

Another thing that happened is that a couple of friends and I visited the Swedish castle of Tjolöholm for an afternoon tea in the 1910’s. They have an exhibition with some of the costumes from Downton Abbey at the moment and therefore had that theme on their afternoon tea. Me, Annette, Cathrin, Ida and Andreas were there this Sunday, but first we had brunch at my place, then got our hair and clothes in order before going to the castle where we had the most fantastic afternoon tea. Of course I took some photos during the day!


Här är några av mina foton – resterande kan man se på min bloggs facebooksida:

Here are a few of my photos – the rest can be found on my facebook page:


Until next time!