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Did they have...?
January 2, 2012
4:45 pm
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Mya Elise
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May be odd questions but i'm curious..:

Did the Tudor era have any form of toothbrush, i've read people usually lost their teeth by the time they were in their 20's or 30's; or just had really yellow teeth?.

Did they have perfume? I read that they did.

Did the girls just have hoods or did they have some sort of ponytail or clips? In some movies and TV shows i've seen the women have their hair pulled back without any hoods.

• Grumble all you like, this is how it’s going to be.

January 3, 2012
12:29 pm
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Bella44
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I think they may have had some form of toothbrush, but on the whole oral hygiene was not great and of course they didn't know about things like the bacteria than causes plaque and tooth decay.  I read somewhere (off the top of my head I can't remember where) that it was ironically wealthier people who were more likely to have bad teeth as they had more access to foods containing sugar.  Susan James in her book on Catherine Parr mentions that Catherine was fond of cinnamon pastilles to freshen her breath.

Perfume of a kind was around, things like rose water, but mainly people used things like pomanders filled with spices and herbs to keep bad smells at bay!

As for hair, I'm assuming hair pins were used to keep hair off the face and held securely under headgear.  It rather annoys me when they show women in movies and TV shows with their loose and without a hood as all women in all classes of society usually wore something. It was more acceptable for a women to show her hair if she was unmarried, though.

January 3, 2012
12:44 pm
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Sharon
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Mya,

I have read several ways in which the Tudors cared for their teeth.  Some good and some bad.  I have heard of some using a “polishing cloth.” They did have toothpicks. The toothbrush was around, but It's not one we would recognize.  There was one that was made of wood and one end was frayed. They chewed on mint leaves. I have heard that some rubbed their teeth with quartz rocks.  One story about Elizabeth, which I'm not sure is true, is that her teeth turned black when she got older and the ladies of her court blackened their own teeth. That one is hard to believe. However, Elizabeth did have a penchant for sugar. She always had bon-bons tucked away.  Her teeth would have suffered for it. 

They did wear perfume.  In fact I have seen the recipe for Elizabeth's perfume.  She wore a rose/musk scent. 

If and when the Tudor women weren't wearing those horrid hoods, they used pins and jewels to decorate their hair. More in Elizabeth's time than Anne's. Under the hood they sometimes wore their hair braided, or in a bun at the nape of the neck.

January 3, 2012
4:35 pm
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Anyanka
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Bella44 said:

As for hair, I'm assuming hair pins were used to keep hair off the face and held securely under headgear.  It rather annoys me when they show women in movies and TV shows with their loose and without a hood as all women in all classes of society usually wore something. It was more acceptable for a women to show her hair if she was unmarried, though.

That annoys me too. Married women with loose hair was a big no-no, unless it was a queen wearing a crown.

It's always bunnies.

January 3, 2012
6:40 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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Sharon said:

They did wear perfume.  In fact I have seen the recipe for Elizabeth’s perfume.  She wore a rose/musk scent. 

Ooh, could you post it for us to see? Pretty please and thanks.

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January 3, 2012
7:06 pm
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Anyanka
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here's one version including pictures of the 2009 Chelsea Flower Show( annual flower show which is worth a look if you're in the UK!)

It's always bunnies.

January 4, 2012
5:03 am
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Neil Kemp
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Sharon,

I was reading about this last month in a newspaper article and Tudor women did indeed blacken their front teeth. This fashion did not last long (suprise, suprise) but it was done to prove that they were of a high standing and could indeed afford to have the new luxury good of sugar, which was now being shipped into the country and in great demand from those able to afford it. Those who could afford it soon found their teeth blacken and thus it became the fashion to pretend you had black teeth also as this showed your standing in society. Somewhat bizarre by today's standards, but no more so than some of their teeth cleaning methods. The most common was to rub your teeth with chimney soot, then use chalk or salt to act as a whitener to complete the clean. Another common “recipe” was Mouse Head Tooth Powder, the details of which I will spare you here, but I'm sure you can work it out. All in all, I think I'll stick to my Sensodyne, after all we have enough trouble in this country with dental care as it is.Wink

January 4, 2012
9:45 am
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Sharon
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Impish_Impulse said:

Sharon said:

They did wear perfume.  In fact I have seen the recipe for Elizabeth's perfume.  She wore a rose/musk scent. 

Ooh, could you post it for us to see? Pretty please and thanks.

Impish,

Anyanka has posted the page where the recipe I have can be found.

Neil,

Thanks.  I wasn't sure if the blackening of the teeth was true.  Sorry it is.  Chimney soot and chalk? There are times when I wish I could go back in time.  Then I read this kind of thing and I am so glad I was born in this century.

January 4, 2012
11:46 am
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Mya Elise
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Yeah, sorry if this post seems odd but everytime i brush my teeth or wash my hair i'm always thinking 'How did Tudor people do this stuff cause they were probably limited on tooth and hair products…LOL.

I am 100% with Sharon, I am glad I was born in this century because i don't think i could bear looking at people smiling with black teeth all the time.

• Grumble all you like, this is how it’s going to be.

January 4, 2012
8:26 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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Thanks for the recipe!

 

Take eight grains of musk, and put in rosewater eight spoonfuls. Three spoonfuls of damask water and a quarter of an ounce of sugar. Boil for five hours and strain.”

In Good Queen Bess's time, musk was obtained from a deer carcass hoisted into a tree until it was ripe. Fortunately, musk is now produced synthetically.

Hmm, a more modern version of musk, definitely. 8 grains is about 1/8 tsp, or 1/8 dram. Rosewater is generic. Damask water is rose water distilled from damask roses and has a stronger, more specific rose scent. What gets me is how that itty-bitty amount could be boiled for 5 hours and have anything left TO strain.

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January 4, 2012
8:55 pm
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Mya Elise
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It would be cool if someone made this, like, a buyable perfume at the store. I'd buy it just because Elizabeth liked it. LOL even if I didn't like it.

• Grumble all you like, this is how it’s going to be.

January 5, 2012
4:50 am
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Neil Kemp
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Mya-Elise. said:

I am 100% with Sharon, I am glad I was born in this century because i don't think i could bear looking at people smiling with black teeth all the time.

 

You haven't seen British dentistry in action then?Wink

Seriously though, Mya-Elise, however horrible we may view this it would have been a part of everyday living in those times and regarded as normal. I often wonder what aspect of the lives we live today will be viewed with revulsion in 500 years time?

January 5, 2012
9:20 am
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Sharon
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Impish_Impulse said:

Thanks for the recipe!

 

Take eight grains of musk, and put in rosewater eight spoonfuls. Three spoonfuls of damask water and a quarter of an ounce of sugar. Boil for five hours and strain.”

In Good Queen Bess’s time, musk was obtained from a deer carcass hoisted into a tree until it was ripe. Fortunately, musk is now produced synthetically.

Hmm, a more modern version of musk, definitely. 8 grains is about 1/8 tsp, or 1/8 dram. Rosewater is generic. Damask water is rose water distilled from damask roses and has a stronger, more specific rose scent. What gets me is how that itty-bitty amount could be boiled for 5 hours and have anything left TO strain.

Ha! I was thinking that also.  I would think they probably made several batches at once.  I used to make my own perfume with rose oil and musk.  The musk wasn't synthetic at that time.  It was many years ago. Wink The musks of today don't even come close to the powerful scent of real musk. I'm always dissappointed when I try to make the perfume I use to love. Just not the same.

January 5, 2012
10:05 am
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Mya Elise
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Neil Kemp said:

Mya-Elise. said:

I am 100% with Sharon, I am glad I was born in this century because i don't think i could bear looking at people smiling with black teeth all the time.

 

You haven't seen British dentistry in action then?Wink

Seriously though, Mya-Elise, however horrible we may view this it would have been a part of everyday living in those times and regarded as normal. I often wonder what aspect of the lives we live today will be viewed with revulsion in 500 years time?

 

No, I know, i'm aware that probably was considered normal and 'fashionable' to them back then but of course it's gonna sound odd to me. I'm sure if 16th century people saw what us 21st century folks do they'd think our 'fashionable' and everyday things are werid too.

• Grumble all you like, this is how it’s going to be.

January 5, 2012
10:41 am
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Elliemarianna
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Neil Kemp said:

Mya-Elise. said:

I am 100% with Sharon, I am glad I was born in this century because i don't think i could bear looking at people smiling with black teeth all the time.

 

You haven't seen British dentistry in action then?Wink

Seriously though, Mya-Elise, however horrible we may view this it would have been a part of everyday living in those times and regarded as normal. I often wonder what aspect of the lives we live today will be viewed with revulsion in 500 years time?

Yeah, British dentistry doest appear to have changed much Wink

"It is however but Justice, & my Duty to declre that this amiable Woman was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, of which her Beauty, her Elegance, & her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs..." Jane Austen.

January 5, 2012
3:23 pm
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DuchessofBrittany
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I read somewhere that Tudors used to use a mixture of white wine, vinegar and honey to clean their teeth. Yuck! I am so fastidious about my oral care I could not imagine my constant obession with brushing and flossing.

It was also a popular practice to use cloves and herbs to try and cure toothaches. If these methods did not work, you had to visit the barber to have your tooth pulled. In a time of no dental freezing, I'd stick with the toothache, maybe?

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

January 5, 2012
8:46 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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If you’ve ever had an abscess or cavity hit a nerve, you’d say to pull the damn thing out now! Unbelievable how much it hurts.

As for what people 500 years from now would find disgusting, I’d guess either body odor or body hair or being overweight. They probably will have something for all three and will consider spraying on or rolling on a deodorant nasty, and pity us having to either scrape off hair with blades or wax it off or yank it out with threading. LOL

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          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

January 5, 2012
8:56 pm
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Mya Elise
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OH! I forgot all about body oder and hair. I can't imagine how people could stand close to a sweaty stinky man for a long amount of time. They didn't have deodorant, did they?  Also, did women shave….like in the arm and leg region??

• Grumble all you like, this is how it’s going to be.

January 6, 2012
11:04 am
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Elliemarianna
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I guess they were used to the smell, if everyone smells the same, I don't think it would be that noticeable. Deodorant isn't very good for you anyway… except maybe socially Wink. Women didn't shave until the Edwardian era, when they started to show their armpits in sleeveless dresses, legs when skirts got shorter maybe? I think they used hair removal cream instead of a razor though, no doubt some horrible poisonous concoction. I believe Tudor women plucked their eyebrows though…

"It is however but Justice, & my Duty to declre that this amiable Woman was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, of which her Beauty, her Elegance, & her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs..." Jane Austen.

January 6, 2012
11:33 am
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Sharon
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Although they didn't bathe everyday, they did wash up with a sponge bath.  Loading those tubs would put people off from bathing daily. I think Henry had an in-house plumbing at some of his palaces.  Upper class women's underclothes were changed daily. For the wealthy there were perfumed soaps.  Others used homemade soap.  The women of the Ottoman Empire used a concoction made from almond paste to get rid of body hair.  Other than their eyebrows, I don't believe Tudor women did anything to remove body hair. 

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