Instruction Manuals

Let me guess, you were out shopping when you spotted the coolest bottle of vintage product, or you just had to have that funky beauty shop equipment piece. But when you got home and really looked at it, didn't you wonder, how did they use that?

If you were like me, you thought, "Hey, I'll just contact the company that made it and they can tell me how it was used!" But when you started calling and emailing, you found that the company switched hands several times, was no longer in business, or that the company no longer carries that product information in their archives.

Well, I'm here to say that hope is not lost. I went through all my old documents and products to bring you the rare instructions and manuals on how to use that product or piece of equipment. The photos below come from scans from the instructions and manuals that I bought and received.

Before I go any further, I must caution you: using any old product on one's hair may have disasterous results, as the chemicals may have decayed over time. Please don't use any electrical equipment without first consulting an electrian. As with any instructions or guides, please use common sense and note that you following the instructions at your own risk. These instructions and manuals are provided for educational purposes only.

A Ton of Recipes of many Varieties of Shampoos, Tonics, and Etc from the 1800s thur the 1950s
Are posted on the HCF Blog on January 5th, 2011

Nu-Gloss Tint Rinse, 1940
Rinse hair free from shampoo. Dissolve ONE SPOON OF NU-GLOSS (or any brand unless they have directions that tell you otherwise) into one and one-half pints of WARM water. Pour solution with a cup over hair back and forth SEVERAL times. DO NOT rinse with clear water after application. PAT DRY. Don't Rub. // One 3 oz container of this stuff provided over 40 applications.

Hair Button Curlers
1. Wash hair. Lightly towel dry. Add setting lotion or hair gel to hair for longer lasting results.
2. With hair damp, place the small, flat end of Button Curler firmly against the head.
3. Wind strand of hair smoothly around the Button Curler.
4. Fold top of Button Curler over hair. The entire Button Curler will be held securely.
5. Repeat above steps with the rest of the Button Curlers.
6. Sleep with them overnight, wear them all day, or sit under the dryer for 30-minutes to an hour, for the hair to dry.
7. Result: perfect, professional pin curls.
You can purchase Button Curlers on or, my favorite, at

There is no way I can compete with this fablous chapter on fingerwaving at To access the next page, click on the page.

Fingerwaving with Combs
If you are having trouble fingerwaving with your fingers and one comb, maybe using several combs will help. These instructions come from the How to Wave Your Hair with Wildroot Wave Set Powder pamphlet.

Stanhome Shampoo, 1952
Wet hair thoroughly. Apply small amount of Shampoo and massage well, developing billowy lather. Rinse well with clear water. Repeat at least once for best results.

Making a Marcel Wave with Subpedo Iron
instructions submitted by: ChancePinup
First, there are two kinds of Marcel Wave irons: ones that had an electric cord attached, and others that needed to be heated up either on a hot stove, iron heater, or other method such as an oil lamp. Second, these directions can be used with both kinds of Marcel Wave irons.

Open the clamp and put the rounded part either on top or under a layer of hair (whether you want a wave in or a wave out). I usually put the rounded part on top and pressed it down into the hair and then created the ridge part with wave clips. So, let's say put the round part on top. Take the flat backed side with all the scary teeth and put that under your hair. Now, the next step takes some analyzing and deciding before hand, but I'll put the step here. That flat backed piece slides forwards and backwards with the metallic arm. The teeth drag your hair along the rounded piece creating the waves that go forwards and backwards. This is what people don't normally achieve doing it with their hands. They normally just do waves and ridges and don't focus on the forward-backward wave. So now that you've pulled your hair one direction with the clamp, re-clamp it about a inch down so you can clip the space in between with a wave clip to create the ridge. Now start with the teeth clamp in the same position you finished in on the last wave so when you push it it'll drag your wave in the other direction. Keep going until you run out of hair.

Warnings: I burned my head A LOT when I first got mine. It takes some precision and skill to hold the hair away from your head in the clamp to not slide a steaming hot piece of metal across your scalp. You also want to make sure you get enough hair. This Marcel Wave iron needs to be pretty hot (more than a normal curling iron) to create solid marcel waves and not just soft waves.

Solo Red Top Curlers
Click to access the instructions on how to use Solo Red Top Springless curlers.

TipTop Curlers
Click to access the instructions on how to use TipTop curlers.

How Mix Wildroot Wave Set Powder
Don't you wish they printed the ingredients on the packaging? It might be fun to learn what "wildroot" is. Here are the instructions for making the permanent wave solution.

Bu * Tee * Wave Home Permanent Set
These instructions are the best instructions on how to do any type of cold wave perm.

Richard Hudnut Quick Home Permanent, 1956
These instructions show you how to wind up your hair and how to give yourself a home perm.

Deb Creme Cold Wave How to Use Permanent Wave Kit
Click to access the front page.
Click to access the back page.

Facts You Should Know about Caryl Richards Pro * Jet Speed Processing Machine
Click to access the information sheet on how to use the Pro * Jet Speed Processing Machine

Parts List & Assembly Instructions for Your Pro * Jet
Click to access the assembly instructions on how to set up your Pro * Jet processing machine.

General Electric Feminaire Hair Dryer HD-8
Click to access instructions on how to use this bonnet hair and nail dryer.

The New Empress Permanent Wave Machine Helene Curtis
Click to access the 2nd set of pages.
Click to access the last set of pages.

Paul C. Rilling's Permanent Wave Machine, 1935, 1936
You'll find his patent and instructions on its use HERE and HERE.

Phalon's Instantaneous Hair Dye, 1887
Please do NOT try this at home. Recipe for this hair dye is found HERE

Hair Invigorator, 1887
Please do NOT try this at home. Recipe for this hair invigorator is found HERE

Oxmarrow-Pomade for the Hair, 1887
Recipe for the Oxmarrow-Pomade is found HERE

Pomade for the Hair, 1861
Recipe for the hair pomade is found HERE

Barber's Shampoo, 1887
Recipe for this shampoo is found HERE

Razor-Strop Paste, 1887
Recipe for this razor-strop paste is found HERE

Rolls Razor, 1937
Learn more about the Rolls Razor, and download its instruction manual.
This website tells you where to buy new parts.

Fingerwave Lotion #1, 1940
This recipe is for educational purposes only; do not try this. 1 dram = 1 teaspoon
1 to 2 ounces quince seed
1/2 dram boric acid
1 dram formaldehyde
1 gallon water and perfume
In a gallon of boiling water, put the seeds and boric acid, boil about half hour and allow to stand overnight. Strain and add formaldehyde and perfume.

Taking the Permanent Wave Out, 1940
Taking the Wave Out:
If the permanent machine wave perm is too kinky, this remedy will take the kink out, leaving soft and natural waves. This formula will not harm or dry out the hair. Follow these directions:
1. Start the permanent wave over again.
2. Take larger meshes. (If you wound 36 meshes, wind 26 this time).
3. Rub with a good soluable olive oil or paraffine oil on the hair. DO NOT USE ANY WAVING SOLUTION.
4. Wet the sachets lightly with water.
5. Heat to the boiling point.
6. Remove the heaters immediately and unwind when hot. Wash with lukewarm water and rinse with vinegar.
The permanent wave or kink can be taken out only by the same temperature of higher than that at which it was put in. This process will give excellent results if it is executed with great care.

How to Give a Permanent Wave Machine Perm, 1950
All the scanned pages from a 1950's cosmetology book from the United Kingdom. These are the best instructions in how to give perms using the spiral and croquignole permanent wave machine methods, as well as how to give cold wave perms, special wraps and windups. Click HERE to view these pages.

How to Give a Perm with a Permanent Wave Machine & How to do a Water Fingerwave, 1931
All the scanned pages from a 1931 cosmetology book from London. This guide is one of the BEST for showing how to give a perm with a perm machine -- many perm machines are discussed. The fingerwaving section is pretty good too. Click HERE to view these pages.

How to make your own salon or barber cape
If you're having trouble finding the cape in a color or fabric that you want, maybe you should try making your own cape. At, you'll find instructions on how to make your own salon/barber cape.

Instructions for the Helene Curtis UniPerm Precision Perming System Designer Edition
On the front of the machine, it reads:
Clamps are ready when all dots have turned dark brown.
After all curls have been covered with clamps, turn time dial to "starting position."

Top of the machine reads:
Use only UniPerm lotion and neutralizer with the UniPerm System. Other perm formulas are far too strong to used with this system.

When replacing clamps on unit, put 4 mini clamps and 3 jumbo clamps per column. The 3 jumbo clamps go from the bottom up, and the 4 mini clamps go above those.

The back of the machine says:
IMPORTANT: To achieve perfect perm results every time, in terms of both curl and condition, you must use ONLY UniPerm Lotion and Neutralizer. Conventional perm formulas are far too strong to be used with this system.

1. Turn heat switch to "ON" position BEFORE giving pre-perm shampoo.
2. Shampoo hair. Remember to part hair for conventional UniPerm partings (approximately 1") and wrap strand in center of rod so clamp will cover all the hair.
3. Clamps should be sufficiently heated when wrapping is complete. Check before saturating.

(NOTE: Bottom clamps take longer to reach proper temperature.)
4. When clamps are ready, saturate entire head, then place a clamp over each curl, covering all hair.
5. Turn processing timer to "STARTING POSITION" indicated next to dial.
6. When processing timer reaches "PROCESSING COMPLETE" (bell will sound), remove clamps.
7. Rinse lotion thoroughly and towel blot curls.
8. Neutralizer 5 minutes, remove rods, massage 1 minute, then rinse.

There should be 63 clamps total, colors yellow, brown, and orange. There should be 27 large clamps, and 36 smaller clamps.

Directions for Using Pro-Curler
Grab your Pro-Curler and come bobby-pins with no protective ends and read how to use your new tool.

How to use Baldwin's Modern Marcellers
Grab your rubber Marcellers, rubber bands, and a comb and read page 1 and read page 2.