a pure white powder, made from pulverized starch, scented with violet or some other perfume, and at one time, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, largely used for powdering over the heads of both men and women. To make the powder hold, the hair was usually greased with pomade. In Great Britain in 1795 a tax of a guinea (afterwards 1 pound, 3 shillings, and sixpence) was put on the use of hair powder, and at one time yielded $100,000 per annum, but it had the effect of causing hair powder to fall into general disuse. The French Revolutions, which overturned so many institutions, contributed also to the people of Europe returning to natural and unpowdered hair. The tax on hair powder was repealed in England in 1869.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia