Bizarre Hair Treatments of History

Women have done some strange things to their hair and bodies throughout history, whether through necessity or choice. Some of things done in the name of beauty will make you look at your own routine and be thankful that it’s nowhere near as crazy as some of these:

Hair Removal – These days it’s fairly simple to tidy up that top lip but unfortunately, for the ladies of the Renaissance period and in ancient Egypt, they had to use arsenic and quicklime! Highly poisonous and quicklime is used to make cement. Not a mixture you’d want anywhere near your face! Sandpaper was another option for ladies of the 1940s – ouch!

Hair Washing – Wash your hair daily? Well, it wasn’t even a monthly concern for most women of the past. Each evening, the hair would be let down, old built-up oils would be combed out and then back up in the morning – for months without a good clean! It might have been for the best though as soap before the 1920s was a harsh affair and would have been very damaging on hair if used too often.

Early Gel – Around the 1300s, an early hair gel recipe was made from lizard fat and swallow droppings! It seems that lizards had a tough time back in the 14th century as ladies liked to boil them up in olive oil and use them as hair conditioner! Thankfully, modern products are a little more attractive. For a Gloucester Hairdressers, visit

Bizarre Hair Treatments of History

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Lard – It gets worse! During the 1600s when Shakespeare was busy penning Romeo and Juliet – women used to set their hairstyles with lard. It smelled terrible and brought out the rats so women slept with nightcaps or cages around their heads! Let’s assume Juliet didn’t adopt this method or that play would have had a very different ending.

Wigs – Ever wonder why the men of the 1700s wore big white wigs all the time? Lice were a major problem so many men shaved their heads and chose to wear wigs instead. The height of fashion and status was the whiteness of your wig with the rich using starch and the poor having to use lots of flour!

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Bear Grease – During the 18th century, if you were a fine French lady then you might have been putting this on your locks. If no bear grease was available then a concoction including beef marrow, hazelnut oil and a touch of lemon would have been a suitable replacement!

Cleopatra – It seems that the ancient Egyptians might have been early leaders in the hair care industry. Research on mummy remains has shown that the Egyptians used conditioner on their hair in the form of animal and plant fats. Early curling tongs have also been discovered buried alongside the mummies which shows how important they saw hair care and even wanted to make sure they looked their best in the afterlife!

Olive Oil – The ancient Greeks had the right idea, a 2-in1 hair conditioner and cooking product. Not only could they cook with olive oil but they also used it as a hair conditioner.

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