Sometimes, when confronted with a pile of shiny, new, miracle hair products, it's hard not to wonder if any of it is better than what our forebears used. After all, man did just fine for thousands of years without hair CC cream.
To that end, Hair Days searched through the archives for the best hair products and procedures used throughout history. But before you judge our predecessors, just think about stinky '80s perms, toxic Brazilian blowouts, and this curling iron. If there’s one thing that we can learn from history, it's that people will always be compelled to try odd hair contraptions and dangerous chemicals in the quest for perfect hair. Below, a list of the strangest hair treatments throughout history:
1. Ancient Egyptians: Forget argan oil. According to research on mummies (believed to be from 300 BC), the ancient Egyptians used hair products made of both animal and plant fats. Researchers have also found curling tongs buried with mummies. Good hair-care products are definitely worth taking to the afterlife.
2. Ancient Greeks: Findings have shown that women in ancient Greece used olive oil to condition their hair. Can your modern lab-made silicone or fancy polymer also be used for dipping crusty bread in? No. Ancient Grecian hair oil: a two-for-one.
3. Victorian and Edwardian Periods: The Victorian era was a golden age of “miracle” health treatments. There were tonics and capsules available for everything that ailed you. “Capsuloids Hair Restorer,” a pill marketed for grayness and balding, contained hemoglobin (a protein found in blood) derived from bull blood. And people think snail slime in face cream is gross. Hair-curling tongs that looked like blunt, rounded scissors were also popular. (Curling technology apparently hasn’t changed much since Egyptian times.) Women heated the ends of the tongs in the fire, then wrapped their hair in special curling papers so their hair wouldn’t scorch.
4. Early 20th Century: Vacuums were touted as cures for baldness in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They supposedly worked by creating increased circulation to the scalp. Users had to make a seal around a vacuum cap headpiece with petroleum jelly or beeswax. One inventor even suggested using the device with diluted formaldehyde on your scalp before applying the vacuum cap. Nothing like a toxic scalp facial!
5. Pre-World War II: The Icall permanent-wave machine, a horrifying-looking device, was actually quite technically advanced for its time. The curlers were suspended from a frame via electrical wires so that no electricity or heat directly touched women’s heads. The curlers were heated up, then unplugged before being applied, assuring that no one was accidentally electrocuted. These fell out of favor when the chemical perm was invented in the late 1930s.
6. Modern History: In this brave new world of foils, ombré, and balayage, it’s easy to forget how colorists used to do highlights. Not so long ago (in the '80s and '90s), women would go to salons and suffer through a torture device called a highlighting/frosting cap. This rubbery, tight cap, reminiscent of a swim cap, was placed over dry hair. The stylist then used a hook to pull sections of hair through perforations in the cap. It hurt. A lot. Plus you ended up with "frosted" hair. #neverforget
Most Viewed Stories
Brad Pitt Fights Back Against Angelina Jolie and Her Plot to ‘Destroy’ Him
Looks Like Kate Middleton Is Enjoying the View in Canada
What It’s Like to Be a Female Reporter Covering Donald Trump
The Best Part of Being a Royal Is Getting to Pet Bunnies
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Trump Campaign Manager Accidentally Refers to His ‘Abuse’ of Women on Live TV
Megyn Kelly Roasts Trump’s Campaign Manager for Claiming He Doesn’t Make Sexist Comments
Misty Copeland Did Her Own Makeup for This Ballet Book
Female Chess Players Are Furious About Having to Wear Hijabs at the World Championship in Iran
Blac Chyna Tweets Out Rob Kardashian’s Phone Number As an Apparent Warning to His Fangirls
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Beauty FeaturesVetements Taps Margiela Alum to Join As Collection Director
The design collective will hire Margiela's Nina Nitsche.Democrat PAC Now Using a Pack of ‘Beauty Queens’ to Combat Trump
That’s certainly one tactic to try.Luxury Hotels Are Using Falcons to Protect Celebs From Paparazzi Drones
These falcons are trained to wipe out drones.I Tried Hillary Clinton’s Diet and Now I Sympathize With Her
I was also extremely hungry.The Weeknd Is Working on Some Fashion Projects With Puma
Expect a footwear and clothing collection next year.Blac Chyna Tweets Out Rob Kardashian’s Phone Number As an Apparent Warning to His Fangirls
That’s one way to get the man to change his number.Trump Spokesperson Says Hillary Clinton Has ‘Failed Miserably’ As a ‘Champion for Women’
We can agree to disagree.Kesha Shows Her Support for Miss Universe Alicia Machado After Being Body-Shamed by Donald Trump
“You did not deserve to be shamed by this monster.”A Glimpse Into Marilyn Monroe’s Private Life
Whoopi Goldberg curated intimate portraits of the icon in a new exhibit, featuring photographs by Milton Greene.Nate Parker Addresses Rape Accusations in 60 Minutes Clip
He went on the record with Anderson Cooper.
It’s been only three days but the numbers are bleak.Misty Copeland Did Her Own Makeup for This Ballet Book
She danced for photographer Gregg Delman's new book.Why Do All My Instagram Cats Keep Dying?
When real life encroaches on the virtual.Hunger Casts a Cruel, All-consuming Spell, Study Confirms
It’s stronger than thirst, fear, or social needs.Female Chess Players Are Furious About Having to Wear Hijabs at the World Championship in Iran
The world championship tournament is in Iran, where women are required to wear hijabs.Man in Tech Actually Admits He Was Wrong
Well, this is a first!The Other Kids in Jennifer Garner’s Daughter’s Class Have a Laptop, Why Can’t She?
Jen told Today she didn’t know tweens need computers.How Do You Follow a Great Designer?
Bouchra Jarrar’s first collection since taking over from Alber Elbaz at Lanvin.Alyssa Milano on Football, Spinning, and Why She Hates Eating Alone
The mom of two young kids says wellness is a balancing act.The Best Part of Being a Royal Is Getting to Pet Bunnies
Being a royal kid seems like a pretty sweet deal.