The Beauty of Hair in Ancient Egypt.

Hair has been from ancient times an important element for preserving a good- looking. Recently in the blog Studia Humanitatis it was published a very interesting post about how the concept of a woman’s beauty is closely related to hair.

He mentioned a passage of The Metamorphoses of Lucius Apuleius, in which he falls in love of Fotis and concretly of her hair. The author notices then that hair is the main point of beauty of women for two reasons: 1) because it is the first thing that men see and that it is shown to them;2) becasue, if the clothes embellish the body, the hair do the same thing with the head. In fact, Apuleius dedicates a big paragraph for exalting the sensuality of a long hair, the gesture of plaiting it, the hair loose… and he says that a bald women could never be attractive. (Lucius Apuleius, The Metamorphoses, II, 8-9).

Woman with mirror. Papyrus of Torino. Ancient Egypt

Woman with mirror. Turin Papyrus. Photo: www.gettyimages.es

This though can also be applied to Ancient Egypt. For Egyptians the appearance was such a important thing, that cosmetic remedies were included in medical texts. For instance the Edwin Smith Papyrus includes prescriptions for renewing the skin and rejuvenating the face (Pap. Edwin Smith, V. 4, 3-8).

Hair was not an exception in Ancient Egypt among beauty cares. Egyptians were concerned, as nowadays, about grey hair and baldness. The Papyrus Ebers shows many remedies against these two problems, always using the natural components they had.

Man with sparse hair. Painting from the tomb of Horemheb. XVIII dynasty. Louvre Museum. Ancient Egypt.

Man with sparse hair. Painting from the tomb of Horemheb. XVIII dynasty. Louvre Museum. Photo: www.lessingimages.com

For growing hair Ancient Egyptians rubbed the scalp with a mixture of tooth of ass with honey, also they rubbed the bald area with a mixture of fat from different animals (lion, hippopotamus, crocodile, cat, snake and goat).
Ancient Egyptians fought against accidental alopecia rubbing the affected area with quills of hedgehog warmed with oil or with a mixture of lead and froth of beer.

 

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