Hair in Egypt

  • G. J. Tassie
Reference work entry

The ancient Egyptian hairstylist was expected to be able to style hair, as well as cure baldness, make hair (of a rival) fall out, get rid of head lice and cover up the signs of aging by dyeing grey hairs. Ancient Egyptian clients would also require more mundane tasks, such as cleansing and scenting the hair.


The Egyptians used natural dyes which are known to coat and partially penetrate the hair's 6–14 layers of cuticles. These natural semi‐permanent tints do not leave roots as they wash out of the hair, although a virtually permanent tint may be achieved with frequent application. The main colour the Egyptians would probably have wanted to achieve was black, emulating the dark brown colour of their youthful hair. One recipe was an ointment made of juniper berries and two unidentified plants kneaded into a paste with oil and then heated. The natural blue‐purple colouring agent in the plants would rub off on the hair, while the astringent properties of the juniper would...

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  • G. J. Tassie

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