Magazine article The Spectator

ANCIENT AND MODERN - Bad Hair Days

Magazine article The Spectator

ANCIENT AND MODERN - Bad Hair Days

Article excerpt

The footballers Rooney and Giggsy are doing a Donald Trump and spending thousands of pounds on their bald patches. Poor darlings!

But they are not alone. The topic was of such interest in Rome that the emperor Domitian even wrote a treatise on it. So too did Cleopatra.

The doctor Galen (c. ad 129-216) quotes from Cleopatra's book on 'Adornment' as follows:

'For bald patches, powder red sulphuret of arsenic and take it up with oak gum, as much as it will bear. Put on a rag and apply, having soaped the place well first.

I have mixed the above with a foam of nitre, and it worked well.'

But you can do better than that, she goes on.

'The following is the best of all, acting for fallen hairs, when applied with oil or pomatum; acts also for falling off of eyelashes or for people getting bald all over. It is wonderful.

Of domestic mice burnt, one part; of vine rag burnt, one part; of horse's teeth burnt, one part; of bear's grease one; of deer's marrow one; of reed bark one. …

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