[Hair Story] The history of shampoo

An essential part of your hair regime, shampooing your hair has been important for centuries! From the first versions to the formulas of today, we find out how it evolved over the centuries.

Natural formulae during Antiquity

Already by this period, hair’s vitality (a symbol of beauty and sensuality) was one of our main concerns. Whilst hair treatments were developing , this period in particular marked the start of hair cleansing routines. Clay, plants, henna, animal fats… Each civilisation had its own technique. The Egyptians alternated between vinegar and lemon mixed in water. The Indians opted for soap nuts and plant mixes, amongst other things, whereas in North Africa, soapy clay was combined with dried fruits. In Europe, powdered plants were being used: the first version of dry shampoo!

Eggs and alcohol during the Middle Ages

Although wigs were in vogue during the Middle Ages , the trend was to have long hair. Those who escaped having their head shaved (due to head lice) had the choice of washing their hair (a mix of ash, egg whites and soap). The beauty regime of the period? Using beaten eggs in rum or brandy: a formula which empress Sissi liked to use to boost her XXL locks (her hair went down to her ankles!). Using eggs is a good tip to remember if you find yourself without any shampoo (if you have dry hair only use the egg yolk).

The first signs of soap appeared in the 18th century

We had to wait until the mid-18th century for a notable hair revolution. In Brighton, England, an Indian man, Sake Dean Mahomed, opened baths dedicated to shampoo. Everyone went there to get their hair washed and to have their hair massaged with vegetable oil. At the end of the 18th century, ‘shampoo’ arrived in Europe. It was limited to a mix of melted soap shavings and plant decoctions. An initial step, but the formula had its limitations: it dried out the hair and made it sticky. From 1930, lathering shampoo appeared. At the same time, publicity campaigns promoted the products, even with a recommended daily usage (say hello to cleansing!).

Since then, a variety of ranges have developed: shampoos hydrate, repair, boost the hair’s shine and protect its colour.

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