Medieval Hair Care
- So that hair might grow wherever you wish. Take barley bread with the crust, and grind it with salt and bear fat. But first burn the barley bread. With this mixture anoint the place and the hair will grow.
- Cook down dregs of white wine with honey to the consistency of a cerotum and anoint the hair, if you wish it to be golden.
- If the woman wishes to have long and black hair, take a green lizard and, having removed its head and tail , cook it in common oil. Anoint the head with this oil. It makes the hair long and black.
- If, needed, you wish to have hair soft and smooth and fine, wash it often with hot water in which there is powder of natron [Native hydrous sodium carbonate] and vetch.
- Take some dried roses, clove, nutmeg, watercress and galangal. Let all these, powdered, be mixed with rose water. With this water let her sprinkle her hair and comb it with a comb dipped in this same water so that [her hair] will smell better. And let her make furrows in her hair and sprinkle on the above-mentioned powder, and it will smell marvelously.
("De Ornatu Mulierum /On Women’s Cosmetics." in The Trotula : A Medieval Compendium of Women’s Medicine (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2001))
image: Lorenzo Costa, Portrait of a Woman