These days, we’re relatively spoiled when it comes to the hair products you can find at barbers in Halifax and elsewhere… but back in the day, men had to make do with all sorts of weird and wonderful items in order to keep their wigs under control.
Did you know, for example, that bear grease was once used as a treatment for hair loss? English botanist and herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote way back in the 17th century in his The Physician’s Library that “bear’s grease staies the falling off of the hair”… with the product made using the fat taken from brown bears and then mixed with beef marrow and some perfume to hide the smell. Delicious!
Pomades were also a very popular option for hair styles way back when, first being seen in Roman times when soap was used by some Europeans. They’re a waxy or greasy substance used for styling, giving a shiny and slick appearance – and lasting a lot longer than other options out there at the time.
Again, bear fat was the key ingredient back in the 19th century, but in the 20th lard, beeswax and petroleum jelly were more popular options, used not just on head hair but beards, sideburns and moustaches as well.
According to the Irish Times, trotter oil was also used to help with hair, made from the sheep of feet. And electric oil was a go-to option to help promote the growth of hair and whiskers, preventing baldness, stopping decay, preventing hair from going grey and getting rid of dandruff. The more you know!