Hair style and care
Hair as an attribute of beauty
Some older hair treament info like the older generation did.
From the earliest dawn of history men have invested hair with a mysterious halo. Its beauty of colour and texture has supplied inspiration to poets and creamers.
Always it has been the crowing glory of woman—possibly because it s that "secondary sexual appendage," Is Darwin calls it, which most clearly differentiates the sexes in obvious outward aspect. One would indeed be deficient in all sense of the esthetic who failed to see in the curling raven locks, the cascade of golden floss, the soft billows of chestnut brown, or the full flash and glint of burnished copper, a beauty akin to that which colours a flower, or makes of autumn foliage a feast to the eye and a joy to the heart.
True it is that not all women can boast of these pronounced and striking attributes of beauty—that many there are with hair of no more intrinsic beauty than there is in a skein of hemp.
Yet, in the main, the hair of any well-kept, healthy head is essentially beautiful —almost as much so as is the luster and sparkle of a pair of expressive, soulful eyes.
Hair place in history and literature
So marked is this quality that it may be truly said that the fate of nations has often been bound in some mass of glinting gold, or in a braid of blue black texture that may have rivalled the softness and sheen of a blackbird's wing. It is for this reason that a bald-headed Cleopatra, or Madame Pompadour would be an almost unthinkable anomaly. A Helen of Troy or a Lorelei who would have to use a sponge instead of a golden comb, would be as absurd and impossible as a griffon, or a pig with bird-of-paradise wings.
Yet a Medusa, with a thatch of living snakes—so horrid in aspect that merely to gaze upon the monstrosity would turn the beholder to stone—has an abiding place in the literature of the world. The very conception of the Gorgon implies an innate psychological idea of repulsion, which must be reckoned with as a part of the mental reaction of the race. All this but emphasizes the importance of the hair in enhancing or marring human beauty.
The origin of hair
Hair is, biologically considered, of rather lowly origin. It is a lineal evolutionary development of the scales of reptiles. It is adapted from the same horny growth that found its expression in the claws of the giant carnivores, or the horns of the buffalo or the stag. Its texture, so biologists tell us, is merely the form which these cells have taken in adapting themselves to their various purposes and environments.
The structure of the hair, considered from this standpoint, is very similar to the structure of the teeth. The hair follicle is an inversion of the skin, just as the tooth follicle is an inversion of the mucous membrane. It is, like the dentine of the teeth, formed by the conversion of the pulp enclosed in a follicle. The external, or dense part is the softer interior, the pulp.
So the hair, like nails, claws and horn,
consists of horny protuberances from the skin, and shows two parts—the
investing (or horny part), and the medulla (or pithy interior)—varying
in different animals, from the musk deer or the seal, to the hedgehog
or the porcupine.
The exceptions to the rule
The thought may come to mind that some of the most magnificent heads of hair that ever existed grow on heads that know absolutely nothing of cleanliness.
There are, for instance, various negro tribes
in Africa, with hair so thick that the bushy-heads used it to skewer their
pipes in, or as a pocket for sundry personal belongings—they having
no other receptacle about their nearly naked bodies that would serve as
An occasional soaking in one of the torrential rain storms of equatorial Africa, or perhaps a spill overboard from a canoe, constitutes the height of what might be construed as an unwitting contribution to the cause of hygiene. And yet a bald-headed Zulu or Ashanti man is absolutely unknown.
The same is true of the Esquimos, the Aleutian Indians, the Patagonians, and other dwellers in bleak and forbidding climates—climates where bathing would be looked upon as a form of mental aberration.
These facts might puzzle us, if we did not remember that the negro, the Australian aborigine, the Esquimo, and the Patagonian live largely in the out-of-doors. Their heads are never overheated by badly ventilated hats. Doubtless, with peoples in such a primitive state of nature, those wonderful hygienic agencies—sun and air—are enabled to exert their full beneficent power in cleansing and preserving, thus preventing the evil results which would follow similar unhygienic practices in the artificial environment of civilization.
Importance of hygienic hair care
Be this as it may, however, there now exists no doubt as to the value of a fine head of hair in enhancing the beauty of a fine head—or even of a plain head. And while all women cannot be the proud possessors of such a cascade of hair as was possessed, for instance, by Lady Godiva, who rode naked through the streets of Coventry covered only by the flowing mantle of her hair, yet all women can have clean hair, well brushed, free from all offensive odours, and good to look upon.
And while all men cannot have hair like the old Greeks—who combed and braided their long hair as a solemn ceremonial in preparation for battle—every man can at least give such hair as he may have a chance for life, health, and the longest possible endurance, by according his hair a modicum of intelligent attention.
This, alas, is much more than many do at the present time ; which accounts very largely for the unwarranted prevalence of baldness. Also for the fact that a majority of men living a so-called civilized life are troubled with dandruff, and all forms of diseases of the scalp—conditions which are largely avoidable, or quite generally curable by proper hygienic and dietetic care.