In the 1930s, commercial shampoo first appeared on store shelves, and it revolutionized personal hygiene. This leads one to wonder: how did humans survive before shampoo? Soap and water? What else did they use? This article will explore the wide range of hair care practices practiced by different cultures throughout history, from everyday to the bizarre.

There were several schools of thought on how to clean and care for hair, even a few thousand years ago. Evidently, the citizens of Sumeria did not use soap and instead oiled their hair for a glossy finish. Women would wear cones of perfume on their heads to mask their natural body odor. In ancient China, the Cedrela shrub was used for both its aromatic wood and its practical utility in making cigar boxes.

How did people wash their hair before shampoo?

How Did People Wash Their Hair Before Shampoo: Guide

Shampooing your hair is probably not something you’ve given much thought to over the years. Maybe you read a few reviews before purchasing your shampoo and conditioner. However, it’s unlikely that you’ve given much thought to whether or not you’re properly cleaning your hair.

If you want the best possible results from your hair care routine, you need to do more than just wet your hair, apply shampoo, rinse it out, and then apply conditioner. Expert hairstylist Monica Davis advises that you avoid damaging your hair and follicles by following proper hair washing practices.

Not only will this prevent you from scratching your scalp, but it will also protect it. Therefore, there are a few details to keep in mind if you want to take care of your scalp and hair the right way. We’re here to assist you, though, so don’t fret.

1. Bacon fat, elm bark, rosemary water, and lye were all used in medieval hair care

Medieval people rarely took baths since they were labor-intensive and sometimes associated with illness. However, in other parts of Europe, women were instructed to apply a mixture of burnt barley bread, salt, and bear fat to their hair. The point was for it to expand in size.

For their hair, other women preferred a tea made from goat’s milk or water, elm bark, willow root, and reed root. The added thickness was intended. Vinegar, water infused with rosemary, nettles, mint, and thyme were among the other plants used for hair washing. Italian women of the Renaissance era cleansed their hair with lye soap and conditioned it with pig grease and licorice.

2. Wigs were everywhere in the 18th century

Wigs were the height of fashion in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even after washing with lye soaps or water, the vast majority of people continued to go about their day with their hair greased up and pulled back. The problem? For some time now, wigs have been a popular accessory among the wealthy.

Not just ordinary wigs, mind you; rather, massive, powdered wigs. Although the majority of the population was white, the majority of the population was female. The larger one’s wig, the greater one’s wealth. Wigs grew in height as a status symbol, particularly among the wealthy. Human hair was most often used, but goat or horse hair was acceptable.

3. Eggs, a Victorian staple. A plethora of eggs

During the Victorian era, several medical professionals went door to door to promote the health benefits of bathing. New industrial goods and health fads were hugely popular among the Victorians. Although lye was still widely used, the humble egg emerged as a viable alternative. Now, once a month (as was advised), ladies would crack eggs over their heads, rub the gooey egg into a lather in their hair, and then rinse it away. Both Castille Soap and P&G’s “Ivory Soap,” which was originally introduced in 1859, were popular choices. Oil from flowers called ylang-ylang was combined with coconut and palm oils to create “Macassar oil,” which was commonly used as a conditioner.

4. For shiny, healthy locks, how frequently should we wash our hair

Shampooing should be done at least twice a week and more often if necessary, depending on the hair’s type and condition. If you have to wash your hair every day, it’s in your best interest to invest in high-quality shampoo and conditioner. If you want to give your hair an extra boost of care, put aloe vera all over the strands and wait 30 minutes before shampooing.

5. What temperature water do you use when washing your hair

Some people believe that using warm (not hot) water to wash hair with shampoo can be damaging. Shampooing with warm water is recommended because it helps to loosen dirt and oil from pores and opens up the hair cuticle.

Even before shampooing, the debris and oil that accumulate in the hair and scalp’s pores can be washed away. Keep in mind, though, that once your pores and cuticles have opened, they will need to be closed again. This is why you should rinse your hair out with cold water after every time you shampoo.

6. How do you tell if you’ve picked the wrong shampoo

Dandruff is one among them that shows up. Dandruff becomes worse till it crusts over, and hair loss occurs if it’s not treated. Knowing the current state of your hair can help you select the appropriate shampoo. Serum, hair oil, tonic, and conditioner are just a few of the hair care products that deserve your attention. Too many of these, and you can end up with dandruff and pimples on your scalp.

7. How true is it that sulfates damage hair

The detergent in shampoos is a surfactant called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Every single shampoo you can buy at the store contains SLS. The ingredients, however, must first have been evaluated for safety. You shouldn’t have to avoid using shampoo on the hair shaft itself unless you have an extremely sensitive scalp.

What is victorian era shampoo? 

How Did People Wash Their Hair Before Shampoo: Guide

We as a species have gone a long way in the last Century when it comes to cleanliness and the need for regular showers. One may make the case that modern people take too many showers. While that may be the case, I’m willing to bet that the smell of someone who is overly clean is much more appealing than someone who isn’t.

It’s true that learning about old methods of personal cleanliness isn’t pleasant, but I find myself intrigued about them nonetheless. When washing one’s hair, what did people use before shampoo was invented? Moreover, was the intended effect achieved? I wanted to find out if our matriarchs could have been onto something. 

After all, it looks as though every Victorian woman flaunted a magnificent mane of long, flowing locks. Who knows, maybe the advent of contemporary shampoo was a backward step.

A book titled Hints on Health, published in 1852, claims that “to cleanse the hair, there is nothing better than soap and water,” with the caveat that “the soap, of course, should be mild, and well and plentifully rubbed in, and afterward thoroughly removed with an abundance of tepid water.” This is a direct quote from Our Heritage of Health.

I’ve decided to test myself to see if I really can bathe like a Victorian. I also switched to a brush with natural boar bristles, as these were popular in the Victorian era. In lieu of shampoo, conditioner, and my customary paddle brush, I intended to utilize the items listed above for an entire week.

Water would have to be “tepid,” which I took to mean just a little bit warmer than room temperature before I would use it. An image of my hair as it was just before I began the experiment is seen above. For a week, I was curious if the texture of my hair would alter if I skipped the conditioner and used soap instead of shampoo.

What were the famous hair washing tricks for Asians in ancient times?

Unnaturally shiny, long, and lustrous, with a radiance that can only come from good health. For a long time, we’ve been curious about the juiciest, most buried mysteries of the beautiful Indian and Middle Eastern women. Besides, there’s never been a better opportunity to delve deeply into the topic of global beauty.

Although we have already devoted some effort to exploring other areas of their extremely desirable beauty routines and secrets to happiness, we believed that a tribute to Indian and Middle Eastern hairstyles, in particular, was warranted. Naturally, we picked up a lot of useful information. (You and your hair are in for the ultimate in indulgence.)

1. Take care of your hair like you would your skin

A woman who combines hair care products This is an interesting worldwide trend, as we have heard similar sentiments expressed by naturally beautiful Scandinavian ladies. Simply said, we need to pay attention. According to Ranavat, this is one manner in which the cultural divide between the United States and India manifests itself in terms of personal grooming.

She explains that women in her culture treat their hair with the same attention they give their faces. “We treat, protect, and condition it with only the finest all-natural ingredients. A high-quality hair oil (used similarly to the face) can improve your hair and prevent potential damage, although, in the United States, the emphasis is usually placed on reactive treatments.”

When the hair in the United States is feeling particularly dry or after it has been dyed, we turn to deep conditioning treatments. Contrarily, preventative treatment is the norm in India.” Similar to how we use sunscreen in the United States, Indian ladies, according to Ranavat, massage cold-pressed oils into their strands several times a week and apply oil for protective measures wherever they go.

2. Attempt homemade hair masks

Elixirs and serums based on oil aren’t the only things having magical properties. Like with your face, you should apply a mask on your hair to keep it in good condition. And as Tavakoli points out, “Middle Eastern ladies use a lot of hair masks, many of them handmade,” which boost elasticity and protect against breaking.

Moreover, “the masks will hydrate, soften, and nourish.” In Dubai, “one thing I have seen about women’s hair routines is that the women truly do keep to their hair routine as we would with skincare,” says Kaeding. “They’ve clearly done their homework and are experts in their field. 

Most of my Dubai customers have tried and true staples in their arsenal of hair care products, but they are always curious to learn about new options.” Whenever they need advice or input, they always come to me for my opinion. And if they’re already committed to a certain routine, they often want me to evaluate the condition of their hair and give my opinion on whether or not they should continue with it. And if it’s not, they’re eager to find out how they might lend a hand.”

3. Adopt a food plan that will help your hair

What to Eat for Healthy Hair Vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices make up a large part of Persian cuisine, as Tavakoli points out. To rephrase, eating a lot of nutrient-dense, whole foods promote health and growth. Fruit, pistachios, and/or dates will always be ready for guests to snack on when visiting a Persian home, she says.

“We also consume many recipes that contain components like eggplants, saffron, pomegranate, fenugreek, turmeric, chickpeas, and so on and so forth.” In a nutshell, “you get all the vitamins, minerals, protein, fatty acids, and antioxidants you need for good hair health from your food,” affirms Tavakoli.

What is bath bean and how does it work? 

How Did People Wash Their Hair Before Shampoo: Guide

You won’t have to worry about slipping around as you soak, thanks to the Bath Bean, a patented body stopper designed to keep you in place. If you use this, you may rest assured that your hair will remain dry while you do so. The Bath Bean is luxuriously silky smooth thanks to its construction from 100% FDA-approved anti-microbial silicone; it weighs a hefty 2.5 pounds and features 44 integrated suction cups.

Intriguing, right? It’s durable and can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Transform your bathroom into a soothing retreat with Bathe BetterTM. Now with America’s a big deal, you can get a Bath Bean for just $80.00, plus free shipping (a $99 value)! Hi! In addition to being a single parent, I also invented the Bath Bean. During my 2005 delivery, I bruised my tailbone rather badly and was in pain for 36 hours.

I took a hot bath to relax, tried to lay back in it, and instead scraped my tailbone on the tub’s rough surface as I slid around. And those few minutes in the tub were agonizing! I looked for something to help me stay in a reclined position while taking a bath but came up empty-handed. In 2015, after I saw the film JOY, everything changed.

Inspired by Joy’s perseverance, I began developing my innovation and am now applying my knowledge to bring it to market. And now, six years later, I can show my kids that I created the Bath Bean brand and company from the ground up. Just suction it to the bottom of your tub with the logo facing your butt, and you’re good to go. Once inside the tub, you may quickly move the bean to a more convenient location by sliding it along the tub’s surface.

If you want the strongest suction possible, use it on a clean tub interior before filling. In this case, a smooth bathroom floor would be ideal. Keep from sliding about in the tub by placing the Bath Bean under your butt. Relax your muscles and lay back on the couch. There is no need to prop yourself up against the tub’s walls any longer. Get the champagne and candlelight ready.

For the pinnacle of slip-free self-care, gather your phone, the book you can’t put down, a beverage, and a snack. You won’t be able to slip much further into the tub, thanks to the Bath Bean. Messed up your good hair day? Try again. Want to warm up with a brief bath but don’t want to get your head wet? Collect your Bath Bean and go in the tub. Stop wasting time and just go in and out of here.

Is it okay to use ancient techniques for cleaning/washing hair instead of modern shampoo?

How Did People Wash Their Hair Before Shampoo: Guide

The majority of us wash our hair frequently, sometimes every day. But it wasn’t always the case. In the grand scheme of things, maintaining clean hair has rarely been a priority for human societies throughout history. Smell elimination and proper attire were two primary concerns.

Brace yourself for some bizarre and possibly gross information about the hair care practices of our forefathers as we delve into the mists of time to learn about some of the strange concoctions and methods they employed.

Heat characterized ancient Egypt. The Egyptian ladies believed that massaging castor oil and almond oil into their scalps would not only promote hair development but would also protect their hair from dry conditions. When it came to ASSYRIAN hairstyling, iron bars and flames were essential tools. Not something you should try on your own.

 Curly hair was popular among Assyrian royalty and elites circa 1500 B.C. They had their hair curled with iron bars heated in a fire to accomplish the style, kicking off a fad that is still popular today, albeit with some improvements in safety.

Let’s move on to something much nastier. Recipes for hair gel have been around since at least 1300 when lizard tallow was combined with swallow droppings. What is tallow if you don’t know? As for its origin, it’s made from animal fat that has been rendered. This soap is just like the one in Fight Club. Nice! Hair conditioner made from lizards’ bodies boiled in olive oil was another common practice among women.

Watch 5 Years no shampoo | Video

People also ask questions and answers related to the how did people wash their hair before shampoo

When it comes to shampoo, how do you clean it?

Do a quick rinse in warm water. Start by rinsing your hair with lukewarm water. The cuticles of the hair will open under the warm water, allowing the shampoo to more effectively cleanse the hair of debris and oil. The conditioner’s oil and moisturizing benefits will be absorbed more effectively by the open cuticles.

When it came time to wash their hair in the 18th Century, how did they do it?

All the regulars knew to go there to get their hair washed and conditioned with vegetable oil. The term “shampoo” did not make its way to Europe until the late 18th Century. It consisted mostly of soap shards melted in water and herbal concoctions.

When it came to hair, how did people back then handle it?

Castor and almond oils were popular hair care products among ancient Egyptians. Egypt, in antiquity, experienced both hot and dry conditions. The Egyptian ladies believed that massaging castor oil and almond oil into their scalps would not only promote hair development but would also protect their hair from dry conditions.

What was the original formula for shampoo?

Sapindus, dried Indian gooseberry (amla), and a variety of other herbs were boiled together, and then the filtered extract was used as an early and highly efficient shampoo.

Am I curious as to the origins of shampoo?

In 1927, Hans Schwarzkopf created the first liquid shampoo (at the time, called “soap”). In use since 1927, liquid has replaced most other forms as the standard for hair washing. Hans Schwarzkopf did not develop a liquid without soap in it until 1933.


To offer their clients hair health and fragrance, English hair stylists boiled soap in water and added herbs in the early days of shampoo. Current historical accounts place Kasey Hebert as the inventor of shampoo. He started off by peddling his “Shampoo” shampoo on the streets of his native London, England.

In the past, shampoo was commonly crafted from rice husks and rice straws (meaning). In order to make lather, the husks and straws are burned to ash and then combined with water, activating the ashes’ alkaline characteristics. You scrub the ashes and the soap into your hair. Hair, however, will become dry from this. So, when they wash their hair with shampoo, Indonesians re-moisturize it with coconut oil. (For the Indonesian version, check out Kompas).

To begin with, surfactants—a kind of detergent—were commonly used in both soap and shampoo. The development of shampoo as a specialized personal hygiene item that focuses on the hair rather than the entire body was a natural progression. Multiple shampoos formulated for particular hair types appeared throughout the 20th Century, each offering gentle yet thorough cleansing. Nowadays, shampoo mostly consists of synthetic surfactants.

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