Wondering through an antique mall I chanced upon something I had not seen since a tiny child. A small class container with an ornamental lid. It was similar to the one which had sat on my grandmother's dresser. It was explained to me that when she was a girl, ladies would brush their hair and then they would pull the hair caught in the brush out and collect it in the small container. This hair would be saved until enough had been collected to create small padded forms to add height or build the illusion of thicker hair for a French bun or topknot.
This got me to thinking of all the other hair care customs from over the years. Brushing hair 100 times before bed. Washing hair with eggs. Rinsing hair in vinegar or lemon juice. Bangs. Never brushing wet hair. Curling hair with scraps of cloth, bobby pins, or brush curlers. Home permanents. Using DRY shampoo (sprinkle in and brush out). Saving orange juice cans to use as curlers. Ironing hair straight. Never cutting hair and adopting a bald look. Only wearing long hair as a child. Always having short hair as a mature woman. Only wearing hair loose as a youth. Never wearing hair loose as a mature or married woman.
The great mystery here is - why in the world did women do all these things? Hair is pretty personal yet we as a gender have allowed others to dictate how we wear our hair, how long we wear our hair, what colors our hair should be, and a dozen other choices. Why? Clean hair worn in a manner that pleases the individual donning that hair, and not society or elements in society, should be the goal of every person. What I might like or dislike should not be the determinate for another's style. So why go into a salon and get the same hair 150,000 others have gotten that week? Just to fit in? Just to conform? I had an ancestor who belonged to a sect in Northern Ireland called the 'Croppies' because they kept their hair cropped. According to family legend, he was allowed to not adhere due to the respect in which he was held by many people. Be a wise woman, or man, and find that which suits you and your lifestyle. Let there be no mystery here - even if there is a lot of history - hair freedom once and for all!