Discoveries Reveal Ancient Egyptians Used Hair Extensions

When hair extensions come to mind, it’s easy to picture twenty-first century movie stars and pop singers with silky, flowing locks. But we were not the first to use hair extensions, and while taste in beauty varies around the world, the desire to look beautiful does not. Different cultures have been using hair extensions for thousands of years, and a recent discovery reveals that the ancient Egyptians used them.

This past year, a 3,300 year old woman was discovered in a cemetery outside Amarna, Egypt. She was donning about 70 hair extensions, and although she was not mummified, her hairstyle survived millennia. She was also not the only one. Many other skulls with extravagant hair extensions were found near Amarna. Researchers were not sure if the extensions were strictly for the funerals or not, but it is likely that the ancient Egyptians wore these hairstyles as part of everyday life to cover thinning hair, graying hair, add volume, and simply as part of the cultural practices of the time.

The ancient Egyptians were advanced in many ways. They used jasmine and rice for sunscreen and knew that direct sunlight could cure infant jaundice. They also gave beauty a high status, and often depicted people of other civilizations as ugly or disproportional, believing themselves to be anatomically and aesthetically perfect. Beauty was closely connected to spirituality, and their desire to preserve the human form in mummification emphasizes their admiration of the human body.

Hair has always been a symbol of feminine beauty throughout the world, and it can be worn in countless styles. Hair extensions are just one way to bring out the confident woman within no matter where or when you’re from. Modern western civilization did not invent the desire to feel beautiful. All our best ideas come from someone before us.

Hair ExtensionsJo Magliocco