Get this: Victorians didn’t just throw their hair away after brushing it out like we do today. They kept it as a household material.
Women kept tools called “hair receivers” on their vanity and put the extra hair that caught on their brush inside them. These pieces have small holes in the middle of the lid to put the hair in, and when they’re full the lid can be taken off. Many have beautiful patterns on them and are made of materials like glass and porcelain. These were used up through the 1950s.
Waste not, want not, right?
They put this extra hair to use for a variety of things. Big, tall hair was very popular at the time, and women put rats of hair into small hairnets to add major volume. It was like the BumpIt of the Victorian era.
Women also stuffed the hair into pincushions and pillows.
We’ve also written about Victorian mourning jewelry, which often kept locks of hair as keepsakes.
But one of the most unusual uses for hair was hair art. Women would put together art from locks of hair of their family members, creating a wreath that symbolized family ties. Other hair wreaths would mourn a lost loved one, and some art or albums even kept locks of friends’ hair in braided patterns.
It seems like an odd practice to us today, but to the Victorians it was a beloved tradition to honor loved ones.
Some people make art out of hair today too, although obviously it’s a rare find.