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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Interesting Facts About Hair to Share with Kids

I visited England in May and found an unusual shop near Lincoln's Inn Fields (London). Called the Silver Mousetrap, it dates back to 1690. I discovered that it had a very unusual history concerning hair styles of the 18th century. Thought I'd share some interesting hair facts as well as the story about why wealthy women made purchases at this particular shop!


  1. Did you know that your hair grows fastest in warmer weather?
  2. Men's hair grows faster than women's hair.
  3. Next to bone marrow, only hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body.
  4. From Hindi, the national language of the country of India, comes the word shampoo.
  5. People once believed that helpful spirits lived on our heads and that washing our hair would harm these spirits. Many people washed their hair just once a year.
  6. People once powered their hair using colored flour to get greens, pinks, blue, lilac and yellow coloring.
  7. In France, during the 1700s, flour was being used so much(about one pound per person per week) by wealthy people to powder their hair that there was a shortage of flour. This caused the price of flour to rise making bread more expensive. It caused a riot in Caen, France!
  8. The ancient warriors of the region of Iraq, the Assyrians, are created with inventing the first curling iron!
  9. From the 16th-19th century Europe, wealthy women wearing very high hair styles became very popular. Some hair styles were 3 ft. tall. Women also placed objects into their hair including bird cages(with live birds), solar systems, flowers , windmills and, one woman worn a  small ship in her hair! The hair styles were kept in place with support wires, false hair and a cushion base(made of wool, horse hair and rope). Such high hair styles caused problems with getting through doors and also riding in closed carriages. Some women had to stick their heads out the window until they got to their destination!
  10. After spending hours to create such elaborate fancy hair styles, women went up to NINE weeks without washing their hair. To sleep, they had a special pillow so their hair wouldn't get flattened. Without hairspray as we have today, women used a concoction of sugar water to get their hair in place. You can imagine what this attracted! Wealthy women purchase fancy silver mousetraps and set the traps around their pillow at night to keep the mice away!  There was a shop in London(near Lincoln's Inn Field), called the Silver Mousetrap, that was famous for their silver mousetraps. The building, from 1690, still stands! See the photograph below.
  11. Only 1%-2% of hair coloring(natural, that is...) is RED.
  12. One strand of hair can share lots of information as to what you have placed into your body!
  13. The Guinness World Record for longest hair was Xie Qiuping of China. In thirty years without cutting her hair, it reached 18 ft. 5.54 in.
  14. Hair is very strong. Just a single strand of healthy hair can hold  3 ounces!
  15. The word for bathroom, powder room, gots its name for the room where people went to "powder" their hair!

Read The Lady with the Ship in her Head by Deborah Attimore, about a woman named Maddame Pompenstance who hopes to win the best headdress at a fancy ball. Great story!

Draw a picture of a woman wearing an elaborate hair style. Draw something inside her hair.

See this science video on "How Strong is a strand of your hair?" Write a summary of the video clip.