When your hairline starts to retreat, you’ll do whatever it takes to keep your head from turning into a volleyball. Here are how various societies and individuals from around the world have attempted to stave off baldness.
1. A concoction of animal fat
According to The Ebers Papyrus (a medical script from about 1550 BCE), this Egyptian remedy called for mixing the fat of a hippo with some crocodile, tomcat, snake, and ibex fat. If that fails, boil porcupine hair and apply it to your scalp for four days.
2. Opium, horseradish, and pigeon droppings
Hippocrates swore by a mixture of opium, horseradish, pigeon droppings, beetroot, and spices. If this Ancient Greek recipe isn’t your cup of tea, stick to Aristotle’s method: goat urine.
3. Mice, teeth, and grease
When Julius Caesar’s dome started to thin, Cleopatra suggested he concoct a lotion of ground up mice, horse teeth, and bear grease. Another Roman recipe: Take the genitals of a donkey, burn them into ash, mix the ash with your urine, and then apply liberally.
4. Goose poop
Viking legend suggests smearing your noggin with a dollop of goose poop.
5. The ashes of a raven
According to this Celtic Druid baldness remedy, you just have to catch a raven, burn its carcass, and mix the ashes in sheep suet. (Centuries later, the Irish and Brits started scrubbing their scalps with onions instead.)
6. Herbs and mashed animal testes
According to Encyclopedia of Hair, in the eighth century, the Chinese blended safflower oil, rosemary, and herbs with mashed animal testes.
7. A headstand
This Indian treatment is simple: Do a headstand.
8. Animal poop poultice
Some Native American tribes believed a poultice of chicken dung or cow manure would do the trick. Other remedies included more palatable ingredients such as aloe vera juice or eating kelp and horseradish.
9. Animal urine
King Henry VIII preferred a different form of animal waste. He slathered his dome with dog and horse pee.
What can’t music do? Here’s an excerpt from an 1896 Scientific American:
While stringed instruments prevent and check the falling out of the hair, brass instruments have the most injurious effects upon it. The piano and the violin, especially the piano, have an undoubted preserving influence ... on the contrary, the brass instruments have results that are deplorable.
11. Wishful thinking
Just wish the baldness away! Èmile Couè believed positive thinking—called autosuggestion—could fix almost anything. He claimed autosuggestion would make hair follicles regain their elasticity and secrete normally, allowing hair to grow once again.
12. Bat milk
In 1988, The Sun tabloid publicized a baldness cure discovered by Swiss farmer Gerhardt Flit. The cure? Bat milk. It cost $3500 per ounce.