Saturday, September 3, 2011

What is that lovely smell?

It's a warm evening in Alexandria, Egypt. The year is roughly 1000 BC, give or take a century or two. You're dressed up in your finest linen tunic, perhaps you're even wealthy enough to wear two layers, or a beaded net dress over a simple sheath. You certainly have plenty of jewelry to accent your white robes. You probably are also wearing an elaborate wig. After all, a wig is much easier to clean, care for and style than your real hair, and then you can keep your head nicely shaved and cool at night.

You're going to a party at your cousin's estate and are excited for a chance to see your best friends and hear some beautiful music from the visiting musicians. Of course it is rather warm and there will be a lot of body odor, but everyone will be wearing their wax cones so you don't have to worry about the stink.

Uh... wait... wax cones? What wax cones?

We've been studying ancient dress in my history of fashion class and I have to say, the Egyptian practice of placing scented wax cones on their heads at night for parties and stuff is probably the weirdest custom I've come across so far. It makes some sense, of course. Wax melts at a very low temperature, so all you'd need to do is have a hot evening and... trickle trickle. As it dripped down into the wig it would release a pleasant scent. Sort of an early form of deodorant, I guess.

Don't believe me? Search 'Egyptian Wax Cones' and check out all the pictures and blogs that come up. No joke.


  1. I read that they were cones made of fat. O_o

  2. Our textbook and my professor specifically said beeswax, but fat is similar so it could have been used. Animal fat, however, is going to have a bit of a nasty smell to it unless it's really processed right, so I'd assume that beeswax was a far preferred choice.


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