Hair has been curled, sprayed, cut, dyed and crimped over the years depending on the current trends in hair styles. But through time, hair has been used in a wide variety of ways that some people would consider to be strange. Whether a weird hair use is an old art form or a new way to advertise, it just goes to show that hair is multi-functional.
One of the most traditional weird ways to use hair is in the form of artwork. Hair artwork was very popular in the Victorian period, and the collection of hair art pieces is on the rise due to recent interest. Hair art was just as common as needlepoint and crocheting during the nineteenth century. Women practiced the art form in order to preserve the hair and memory of loved ones, especially the deceased.
Hair from a loved one was commonly braided into jewelry like bracelets, rings and earrings. This way the creator could wear their creation, or give it to someone else to wear. Jewelry made from hair was a common way to mourn the dead. This specific type of jewelry was known as “mourning jewelry.”
Besides weaving hair into jewelry, the Victorians also created other types of art with hair. Hair was arranged into roses, woven around wooden frames and stitched into fabric. Hair could be used in all of the ways that yarn or thread were used. Today there has been a renewed interest in not only collecting vintage hair art but also creating new hair art to preserve family history.
Hair also has more practical uses, especially when it comes to cleaning up oil waste. In an attempt to put the 200,000 pounds of hair that go into landfills each day to good use, Alabama hairdresser Phil McCrory patented a oil-soaking pillow made of human hair. He got the idea while watching footage of the oil spills in Alaska in the late 80s. He realized that human hair would attract oil the same way that otter hair did.
He contacted NASA for help with the project after designed a prototype for an oil absorbing pillow made of hair. NASA saw potential for the project and did a few simple tests. They determined that hair absorbs five times its weight in oil. Best of all, the oil can be wrung out and reused. So the next time you get a trim, your hair could be going toward saving the environment!
One of the most recent weird uses for hair is in advertising. A new form of “hair art” has been developed by a variety of barbers around the U.S. and is now being used by some major advertisers. In this form of hair art, numbers, letters, symbols and company logos are shaved into the backs and sides of a persons head. This form of hair normally works best on men’s short buzz haircuts.
Mr. Ronnie Mac, owner of the Shops and Salons Network, has pioneered the process. His “Company Cut” idea has attracted big name advertisers like Pepsi, Ford and Nike, just to name a few.