Did Vikings Wash Their Hair

Did Vikings wash their hair? A guide to Viking haircare

Did Vikings wash their hair, and how much did they actually care about personal hygiene? The unflattering depictions we’ve seen of Vikings in stories and movies generally suggest they were a barbaric and wild bunch.

It’s hard to imagine them taking a night off for a shampoo routine.

However, diving a little deeper into the scientific discoveries uncovered about the Viking community over the years reveals some interesting facts.

Although we can’t know for certain exactly how much time Vikings spent keeping their locks in good condition, there’s a lot of evidence these people were clean, well-groomed, and committed to preserving their appearance.

If you’ve ever wondered about the grooming habits of the Vikings, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re going to answer the question “did Vikings wash their hair?” and explore some of the most common personal hygiene practices of these ancient warlords.

Did Vikings wash their hair?

Surprising though it might seem, the evidence we have from Viking burial grounds and archeological discoveries seems to indicate Vikings did wash their hair — and often.

This fact becomes a little less difficult to believe when you consider just how successful Vikings were with the opposite sex. Viking males were well-known for seducing women all across Europe.

A significant part of the Viking’s sex appeal came from the fact they were relatively well committed to personal hygiene and grooming habits. The same couldn’t be said for many of the Christian and European communities they visited throughout the years.

Indeed, the evidence collected by researchers over the world suggests Vikings actually bathed quite frequently, washing both their hair and bodies. The Viking age, which took place during the middle ages, wasn’t a time when hygiene or personal grooming was particularly well-prized.

However, the Vikings as a society would separate themselves from other communities by encouraging citizens to bathe at least on a weekly basis. Bathing was such a significant part of life for Vikings, they actually called Saturday “Laugardagur”, which translates to “bathing day”.

Did Vikings Wash Their Hair

How did Vikings wash their hair?

Resources for bathing and grooming weren’t easy to come by in the middle ages. Vikings didn’t have the soaps and conditioners we know today, but they were innovative people, capable of finding other solutions to keep themselves clean.

According to scholars, Vikings commonly washed their hair and beards using a soap containing lye. This soap served two purposes. It helped to keep Vikings clean and wash away the dirt, blood, and other messes which built up during escapades.

However, it also helped to dye the hair a brighter shade of blonde. This is why so many depictions of Vikings throughout history feature the invaders with bright yellow hair.

What’s more, Vikings were extremely proud of their Nordic roots, which they could highlight by drawing attention to their fair hair color. Some experts believed many Vikings deliberately left the lye in their hair and beards for longer so they could preserve their blonde image.

Blond hair coloring was also highly sought after in Viking communities. It was considered a sign of beauty, and despite popular belief, wasn’t as commonplace as most people think.

Although many Nords did have blonde hair (and continue to preserve this hair color today), there were also many brunettes and redheads among the Vikings.

Did Vikings have shampoo?

As noted above, Vikings didn’t have shampoo as we know it today, but they did have their own home-made lye-based soap. This soap was frequently used for all forms of bathing.

It was also accompanied by a number of other personal grooming and hygiene products, prized by the Vikings.

Research into Viking artefacts has uncovered an entirely new side to the warriors we know from the Nordics in the middle ages.

Alongside swords and shields, experts have also uncovered a range of grooming tools from Viking camps, such as razors, tweezers, and even ear spoons for the removal of ear wax.

One of the most common accessories discovered by experts researching Viking life is the comb. Historians even believe these tools were so essential to Viking life, they were commonly hung from the belts of warriors, alongside swords and knives.

Researchers believe combs were typically used not just for the hair on the heads of Viking warriors, but for their beards too.

Combs created by Vikings were often hand-made utensils, made from reindeer antlers. Historical exhibits demonstrate just how stunning these products actually were. Many Viking combs featured phenomenal craftmanship, with fine teeth and ornate carvings.

The care and attention implemented into crafting combs has led historians to believe personal grooming and haircare was extremely important to most Vikings.

How often did Vikings wash their hair?

Unfortunately, our knowledge of Viking bathing routines and life in general is somewhat limited. The Vikings weren’t known for recording their own history. As such, many of the tales we have about Vikings come from the villages and towns they invaded over the years.

This is part of the reason why depictions of Vikings are so aggressive and unflattering.

The best insights we have into Viking habits come from a combination of archeological discoveries, and depictions of these individuals in wood and stone carvings.

Scholars throughout the years have painstakingly researched everything from Viking skeletons to historical accounts to put together a picture of how Vikings may have lived.

While we can’t say for certain how often Vikings washed their hair, it seems to have been a common practice. After all, Vikings generally washed their entire bodies on a weekly basis, and created a special name for “Saturday”, when most people would bathe.

The care and attention Vikings placed into creating their own grooming utensils also indicates personal hygiene in general was an important part of Viking life.

Did Vikings Wash Their Hair

What was Viking hair like?

Unfortunately, hair doesn’t stand the test of time like bones and other archeological discoveries. This means our knowledge of Viking hair is once again based on what scholars have been able to discover throughout the centuries.

Notably, most historical depictions of Vikings recorded by other communities across Europe draw attention to the blonde coloring of Viking hair.

Many accounts also highlight long hair and beards among men, as well as the Viking’s unique method of wearing their hair in intricate braids.

Women often wore their hair long in Viking communities as a sign of status, though their locks were often braided or tied back to keep it contained as they worked.

However, it’s uncertain whether Viking men always had long hair. Though Vikings in popular culture are often shown with long and unruly locks, many wooden carvings discovered throughout history have indicated these individuals kept their hair quite short.

After all, long hair for Viking men could easily get in the way during hunting and battle.

Researchers do believe hair was commonly seen as an important accessory among many Vikings. In some cultures, a long hair and beard was regarded a symbol of power. Caring for their long locks wasn’t just a practical requirement for Vikings, it was also a tool for self-confidence.

Viking hair: An incredible status symbol

The simple answer to the question, “Did Vikings wash their hair?” seems to be yes. In fact, not only did Vikings commit to keeping their hair clean, but they regularly groomed themselves with razors and combs too, to ensure they could preserve their unique image.

Descriptions of Vikings given in historical documents can often vary, particularly when we’re reading the tales of the enemies to the Viking culture.

However, the majority of the information discovered throughout the years shows Vikings were a lot cleaner and more well-groomed than people realize.

According to scholars and academics, Vikings were a surprisingly well-kept and handsome community, committed to caring for their appearance in a range of different ways.

Now you know how Vikings felt about their hair, perhaps you’ll imagine them differently the next time you read a book or watch a TV show.

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