Valley of the Kings, Egypt, 1898. The coolness of the interior of the Egyptian tomb was refreshing after the suffocating heat of the exterior. It was a great day for the expedition, as the tomb was finally ready to be opened and show the archaeologists its treasures. But no one was prepared for what they would find inside. In fact, in front of the head of the excavation, Victor Loret, one of the most important discoveries of the Valley of the Kings appeared. The ancient air, full of secrets and mysteries, enveloped the explorers and led them, in the light of the torches, between rooms and corridors, to discover a marvelous red quartzite sarcophagus with the mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep II inside. But that was not all, another room revealed more mummies of great kings and queens of the past, brought there because their tombs had been desecrated by treasure seekers. Among the many mummies that Loret was able to observe, there was one that attracted his attention. The mummy was of a woman, Queen Tye, who, despite the millennia, still had thick hair, black and full-bodied. But how was this possible? What was the secret that made her hair so strong and resistant? The answer had to wait a century to arrive and finally, a few years ago, a group of scientists managed to understand the secret, analyzing the hair of other royal mummies with a technique called mass spectrometry. The secret was all in a conditioner that the Egyptians used to apply on the hair to make it bright, healthy and strong. The balm was made with castor and pistachio oils and beeswax. So, let's see how to draw inspiration from this formidable beauty secret to create a regenerating, moisturizing and stimulating treatment for our hair too.
Hair mask of the gods, properties
The analysis of the conditioner used by the ancient Egyptians indicates castor oil, beef fat, beeswax, pine resin and pistachio oil as ingredients. Nowadays nobody would ever use beef fat but the other ingredients are well known and appreciated for their cosmetic properties. In fact, castor oil has been shown to make hair shinier and healthier, counteracting moisture loss and nourishing the hair follicle (Phong et al, J Drugs Dermatol, 2022 - Mysore et al, Int J Trichology, 2022). Pistachio oil is rich in oleic acid, which stimulates hair growth, and contains antioxidants, which protect hair follicles from free radical damage (Zhou et al, Molecules, 2022). Pine resin is healing, antioxidant and fights inflammation while beeswax takes care of the scalp, fighting dermatitis, dryness and irritation, and strengthens the hair (Iravani et al, Res Pharm Sci, 2011 - Kurek Górecka et al, Molecules, 2020).
How to prepare a strengthening hair mask at home, just like the great Egyptian queens
Now let's see how to take care of our hair and scalp by making a wonderful mask at home, drawing inspiration from the ancient beauty secrets of the queens of Egypt. In a small bowl, pour 3 tablespoons of jojoba oil, 1 tablespoon of castor oil, one of pistachio oil and half a teaspoon of beeswax. Melt in a double boiler, mix. Remove from the heat and add 2 drops of pine essential oil. Mix and leave to cool down. Apply to scalp and hair, massaging well, leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse with shampoo. In this way the hair will be nourished, stronger and healthier and the mask will help soothe irritation and itching.