Love your hair gel? How very ancient Egyptian of you! That's right: researchers have discovered that ancient Egyptians use hair products in life and in death.
Microscopy using light and electrons revealed that nine of the mummies had hair coated in a mysterious fat-like substance. The researchers used gas chromatography–mass spectrometry to separate out the different molecules in the samples, and found that the coating contained biological long-chain fatty acids including palmitic acid and stearic acid. The results are published in the Journal of Archaeological Science1.
McCreesh thinks that the fatty coating is a styling product that was used to set hair in place. It was found on both natural and artificial mummies, so she believes that it was a beauty product during life as well as a key part of the mummification process.
Egyptians used to wear a perfume cone made out of molded animal fat and other herbs and myrrh and all kinds of stuff on their heads to mask the desert funk. Maybe what they're seeing is the residue from years and years of wearing it.