Many people have asked me about Celtic hairstyles for both men and women. They want to know about everyday life and what they looked like.
Celtic Soap: The Romans noted that the Celts were very particular about bathing and grooming habits. They smelled great, as we know, they washed their hands and face with soap in the morning, and they also bathed thoroughly with soap at night. Then they applied oil with aromatic herbs on her skin. In the laws of Brehon there are clear descriptions of when elite “security” warriors must bathe and foster child brats must wash every other day. A brat was a kind of almost ritualistic cloak in belief. It is said that it was the Celts who introduced soap to the Romans who used the oil and sticks to scrape off dirt previously.
Celtic hands – In Ireland, people in the hierarchy had to have their nails well-groomed. Warriors were considered hierarchies and would be embarrassed if he kept his nails in tatters. Women sometimes dye their nails crimson, as we see in the story of Deirdre, who claims that reddening her nails refers to joyous occasions and therefore she will no longer do this again when some children die.
Celtic hair and facial and body makeup: making the Celts sometimes go with or without a beard or mustache, depended on tribe and position. Some lower-class soldiers and Celts had mustaches, often curled at the ends, but without a beard until medieval times. Beards were often forked – very few Irish works of art show a beard without forking and instead with a square cut at the bottom. Other beard styles show a single long beard on the chin, sometimes with a square cut at the bottom.
Prominent people were clean-shaven or had beards and mustaches. The mustache later became known to the aristocracy and was worn alone, which lasted until the medieval period. Diodorus of Sicily – “The nobles shave their cheeks, but they let their mustaches grow until they cover their mouths.” As said, there are several tribes, so it all depends on the area. Caesar noted that the Celts shaved their bodies except their head and upper lip.
In the myths we can see many things that they did, but you have to read the many to find these gems. For example, berry juice is sometimes used for women’s black eyebrows. Irish missionary monks were also known to paint or dye their eyelids black. The cheeks were reddened with a plant called ‘ruam’; could be alder berries, but is unknown. It is unclear whether both men and women reddened their cheeks.
Celtic Hair was long according to Cesar and some other sources from the free classes and for both men and women: Irish art.
Warriors, on the other hand, (Roman sculpture of the ‘Dying Gaul’ and Book of Kells soldier), have bowl-cut hair, higher at the back and longer over the eyes. The cut is very similar to the ‘simplistic’ style worn by soldiers in late Middle Ages Ireland. Warrior soldiers and lower-class men wore a long mustache without an accompanying beard. One of the tests of membership to join some of the elite warrior groups was that the candidate had to run through a forest, chased by all of Fianna, without the branches loosening a braid of hair.
Sometimes, on the occasion, they wore their hair in elaborate multiple curls and braids, decorated feathers, gold balls, silver and bronze ribbons, thin flexible gold plates, or gold balls and other ornaments that were fastened in the hair. . In the Tain Bo Culaigne, a beautiful woman wears three braids of hair wrapped around her head, and the fourth hanging from her back to her ankles. One of the tests for being a member of the Guerrero class was that the candidate had to go through a forest, pursued by the entire band of Warriors, without the branches loosening a braid of hair.
The ancient Celts had a unique hairstyle that attracted the attention of many classical authors.
Diodorus of Sicily – says that the Celts were tall and muscular, with pale skin and blond hair that are artificially highlighted by washing it with lime water. Then they pick it up from the forehead to the top of the head and to the nape of the neck … and thus the hair becomes so heavy and coarse that it looks like horsehair. It could be that they considered the Unicorn or Horse God as their Mother.
Irish texts refer to hair so long and stiff that it would have impaled a falling apple. The Irish hero god CuChulainn is described this way, adding that his hair was of three colors, the darkest near the scalp and the lightest at the end. If it is a Hound constellation, we can see the dimmest stars, or it could be the reference to the style of whitening they learned to do.
* Note: the Celts always welcomed their children with other clans for them to study. Soap is unproven, but most say that it was the Celts who invented it or brought it to Europe.
The information above was obtained from descriptions of stories from Welsh and Irish mythology, both from classical sources and from early Irish sources, as well as depictions in Irish artwork by various authors such as Joyce, Berresford, Mathews, and Markale.