Hair is found on all parts of the human body, excepting on the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet; but it grows to the greatest length on the head and chin. - It is subject to few diseases ; the only affection that can in this country be strictly considered as a disease, is BALDNESS; for which we have pointed out the most proper remedies. Vol. i. p. 152.
Frequent cutting the hair is very beneficial to the ears, eyes, nay, to the whole body: and, if the head be washed or immersed daily in cold water, it will be found an excellent preventive of periodical head-achs.
Persons subject to defluxions of humours from the head, to weak eyes and similar complaints, will derive great benefit from shaving the head at certain intervals; as this is the most effectual mode of opening the pores and promoting perspiration. There is no danger of contracting cold from washing or exposing the head, after being rubbed dry, to the open air: and this futile objection should influence only the conduct of those who, from ignorance or prejudice, carry all then-exhaled impurities on the surface of the skin, and especially on the head, for a succession of years. Thus, perhaps, arise many states of intellectual derangement, the source of which is seldom suspected. Besides, cleansing the head affords comfortable and pleasing sensations ; and the more frequently the hair be cut, it will grow the more speedily; so that this simple expedient may, in some measure, serve as a substitute for a constant blister, or artificial issue.
There are, however, certain cases, in which cutting off the hair is attended with dangerous effects, especially during a state of convalescence from acute diseases. In a periodical work lately published in France, two instances are related of women, in a very promising state of recovery from a putrid malignant fever, whose hair had been cut, and who both died shortly after this imprudent action. A third owed her preservation only to her youth, and the energy of her constitution.
The hair is, by all nations, con-sidered as an ornament to the person, more than as a covering for the head, provided by the beneficent hand of Nature. Hence various pomatums, and other secret preparations, have been imposed upon the public, for the purpose of "making the hair grow long and thick." We are no advocates for contrivances, which to our certain knowledge are generally composed of noxious ingredients, such as the calces of lead and mercury. Those persons who cannot be dissuaded from the use of artificial means, may with safety employ a mixture consisting of equal parts of olive oil and spirits of rosemary, to which may be added a few drops of oil of nutmeg. If the hair be rubbed every night with a little of this liniment, and the proportion be very gradually increased, it will answer every purpose to be attained by those boasted preparations which are sold by empirics.
Another source of fraud is that of changing the colour of the hair to a darker shade: with this intention various liquid remedies are vended by perfumers, under different alluring appellations. These, however, being likewise prepared from lead, antimony, and other metallic solutions, no prudent person will be induced to purchase them. The only method that can be pursued with impunity, is to cut the hair close to the head, and to pass a leaden comb through it every morning and evening, by which simple practice the hair will assume a darker colour; the perspiration of the head will not be . impeded, and, consequently, the health of the individual rather pro-moted than injured.
Hair constitutes a very considerable article of commerce, especially since the fashion of wearing wigs has prevailed among all ranks, and has lately been extended to both sexes. The hair of this, and other northern countries, is preferred to that of the southern climates of Italy, France, etc. The chief qua-lity of hair consists in its being well fed, as it is termed by hairdressers, so that it be neither too coarse nor too slender. Hence thick hair is less susceptible of the artificial curl, and is disposed to frizzle ; but, if it be too delicate, it will retain the curl only for a short time. The length of good hair is usually estimated at '25 inches ; and, in proportion as it is shorter, it becomes less valuable. There appears to be no stated price for this article; as, according to its quality, it is sold at from 5s. to 5l. per ounce: it pays, when imported, a duty of 2s. 41/2d. per lb. - With respect to the various operations which hair undergoes previously to being manufactured into wigs, we trust the reader will excuse our silence.
Hair, in farriery, is commonly called the cant ; and, with respect to horses, merits particular consideration. The hair growing on the fetlock, serves as a defence to the prominent part of it, when the animal is travelling on rough, stony roads, or in frosty weather. If the hair on the neck and more exposed parts be close and smooth, it may be concluded that the horse is in health.
To render the hair of this useful animal fine and glossy, it is necessary that he be kept warm at heart, as the least internal cold will render the hair rough; he should also be frequently sweated, in order to loosen the dust and filth, which render his coat foul ; and while he is hot, all the white foam, sweat, etc. that rises on his skin, ought t6 be carefully scraped off. The smoothness of a horse's hair, it is said, may also be considerably promoted, by rubbing his own blood over him for two or three days after it has been drawn; he is then to be well curried and dressed, in consequence of which, his coat will become as soft and glossy as if it had been covered with a fine var-nish
The hair of a horse's mane and tail is apt to fall off, especially if they have been suddenly over-heated, so as to engender, what is called in the language of the stable, the dry-mange. A similar effect will follow, after he has been surfeited, so that the foul humours are repelled into those extremities of the body. To remedy such disgusting appearance, the horse'* mane, etc. should be anointed with black soap, and the animal washed with a strong ley prepared of wood-ashes. If, nevertheless, a canker arise on the animal's tail, it will be requisite to apply diluted oil of vitriol, which will corrode, and prevent it from making farther progress.
Horse-hair likewise forms a considerable article of trade ; it pays on importation a duty of about 11d, per lb. and is partly employed for weaving the covers of the seats of chairs, sofas, etc. but principally for the stuffing of bolsters and mattresses. For the last men-tioned purposes, the hair is pre-viously baked, and, in that state, forms one of the most elastic couches, which is incomparably su-perior to the softest, but enervating, feather-beds.