With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Women used to grow whiskers for bizarre 19th century trend, historian discovers

Whiskers were so popular in the 19th century that even women wanted to grow sideburns, a historian has revealed after finding old adverts for grooming products.

Men began wearing fake sideburns in the early 1800s to join the "whiskered mania" which engulfed England - and spurred a thriving market for lotions and potions to care for facial hair.

The craze, reminiscent of the millennial hipster beard trend, was a symbol of masculinity and social status, particularly in London where it was part of the metropolitan elite's "uniform".

The fashion was so popular that even women wanted to join in. They began drawing on false whiskers and training their hair to grow down their cheeks.

Products which exploded onto the scene included "Russia Oil", which promised to make whiskers grow thick and long, and "Incomparable Fluid" which could be used to dye them brown or black for a more natural look.

Read entire article at Telegraph