Lather Up

Lather Up
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.58

     challenging words:    dandruff, lather, citrus, supposedly, shampoo, reading, juniper, twentieth, avocado, steeped, scalp, posing, assume, starch, method, oily
     content words:    Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Africans, Hopi Indians, Rocky Mountain, Queen Elizabeth, In Germany, Hans Schwarzkopf, John Breck, Breck Girls

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Lather Up
By Brenda B. Covert

1     Everybody does it. Everyone washes their hair. However, those lovely bottles of colorful, scented shampoo that line the store shelves haven't always been available. They are a rather recent creation.
2     Shampoo, as you probably know, is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it is the soapy stuff with which we wash our hair. As a verb, it is the act of cleansing our hair. The word comes from a Hindu word that means "to massage or knead." That doesn't mean that the Hindus were the first people to wash hair; it only means that someone liked their word and applied it to hair cleansing! By the 1870s, English hairdressers refined the term to include massaging and washing the scalp with soap, water, and soda (not the soft drink kind).
3     Shampoo has only been around for one hundred years. People found many creative ways to clean their hair before then. For instance, Ancient Egyptians cleaned their hair with citrus juice. Ancient Africans steeped flowers in olive oil and herbs in avocado oil to help their hair look and smell its best. The Hopi Indians made a tea with Rocky Mountain juniper leaves and used it on their hair. Women of the Victorian era washed their tresses with a concoction of white Castile soap and water. Raw eggs massaged into their scalps would help remove dandruff and condition the hair. They even used table salt as a dry shampoo! All they had to do was put some in their hair and then brush it out again. It makes one wonder what other food items the women put in their hair!

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