The ancient Romans, with their impressive empire and lasting legacy, were also pioneers in personal grooming. Unearthed artifacts reveal their penchant for hair removal, which predates our modern threading salons and hair removal creams.
The ancient grooming practices, illustrated by the discovery of grooming tools resembling our present-day tweezers, are now showcased at a museum in Wroxeter, a significant Roman city in Britain.
These ancient tweezers, which span between the second and fifth centuries C.E., provide a fascinating insight into the beauty standards and cultural norms of the time.
Hair removal was widespread throughout the Roman Empire, and reasons for practicing it varied. Interestingly, Wroxeter’s archaeological sites have yielded one of the largest collections of these tweezers in Britain.
Beyond Wroxeter, other digs have revealed similar tools, including a metal ear-cleaning device, evoking the image of a modern Q-tip, found near London.
However, this preoccupation with personal grooming was not just a matter of individual choice. Often, the task of hair removal was assigned to slaves, a reflection of the societal hierarchies prevalent during Roman times.
Wroxeter, at its zenith, rivaled the size of Pompeii and was Roman Britain’s fourth-largest settlement. Historically called Viriconium Cornoviorum, this city has captivated archaeologists over the years.
A striking testament to this interest is the 2011 documentary series, “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day,” which chronicled the reconstruction of a Roman villa using only ancient tools, mirroring the ingenuity of ancient Roman builders.
Alongside the tweezers, the museum’s exhibit boasts a myriad of other captivating artifacts from that era, such as a Roman pipe that once transported water to the local bathhouse, cosmetic sets for makeup application, perfume bottles, and countless other items that bridge the past with the present, reminding us of the timeless human pursuit of beauty and grooming.