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Mummy study: Egyptians used hair gel

Mummy study: Egyptians used hair gel
A replica of King Tutankhamun's mummy is displayed at the King Tut exhibit at the Times Square Discovery Center on April 21, 2010 in New York City. The exhibit, which features artifacts found in the ancient boy-king's tomb, is making its final showing before being returned to Egypt. (UPI Photo/Monika Graff) | License Photo

MANCHESTER, England, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- British researchers say their study of 18 mummies indicates ancient Egyptians used fat-based products as hair-styling gel.

The University of Manchester researchers, who published their findings Aug. 16 in the Journal of Archaeological Science, said hair samples collected from the mummies were examined under a microscope and the team found the hair had been treated with a substance made from plant and animal fatty acids, Livescience.com reported Tuesday.

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The researchers said they believe the substance was used as hair-styling gel by the ancient Egyptians and the embalmers sought to retain the hairstyles the mummies wore in life.

"Personal appearance was important to the ancient Egyptians so much so that in cases where the hair was styled, the embalming process was adapted to preserve the hairstyle," the team wrote. "This further ensured that the deceased's individuality was retained in death, as it had been in life, and emphasizes the importance of the hair in ancient Egyptian society."

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