The Everyday Lore Project

23 February 2020 – Quinquagesima Sunday

23 February 2020 – Quinquagesima Sunday

Today I washed my hair with egg. Yup, raw egg. Apparently washing your hair with egg is a thing, not just a folklore thing, but a thing with beauty bloggers, and those who eschew shampoo altogether. So seeing as we’re in the second day of Shrovetide, or Quinquagesima Sunday, a time when perishable food is supposed to be used up, I thought I would use some up on my hair. 

Washing your hair with egg is supposed to condition it, make it shiny. But as with all these kinds of folklore hacks, the interpretation of how you achieve this is legion. Some say you mix the egg with shampoo, some say you put it on after the shampoo, some say you slather it on in the shower instead of shampoo, some say you put it on before you shower and leave it for 15mins before washing it off. However, ALL of them say don’t wash it off using hot water otherwise you’ll get a clump of hairy scrambled egg, which frankly would make me want to gip even if I wasn’t feeling a tiny bit fragile today. 

I decided to go for the slap on and leave option. My hair can throw a strop at the slightest provocation, so my hair products are hardcore, using them would have just invalidated the experiment. So ignoring the Rules of Folklore that usually say I shouldn’t be doing anything on a Sunday for fear of troubling the Devil (grease comes when it comes), I cracked two eggs, gave them a whisk and went into the bathroom.

I’m quite queasy about eggs, which sounds not a tiny bit hypocritical given yesterday’s outing, but the thought of scooping up slimy raw egg with my fingers was a little much. So despite the equally hideous imagined sensation of raw egg slipping inside the latex, I donned some disposable gloves and began to apply. My hair is too long at the moment as I’m trying to find a ‘good’ day to have it cut meaning that the two eggs only just covered it (by the way, apparently the next best day to have your hair cut to encourage growth is this Tuesday). The shower cap I’d lifted from a hotel room turned out to be a flabby disaster so after all the egg had been used, I tied my hair in a topknot before setting the timer. 

I don’t know why I didn’t think the egg wouldn’t drip. It did. Everywhere. And bits of eggy hair kept slapping my forehead when I moved. There was much joy when the fifteen minutes were up. Washing it out was fine. My hair started really matted but by the end it was smooth and squeaky. I’d washed it over the side of the bath in cold water so no scrambledness, but there were still clots of egg snot that got caught in my hair and were revolting to remove. 

But was it worth it? The eggy smell in the bathroom was vile, however my hair doesn’t whiff that bad. When it was still wet it smelled a bit like raw cake mixture, but either I’ve become immune, or it doesn’t smell anymore. And it doesn’t feel much different from when I wash it in the bath. It’s very full, quite frizzy and I still look like someone little children would run away from crying. But then if everything is the same, surely that means it works just as well as my usual stuff? And if it works just as well as my usual stuff… But nope, I’m not doing that again. I’ve decided that after today, I want what little beauty routine I have to be free of breakfast foods (and yes, that includes oats).

We have haulm, people! Haulm, as I found out today when I peeped underneath the kitchen table, is potato plant foliage. So I dragged the grow bag into the light and moved it into a sunnier spot (where the cat is sure to get at it but I’m just going to have to take my chances). I sprinkled on some more compost until only about an inch of haulm was showing, gave it a water and stood back and marvelled. While my photos are shockingly bad, I am rather fond of the fact my ineptitude has captured a slightly alien quality to the shoots.

And finally Quinquagesima. Quinquagesima Sunday (not to be confused with Quasimodo Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter) means there are now 50 days to Easter if you count both Sundays, which they used to. On a completely tangential note, did you know that physicists believe in magic? Or at least in the magicality of numbers? And apparently 50 is one such magical number. Now, I’ve tried to understand it, but I don’t, so you’ll just have to do your own research. But I do know that it’s something to do with nuclei and shells, which brings us neatly back to eggs…


Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books

Struthers, J. (2009) Red Sky At Night, The Book of Lost Countryside Wisdom, London, Ebury Press

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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