"I doubt you require hair"

In Victorian times the practice of buying and selling hair was much more common than it is now. Hairstyles were very important to the Victorian woman; not only intricate chignon, but a growing trend for loose, flowing hair meant that wigs and hairpieces were often used to add length and volume. Hair was also used in jewellery and artwork – rings, necklaces, mourning wreaths and much more were made using real human hair. Probably the most famous literary instance of hair-selling is in Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women, when the tomboyish Jo March cuts off all her hair to earn some money for her family, causing an outbreak of weeping from the four sisters.

Essay: 'The Power of Women's Hair in the Victorian Imagination'