This may seem obvious, but judging by the state of certain Riders' hair, apparently it's not. Grooming is not just for horses (see below re:conditioner); I know it sounds like heresy, but there are special brushes and combs available that are not meant even meant for use on horses, but are only for the use on the hair of Men.
I don’t think I need to outline the advantages to brushing your hair – just take a gander at your horse’s mane and tail. If you’d like your own hair to look that shiningly neat and polished, the first step is to brush your hair, every single day. A hundred strokes at the end of the night won’t kill you; if it’s too much effort for you to do yourself, ask a friend to lend a helping hand! I’ve heard that Elfhelm’s strokes are much sought-after.
However, it goes without saying that your horse’s brush and/or currycomb should be of much higher quality than the one you choose for yourself. Unless you're just a self-obsessed bastard who has no respect for our four-legged
For the love of Bema, you ought to know this one - I've yet to see a horse with a tail full of split ends, yet many Riders don't seem to understand that conditioner is not just for horses! It's true! Anything you use on your horse's tail can also be used to make your own hair shinier, thicker, and fuller.
For those of you scoffing such advice as "girly" or "a pile of steaming road apples", please take a closer look at our Second Marshal's hair the next time you see him. Théodred son of Théoden has been conditioning diligently since he was just a wee tot, and it shows. He's not gettin' all that action just on account of his charming smile, you know.
Well, yes, there's that, too.
All right, and that.
Well, of course that.
Look, the point is that if it's good enough for Théodred, it's certainly good enough for you to stop your bitching about how dull and lifeless your hair looks and give it a try.
No matter what Certain Nancy Countries to the South might think, Rohirrim do not wear braids to "pretty themselves up". Rohirric braids are manly, useful things, which are useful in manly ways. Braids keep hair out of your eyes when you're slaughtering orcs, killing Dunlendings, stabbing Wargs, hunting wild animals for a feast, fist-fighting your fellow Rider and other such traditionally Rohirric activities. If you’ve already indulged in both “brushing” and “conditioning”, a smooth, sleek braid will take only a few minutes to accomplish, it'll looks great all day long, and you won't have to take time before the evening feast to wonder, “Is this appropriate to the occasion?” You may take comfort in the knowledge that braids are always appropriate. Additionally, braids will prevent those beastly tangles which can take hours of valuable drinking time to comb out.
It is recommended that braids be tucked up inside of your helm before riding into battle; though a braid streaming behind you while charging onto the field may look impressive, it's really an invitation for an orc to grab hold and dash your brains on the ground.
Note: When worn by our ferocious warrior women, braids are no longer manly but feminine, and used for both prettying and usefulness. If you'd like to suggest otherwise, be my guest. Just give me a running start.
Sparkly clips can add a cheerful touch to any Rider's coif. They can be used to hold back those pesky wisps of hair that are always escaping and falling into your eyes or tickling the back of your neck, to hold fast the end of a braid, or simply as festive decoration. They come in many different designs, including horses, ponies, mares, stallions, fillies, foals, decapitated orc, bunny rabbits, sword, butterflies, decapitated Dunlending, decapitated Warg, mead stein, etc. Sparkly clips bearing the standard of Rohan or your éored are also available; if you'd like something a little more personal, please see Éothain, who is currently taking commissions for custom work.
Ritual sacrifice is an old and venerated method of curing one’s hair ills; it is, however, tricky to get right, liable to provoke the rage of RapunÞel, and forbidden in several villages and towns (none of which, by the way, are Aldburg). And when it goes wrong, it goes spectacularly wrong – who among us can forget the horrible tale of sister-son-or-maybe-sister-daughter Þing, whose hair covered him/her from head to foot until no living person could determine a gender?
However, if you’re determined to try such a stupid, foolish, mule-headed thing, here’s the best way to do it :
Give a cry of “O mighty RapunÞel!” then rattle off the rest of the incantation while you’re already killing orcs or wargs or whatnot. That way you don’t have to spend very important horse-grooming time chasing down squirrels or bunnies or voles or weasels for sacrificial purposes. Also RapunÞel is rather fond of small rodenty creatures and hates chickens, which makes it difficult to find a proper offering without pissing her off.
There are other methods, but they’re far more complicated and I wouldn’t be able to refer you to a more knowledgeable source, as my lawyer advises me that I shouldn’t even acknowledge the existence of such radical approaches to hair care.
Some of you have asked about the washing of hair, and really, it’s not as important you might think. You can any non-lye-based soap you have on hand (saddle soap is also not recommended), but remember - a good, vigorous brushing is as good as a half-assed washing. And if you’re not going to condition - a deep conditioning once a week if nothing else - you might as well just stop trying, because your hair’s always going to look like month-old hay and we’re all going to point and laugh at you.