Washington: Ancient Egyptians seem to be so particular about their appearance that they used fat-based gels to style their hair more than 2300 years ago, a new study on mummies has found.

Researchers based at the University of Manchester, who studied 18 Egyptian mummies dated back to 300 BC, found that nine of them had an unknown substance coating their hair.

Chemical analyses of the coating showed it was made up of fatty acids from plants and animals, LiveScience reported.

The researchers believe that this fat-based hair gel was used by the Egyptians to mold and hold the hair in position to enhance appearance, since some of the deceased that had been mummified naturally in the desert also had fats in their hair.

During mummification process using embalming chemicals, the undertakers seem to have taken special care to retain the deceased's hairdos, the researchers found.

"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," they wrote in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"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."

The researchers believe that different materials were used for different areas of the mummified bodies.

"The hair samples from the Dakhleh Oasis were not coated with resin/bitumen-based embalming materials, but were coated with a fat-based substance," they said.

The mummies -- 15 found from a desert cemetery called Dakhleh Oasis and 3 from museum samples -- had all different kinds of hairstyles depending on age, sex and social status.

Researchers have earlier found objects in Egyptian tombs that seem to be curing tongs, so they might have been used in conjunction with the hair product to curl the hair into place, the researchers said.

(Agencies)