Victorian hair care included the use of bear grease, applied either with the hands or a soft brush. Users were warned not to spread the oil too freely, as an over-oiled head of hair was both offensive and vulgar. As evidenced by the SS Republic’s large cargo of hair products, post-Civil War New Orleans offered a ready market for a variety of hair preparations including a popular bear grease dressing used to slick one's hair back in a style fashionable for that day and age.
Twenty-three small green rectangular bottles embossed “T & M” on both sides were recovered from the shipwreck site, each having once contained Taylor and Moore’s bear grease hair pomade. Alfred Taylor and James Moore were New York drug importers and distributors of a few medicinal products, but their primary line was perfumery goods, including their famous bear-grease formula which they are said to have advertised as early as 1837. When the Republic set sail in October 1865, their product had been on the market for over three decades.