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Monday, 18 May 2015



In earliest times people regarded their hair as a seat of the vital spirit of life. The more there was of it, the stronger they imagined themselves (or others) to be. Warriors, especially, let it grow long, lest they lost their vigor and invited defeat, as illustrated by Samson's story in the Bible. For that purpose, wigs were invented.

Babylonian and Assyrian men dyed their long hair and square beards black and crimped and curled them with curling irons They powdered their hair with gold dust and sometimes wigs were worn.

Babylonian warriors combed perfumed oil into their hair.

Persian nobles also curled their hair and beards and stained them red with henna.

Ancient Egyptian noblemen and noblewomen clipped their hair close; later, for coolness and cleanliness in the hot climate they shaved their heads with bronze razors.

Neferneferuaten Nefertiti (c1370-c1330BC) was the wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (later Akhenaten), and mother-in-law of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen. The fashion for ladies of the Egyptian court to wear beehive hairstyles and polish their heads to achieve a smooth, elongated profile, was begun by Nefertiti's six daughters, whose heads were narrowed by doctors during birth to minimize their mother''s labor pains.

Wealthy ancient Egyptians would sleep with neck supports instead of pillows to preserve their hairstyles.

In ancient Greece, women's hair was mainly thick and dark and worn long and curled naturally or artificially in definite patterns. Fillets, headbands made of ribbon or metal, were popular among both sexes.Male youths cut their hair short upon reaching manhood.

It is in the frescoes of Crete that ponytails worn by women first appeared.

Noble rank among the ancient Gauls was indicated by long hair, which Julius Caesar made them cut off as a sign of submission when he conquered them.

The most popular hairstyle for Roman men were short, brushed forward, and with arranged curls. Beardless faces remained fashionable.

Roman women's hairstyles were most often parted in the center, waved or curled over the ears, and left hanging in long curls or put up in chignons or buns.

From the 9th century, nobles on the European continent wore short hair (to the neck) and were clean shaven.

Muslims during the Middle Ages, concealed their hair modestly in public under the man's headdoth, turban, or fez or the woman's veil.

In 1060 Wulfstan, the bishop of Worcester, preached against long hair for men as he considered it so effeminate as to constitute an offence against God.

Before the the 1066 Norman invasion of Britain,  King Harold's spies ventured out to gather intelligence; they returned with the report of a very large group of "priests" seen nearby but no enemy soldiers. Those priests were actually William the Conqueror's army, mistaken for holy men due to their clean-shaven appearance on their faces and exaggerated pageboy haircuts. The Normans shaved off the hair on the back of their heads but kept a short back and sides look, which gave them all a monk-like appearance.

In medieval Europe maidens wore uncovered flowing hair, while matrons bound theirs under veils.

In the 13th and 14th centuries the influence of the church encouraged married noblewomen to modestly veil their long plaits entwined with ribbons and false hair. They coiled their plaits over the ears or bundled them into gold or silver nets or concealed hair, neck, and chin with a linen wimple. All these styles were finished off by a veil or kerchief.

In the 15th century, fashionable ladies of northern Europe plucked their hairline to make their foreheads seem higher and scraped their hair back under an elaborate homed, pointed, or wired headdress. In the warmer climate of Italy, women displayed their hair in plaits and under low, jewelled turbans or caps.

During the Renaissance, fashionable aristocratic Italian women shaved their hair several inches back from their natural hairlines.

In general, men's hair got longer and beards got smaller in the first half of the 17th century. Fashionable men wore long curled hair, often oiled, falling over wide, white collars. Frequently they displayed a longer lock tied with a bow, a neat mustache and a small, pointed beard, the Vandyke.

Women's hair in the first part of the 17th century was flat on top with fringe on the forehead; wide crimped puffs, then bunched long curls over wire frames at the sides; and a coil high in back decorated with rosettes or a fine linen or lace cap.

Madame De Pompadour (1721-1764). Louis XV’s chief mistress for 19 years, inspired the pompadour hairstyle in which hair is swept up into a puffy mass above the forehead.

Toward the end of the 17th century, false hair became more popular than natural hair. Men's wigs were usually brown or black and fell over the shoulders in unruly masses of curls, often reaching to the waist in back.

Women's coiffures were becoming more and more elaborate. By the middle of the 18th century their hairstyles had become very fanciful. False hair and padding were used to build them to great heights, and the coiffure was sometimes topped with fruit, flowers, even live birds in cages or models of ships in full sail. Such constructions required several hours work every one to three weeks. Between sessions the undisturbed coiffure was likely to attract vermin.

One widow, overcome with mourning, had her husband's tombstone erected in her hair.

Women developed backaches from the weight of these monstrosities. They traveled for miles by carriage to parties where they could show off their coiffure, bent over in the coach because their hair would not travel upright.

Marie Antoinette's hairdresser, Léonard Autié, invented the pouf hairstyle and founded the Théâtre de Monsieu.

In the 1780's a reaction against formality and extravagance led to the hérisson (hedgehog) style for men and women, a loose, bushy mass of curls.

In the UK The Duty on Hair Powder Act — a tax of one guinea a year — came into effect in 1795. The levy hastened the end of the fashion for powdering hair and wigs, which had been a way of showing off one’s wealth.

The French Revolution at the end of the 18th century heralded a return to the classical Greek hairstyles, with hair dressed closer to the head powder-free and fillets or bands of ribbon worn by women. Hairpins, clips, and tortoiseshell combs became popular hair ornaments.

In 1829, when Mrs. Lydia Child wrote The Frugal Housewife, hair care was quite different from what it is now. New England rum was considered to be excellent for cleaning the hair and keeping it healthy; brandy was supposed to strengthen the roots.

During the 19th century as men became more concerned with commerce, they spent less time on their hair. Most men men wore facial hair in a wide range of styles--from mutton-chop sideburns to the walrus-style mustache.

By the 1830's women were dressing their hair standing rolls or loops on the crown, held by ribbons and combs, and short curls clustered at the temples.

The most widely used hair preparations of the 19th century were Macassar oil and brilliantine, whose functions were to give hair shine.

The term "sideburns" is named after Ambrose Burnside (1824 – 1881), a former governor of Rhode Island.

The simple center-parted styles worn by women in the Victorian era lasted until the 1870s, when the Parisian hairdresser Marcel Grateau created a new, natural-looking wave by turning a curling iron upside down. The Marcel wave remained popular for almost half a century and helped usher in a new era of women's waved and curled hairpieces, which were mixed with the natural hair.

Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C. J. Walker (1876-1919) was a St. Louis washerwoman turned entrepreneur, who in 1905 invented a method to soften and smooth black women's hair. Her method involved her own formula for a pomade, much brushing, and the use of heated combs.

German hairdresser Karl Ludwig Nessler introduced permed hair to the UK on October 8, 1906 when he displayed his ‘permanent wave’ machine at 245 Oxford Street, London, in front of prominent hairdressers of the time.

The famous ballroom dancer Irene Castle bobbed her hair in about 1913, Within a few years, short hair had become the fashion.  At the end of World War I, women everywhere cut or "bobbed" their hair as a symbol of their political and social emancipation and because of its practicality for women working outside the home.

African American inventor Solomon Harper invented Thermo hair curlers in 1930.

Crew cuts originated from the  hairstyle enjoyed by US college rower teams in the 1930s.

Actress Veronica Lake, famous for her "peek a boo" hairstyle with one eye covered, changed her style during World War II in order to encourage women to adopt safer hairstyles when working in factories.

In the 1950's the invention of rollers for waving made possible the very short, layered Italian cut . As young, active, informal women discarded hats, hair styIes became more important.

It was the pop group The Beatles that popularized longer hair for men for the first time in many decades in the 1960s with their bowl haircuts. Their hairstyle was created on October 9, 1961 during a trip to Paris by Jürgen Vollmer after Jean Marair's style in the 1960 Jean Cocteau movie Le Testament d’Orphee.

An afro is a hairstyle in which naturally short, curly black hair is allowed to grow out in a bush around the head. The style became popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s among the African American community. Jimi Hendrix, and members of the The Jackson 5 and The Supremes all adorned large afros during that period.

From the 1970s there has been a wider acceptance of variety in hairstyles for both men and women--from the straight and free-swinging long hair, through the naturally curly, to spiked-up hairdos.

President Bill Clinton was accused of having the ‘most expensive haircut in history’ when he paid a hairdresser $200 to tend his locks in 1993. His haircut was done while Air force One was on the ground at Los Angeles airport, leading to two runways being shut down for an hour. Although a later inquiry said no commercial flights had been delayed, ‘hairgate’ had already done its damage.

North Korea issued a list of 28 state approved haircuts (with longer hair for single women, but shorter locks for those who are married) in 2013.


The average woman has 150 different hairstyles in her lifetime.

The Beastie Boys coined the term "mullet" to refer to a hairstyle in 1994 in their song "Mullet Head". No earlier use of the term "mullet" that refers to a hairstyle has been found.

North Korea's "leader's haircut" - reportedly being rolled out to students across the country - is aesthetically similar to an earlier style known as the "Chinese smuggler haircut".

Both men and women in North Korea must choose their haircuts from lists of 18 approved styles for women, or 10 for men.

Iran officially bans haircuts that are considered "gay" and "devil worshipping".

The women of the Red Yao tribe in Guangxi, China, only cut their hair once in their lives, usually right before they get married.

J.K. Rowling revealed that Harry Potter is wealthy because his ancestor, Fleamont Potter, developed a magical hair styling gel.

The selling of human hair extensions is a multi-billion dollar industry, and this common practice means there are tons of rich girls walking around wearing poor girls' hair.

Tonsurephobia is the fear of getting haircuts.

Sources, Europress Encyclopedia, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1998

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of information. For good haircut you need to have best quality and professional hair cutting shears. Professional shears help a lot in every way.