History of Hairstyles

Hairstyles drift in and out through the decades. Some make a mark in history and others fade into forgetfulness never to be thought of again. Hairstyles can reflect religious, political, cultural beliefs and other key aspects of life. Hair has long been used to indicate wealth, social standing and even power. The impact of hair styles in various cultures throughout history is absolutely fascinating.

In the heat of Egypt, hairstyle was an important issue. Like modern hairstyles, Ancient Egyptian hairstyles varied with gender, age and social status. Women generally preferred a close coiffure, a long curl and natural wave. Men and women equally used to replace their hair with wigs made of sheep's wool or natural hair. They also dyed their wigs a wide range of colors using a material called henna. Henna is still used today.Ancient Greek hairstyles came as a result of a highly organized society. In ancient Greece, women's hair was usually coiled around into a chignon but allowed to frame the face. The lower class women kept their hairstyle simple and functional, while the higher class ladies wore their hair long with elaborately fashioned curls to maintain their status worthy of respect. While Rome had the tendency to follow Greek styles, African tribes dyed the hair with grease and red earth. Africans stiffened their hair with animal droppings. Among the Africans, it usually took hours to fashion a hairstyle. Geisha women's hairdos were very elaborated and often enhanced with hairpieces. During the Medieval era, women of the upper class wore their hair in loose curls.

During the Renaissance women had as a main goal to give the appearance of a higher forehead so they plucked the entire front hairline away. The Elizabethan era is characterized by very high collars and Queen Elizabeth was considered the main female icon and sort of a trend-setter. During the Baroque Period, people began to grow out their hair. Wigs were made of either human or horse hair and they became something of a status symbol. After a Victorian age where the puritanical standards and constraints were strongly reflected by the way the women wore their hair, the 1920's society brought the new free-spirited woman with her waved and bobbed style. By the 1940's, sun-tans and wavy natural looks became really popular whilst women of the 1950's started to visit salons more often, abusing their hair to achieve the '50's ideal of beauty.

During the 1960's, the best-loved hair color among ladies was blond - on short hairstyles that could be quickly styled. The 70's woman adopted a natural looking style, with long hair and free-falling curls. The 1980's, also known as the Age of Excess, liberated people from the set-image. A woman's hairstyle reflected a busy work life and a hectic social life. Short, choppy styles as well as long and sleek hairdos were considered voguish during the 1990's. It did not actually mattered how long your hair was as long as it was blond. Even previously film stars and models turned blond. With the increase in the communication and economy and a trend towards individualism and informality both women and men, regardless of social status, were now free to choose the cut, color and style of their hair.