BEAUTY: Hairstyles and Its History

BEAUTY: Hairstyles and Its History

A hairstyle, hairdo, or haircut refers to the styling of hair, usually on the human scalp. The fashioning of hair can be considered an aspect of personal grooming, fashion, and cosmetics, although practical, cultural, and popular considerations also influence some hairstyles.[1] The oldest known depiction of hair braiding dates back about 30,000 years. In ancient civilizations, women’s hair was often elaborately and carefully dressed in special ways. In Imperial Rome, women wore their hair in complicated styles. From the time of the Roman Empire[citation needed]until the Middle Ages, most women grew their hair as long as it would naturally grow. During the Roman Empire as well as in the 16th century in the western world, women began to wear their hair in extremely ornate styles. In the later half of the 15th century and on into the 16th century a very high hairline on the forehead was considered attractive. During the 15th and 16th centuries, European men wore their hair cropped no longer than shoulder-length. In the early 17th century male hairstyles grew longer, with waves or curls being considered desirable. (


Elizabeth I of England 1592


Natalie portman phantom menace 3


Queen Padmé Amidala wearing the Jewel of Zenda


Queen Amidala Star Wars 1



Natalie Dormer the Tudors Royal Hairstyle in – Game of Thrones

Hair adornments in medieval times 

During medieval times it was difficult to imagine a person without headwear. Excluding the children, it was compulsory to wear head pieces whether they were men or women belonging to all ages. At that time headwears were not only decorative pieces but also played a part in defining people’s etiquettes and elegancy, moreover it was a part of social standing of people in society.

We can say that the war for piece of land and supremacy had led to the emergency of headwears. Some coverings were used to protect the head from serious injuries which gradually enter into civilization. Since the beginning of medieval period, as medieval costumes headwears too were essential part of attire. Throughout the medieval history with the development in tailoring skill of people and technology, head covers too had gone through a great degree of changes.

During late medieval period, everyone in European country used to wear head pieces which in their modern avtar are equally famous among masses. It was allowed for Italian women to uncover their head while the women’s of other countries cover their head with wimple, barbet and fillet.


16th century Italian woman Fillet, a narrow head band was worn by unmarried women and by certain monks along with a wimple, it was a garment which underpass through chin to give support to linen cap or coif and a veil.

Another accessory crespines used to confine the hair from both side of head were generally made of wire or knitted mesh. During the same period, Italian women abolished the use of head wears with transparent head gauzes.

In today’s times wimples are more common among nuns who are still attached to traditional way of wearing caps. In the meanwhile it was allowed for men to keep their head uncover.

With the beginning of fifteenth century, an era of expensive and extravagant clothes started which were huge and voluminous in size and gracious in look. To enhance the overall look of attire head coverings too became stylish, lased with jewelries and feathers. Crespines too come in its developed form, now they were used to gather hair in head’s back. At that time Hennin was the most expensive hair-dress styled in styled in cone or steeple shape. This hair-dress had wired frame which was covered by fabric and had an attached veil. As for men, vest and doublets were more common. Their tall crowned hats with or without brims displayed their status in society.

Gabble Hood French hood as the name suggest was famous in France. It was round in shape, worn over veil in back of head.

French Hood Centrally parted hair was confined in veil.




Women Salome

Biblical figures like Salome,  were often shown wearing medieval dress Martianus Capella, 15th century, Biblioteca Mariciana, Venice


Master unknown, Austrian (14-15th century); Portrait of Kunigunde of Austria c. 1485.

15th Century Headdress based on Mary of Burgundy Portrait

‘Medieval cone hat’ – 15th century



17th Century Hairstyles

 The fashion for hair powder took the first wobbly steps in the 17th century and provided an easy way to change the colour of the hair, but it doesn’t seem to have been universally used. Hair in portraits are often depicted as glossy, something that powder effectively remove. There were also various recipes for hair dye, promising tresses in gold, white as silver, yellow, red, black and green! I wonder who wanted green hair. To keep the curls in place Gummi Arabicum of egg-white were used.


The first two decades or so, the popular hairstyle was rather high, the hair were brushed over a padded form to form a kind of halo around the face. It was smooth and often decorated at the highest point. Originally quite high at the top, it gradually became more rounded around the face. (

A portrait of Catherine Henriette de de Balzac d’Entragues by an unknown artist, 1600 (


Anna Margareta, an impoverished German noblewoman embodies the 17th century beauty ideal well. With nothing but her looks she didn’t have much of a prospect, until she met and wed Count Carl Gustaf Wrangel, the richest man in Sweden. A mutual love match and a very happy marriage. (


Portrait of Elizabeth Stuart, Princess of England, Scotlan and Ireland by an unknown artist, ca. 1606 (


A portrait of Hortense Mancini, duchesse Mazarin as Aphrodite by Jacob Ferdinand Voet, ca. 1675 (


a portrait of Adriana Jacobusdr Hinlopen by Lodewijk van der Helst, 1667 (


Detail of a portrait of Maria of Austria, Queen of Hungary by Frans Luycks, 1635   (

f Anne Sophia, Countess of Carnarvon by Anthony van Dyck, 1633-1635 (

portrait of The Infanta Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV of Spain by Diego Velazquez, 1651 (


portrait of Catherine of Braganze by Dirk Stoop, 1660-1661   (

Baroque period 17th century. Coiffure Louis XIV.



Fragonard Mme. GuimardJean Laurent Mosnier paintingsLuis Paret y AlcazarJens Juel paintingsGeorge Romney paintingsJohn Smart miniaturesPompeo BatoniMaria Winkelmann KirchGainsborough Lady in Blue

The male wig was pioneered by King Louis XIII of France (1601–1643) in 1624. Perukes or periwigs for men were introduced into the English-speaking world with other French styles in 1660. Late 17th-century wigs were very long and wavy, but became shorter in the mid-18th century, by which time they were normally white. Short hair for fashionable men was a product of the Neoclassical movement. In the early 19th century the male beard, and also moustachesand sideburns, made a strong reappearance. From the 16th to the 19th century, European women’s hair became more visible while their hair coverings grew smaller. In the middle of the 18th century the pouf style developed. During the First World War, women around the world started to shift to shorter hairstyles that were easier to manage. In the early 1950s women’s hair was generally curled and worn in a variety of styles and lengths. In the 1960s, many women began to wear their hair in short modern cuts such as the pixie cut, while in the 1970s, hair tended to be longer and looser. In both the 1960s and 1970s many men and women wore their hair very long and straight.[2] In the 1980s, women pulled back their hair with scrunchies. During the 1980s, punk hairstyles were adopted by some people. (



Van BeuningenNicolo Di ContiJoseph Wrigh tpaintingPierre Subleyras paintingsPerronneau portrait of a manJohann Zoffany paintings

19th Century

hair flowers pearls feathers ship bun roses hairstyles braids Ancient 19th century baroque rococo ribbons 18th century 16th century renaissance 17th century ancient roman elizabethan romantic era biedermeier pouf fontage hair flowers pearls feathers ship bun roses hairstyles braids Ancient 19th century baroque rococo ribbons 18th century 16th century renaissance 17th century ancient roman elizabethan romantic era biedermeier pouf fontage

By the 16th and 17th centuries, the Dorias–a feudal, soldiering lot–had become the richest family in Genoa.


Ancient times hair

Tteoljam was a Joseon Dynasty’s (1392 – 1910) hair decoration that married women to placed on front and each side of the head. Ttul referred to a butterfly or bird-shaped spring decoration made of silver thread. Binyeo (cross bar) with Ttul decoration was called Ttulbinyeo. – Korean

Ladies with elaborate mage or buns, 1790s – Japan


Tang Dynasty Female Emperor Hair Accessories Set (China)


Tang Dynasty Female Emperor Hair Accessories Set

Ancient times hair in South West of China, in the province of Guizhou

Ancient time Sumerian hairstyle: Puabi was queen from the 1st dynasty of Ur. In her tomb was found a lot os amazing jewelery, and this extraordinary headdress.


Egyptian hairstyles very much depended on the wealth, age and social group the individual circulated in. Both men and women would have shoulder-length hair or hair cut short to the nape or even clean shaven heads! However a shaven head was worn by young adults before they become of age, they would leave a small curl in the side of their head, named ’Lock of Youth’, to symbolise their age. Then they would have a choice of short or long hair. Young girls wore plaits, braids or sometimes ponytails. The older men and women would wear wigs to hide their lack of hair or the greyness of it. Due to being exposed to the sun the wig would help protect the Egyptian’s hair from sun damage.
Women from the Old Kingdom would have shorter hairstyles whereas women from the New Kingdom had longer ones. Women would wear their hair with a natural-looking curl (when their hair was long) or plaited. Both kinds of women would decorate their hair with flowers such as the lotus blossom and linen ribbons. Egyptians would also use Diadems (similar to tiaras) made from gold or garnet but the poor people would decorate their hair with berries and petals. They would also wear headbands that circled the whole head and would serve to hold the hair in place as well as ivory and metal hairpins and beads to keep extensions in place. On each ringlet of hair (tress) they threaded gold tubes to show their wealth and dyed their natural hair with henna. Like women today their hairstyles were very unique.

The Veil was rejected by the privileged women but poor women adopted the veil because it was seen as a sign of social mobility. Men kept their hair short or shaved, the wealthier men would wear elaborate wigs. (

Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic queen, who ruled from 51 BC until 30 BC, wore different hairstyles, according with different situations. She was of Greek blood, Macedonian, not having any Egyptian appearance. In her visits to Rome, she used the classic Greek style, which was the one which really matched with her Hellenistic look, with a headwear called “melon hairstyle”, as seen in many Greek sculptures; the hair pulled back in waves, tied in the nape with a chignon. When she was in the court of Alexandria, she used an Egyptian-Ptolomaic hairstyle, a blend of Greek and Egyptian features, being a characteristic style of this period. And when she gave speeches to her people, her look and hairstyle were typically pure Egyptian: the hair is segmented in three sections and an image of a cobra is used as a crown. (


 Roman Women: This hairstyle with long hair and braids is also found in all the representations of goddesses, like Athena, Artemisia, Aphrodite o Cassandra.



Ephesus was steeped in goddess religion, having as its main goddess – the goddess of fertility. She was identified with the Greek goddess Artemis, the virgin huntress – except the Romans called her Diana – the fertility goddess.

Roman Patrician women, who had a better social status, adorned their hair assisted by servants or slaves called “ornatrix”, who made their hair ornaments. Complex and sophisticated styles were indicative of a high social status, while the simple ones were considered a sign of barbarism. To curl their hair they use a tool called “calamistrum”, (a curling iron) which was a hollow iron tube that was heated on the ashes and the hair was rolled around it. They wore wigs to augment the size of their hair. As some of them were very sophisticated, the Roman poet Juvenal said: “The more important is the matter of their beauty, more stores piled one on each other like a building”. The common name among the Romans for a wig, was “Galerus”. Wigs were usually made with human hair; blond hair came from German slaves and black hair from India. Dyes were made with different formulas, mixing henna with other herbs for reddish hairs, saffron flowers for blond hair and a weird recipe recommended by Plinius the Elder to dye the hair of black color: “applying leeches that have rotten in red wine for 40 days, and, with the juice obtained of that, to colorize the hair”. They also used potassium water and hydrogen peroxide, or bleach, to decolorize it. (

Women hairstyles were changing throughout the years; the “tutulus” hairstyle, inherited from the Etruscans, was the most usual, used by the materfamiliae (mothers of family), and it was used almost all the time in the Ancient Rome. The “nodus” hairstyle, was the hair parted in three, with the hair from the sides of the head tied in a bun at the back while the middle section is tied in a knot at the top of the head. The “sine crine” hairstyle was made with six locks independently braided and was only worn by brides or Vestal virgins. Along the life of the Roman Empire, there were several different hairstyles, as those of we can watch here:

Head of Julia Titi daughter of Empeor Titus with the typical Flavian hairstyle Roman Marble

Pictures Of Ancient Roman Hairstyle

Greece Women Hairstyle

Ancient Greece imposed its hairstyle to the entire world known at that time.


In Africa there where many tribes and with that plenty of different customs. Masai warriors would spend hours braiding each other’s hair. They die their hair red with a natural hair pigment found in volcanic regions which is mixed with animal fat to create a paint texture. This tribe also wears a headdress. Women will have their heads shaved when they are married to symbolises a new beginning. Boy’s hair is also shaved before they are circumcised allowing their hair to grow until they become a warrior, then it will be braided.

Mangbetu women have a different kind of hairstyle as they braid their hair into a cone-shaped basket ( creating a crown)which is held in place by bones shaped like needles. The Miango tribe had simple ponytails that were covered by headscarves. But these styles represented different meanings to each tribe. Dyed and stiffed hair which was achieved by applying dung were common hairstyles in ancient Africa. (


Mangbetu Women Hairstyle

A few women of the Mangbetu tribe who have elongated heads; their skulls were lengthened by tight cord when they were infants.


Native Indians to America were divided in hairstyles like many African tribes. Tribes close to the East Coasts would shave most of their hair apart from a ridge of hair along the crown. Many warriors shaved their heads except for a fringe of hair around the head(known as tonsure), a single lock of hair on the crown of their head(scalplock), or a stiff crest of hair running down the middle of the head known as a roach or in today’s world a Mohawk. A roach was both made with real and artificial hair and it was brightly coloured. In other Indian tribes men believed their hair to symbolise power and the longer their hair the more wisdom and power he possessed. His hair would be separated into two braids and into one braid down the centre of his back if he was an older and more experienced warrior.

Women would also wear such styles and would decorate their hair with jewellery, beads ad feathers. Braiding today uses three strands of hair but Indians used more strands to demonstrate in intricacy of their hairstyle. Many men and women would have a simple flowing hairstyle and would sometimes paint horizontal stripes in the centre with bright colours. Southeast tribes such as Navajo and Pueblo, would tie their hair behind their heads and twist into what is known as a chongo (also worn by men).

Hopi maidens wore big hairstyles that are known as squash blossom or butterfly whorls. This kind of hairstyle was only worn by unmarried women and was created by the mother circling the hair around (temporary) wooden blocks to create a butterfly look. (

Hopi Woman By Edward Curtis the squash blossom hair is amazing and the so are the textiles.



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