This post is dedicated to all amazing women in the world! Happy Women’s Day!
Throughout the history of civilizations, hair has represented a fundamental element of human personality, the symbol of beauty, fascination, seduction, and sometimes, even power and strength.
Hair has always been a perfect adornment for our faces. Historically, hair meant, for women, a symbol of seduction and for men, a demonstration of strength. This can be seen in Greek mythology, where Aphrodite covered her nakedness with her long blond hair, and Samson defeated the Philistines when he recovered his precious threads. In this context, in ancient Greece, offering the hair to the gods meant a supreme act of great sacrifice. The pharaohs were socially differentiated by the shape of their wigs, while for Muslims, keeping a small lock on top of their heads represented the point for Muhammad to lead them to paradise. In Hindu mythology, Shiva’s hair revealed the directions of space and the universe.
Ancient Egypt 4000-300BC
From 3000 BC, men and women of the Egyptian nobility had shaved and smooth heads and bodies without hair, fashion demanded the use of sophisticated wigs of human hair or of sheep’s wool. Also, men’s beards were fake. Egyptians dyed their wigs with a dark blue dye to achieve the black color that was the preference of the time. The cuts were straight and with fringes. The length varied between the height of the chin and a little below the shoulders.
Ancient Greece 1500-150BC
Long hair with elaborate knots and updos decorated with natural items (leaves and flowers) or jewelry.
In ancient Greece, the most elaborate hairstyles appeared, women’s hair was curled and with spiral fringes and adorned with tiaras and ribbons, bronze or ivory combs. Women used cosmetic preparations, oils, ointments, greases, and lotions to give shine and a pleasant perfume to the hair.
In Athens, the first hairdressing salons appeared in a public square, and only men visited it. Conversations about politics, sports, and social events were the subjects of philosophers, writers, poets, and politicians. At the same time, they curled their hair and shaved their beard. They still had manicures, pedicures, and massages.
It was in Greece, on the island of Crete, that women used ponytail. Women had their hair scented with rare and precious oils, dyed or bleached, and the fashion color was blonde.
Ancient Rome 500 B.C. – 500AD
Similar to Greece, but “blonde” was popular and was created with gold dust. Wave clamps were also in use of a wide variety.
The Dark Ages 500-1000
Not much is known due to the lack of art and literature. Aristocrats wore headdresses and mostly covered their hair. Single women wore their hair loose and uncovered. Sometimes they would wear braids or plaits.
Noblewomen wore their hair in loose curls, and low-class women wore a boyish, short, or chin-length page.
Gothic Period 1250-1500
Hair was rarely seen in public. All the women wore hats.
The Renaissance 1500-1600
Updos were still popular, but headdresses were at the exit. Women decorated their hair with ribbons, pearls, and precious stones.
The Baroque 1600-1720
Costumes had very high collars, so it was still the fashion to wear hair up and high. Women used frames to style and fix their hair in place. The height was important.
Biedermeier period 1789-1848
Hairstyles were extremely well combed. Updos and half-updos were very famous at this period. Curls, braids, and twists were famous as well.
Regency period 1811-1820
Classical Greek and Roman statuary was the basic inspiration for all regency hairstyles. Styles have evolved into carefully planned casual disorder. Short spiral curls were popular.
Early Victorian era 1837-1860
During the 1840s and 1850s, hairstyles covered the ears and generally hung from braids or curls that puffed around the face.
Late Victorian era 1860-1900
There has been a return to natural beauty. Cleanliness, modesty, and dignity were the words describing this period. People considered loose hairstyles vulgar and a sign of low class. A lady rarely left without the hood.
Contemporary Age – The Belle Epoque – 1890 To 1920
Correlating with the movement in art, architecture, and literature, hair has become more natural. Updos were less formal, and flowers, leaves, and other natural objects were popular items.
With the arrival of electricity in 1906, Charles Nessler invented the machine to make permanent waves in the hair. However, it took 10 hours to transform the female locks. Still, it was better than ironing the hair to make waves. Another revolution for the time was the creation of hair colorings by Eugène Schueller.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the first popular beauty salons for women appeared. The saloons was also a meeting point for conversations and debates as in men’s barbershops in ancient Greece.
Irene Castle was a famous dancer, and no woman who followed fashion never cut their hair, on the contrary, they even bought locks and hairpieces to make their hair bigger. But Irene was a dancer, and that kind of hair didn’t allow for much versatility. So, Irene passed the scissors and started using her hair very short, making waves, which, in the United States, are known as Bobs.
This was a period of significant change. Women actually started to cut their hair short! Hairstyles were simple and elegant. Women wore their hair well under a cloche hat.
In 1920, Coco Chanel appeared, the small and dynamic creator of fashion, who promotes a revolution by cutting her hair very short. Chanel was one of the most creative fashion designers of her time, and her models made her immortal. The Chanel hairstyle was used for many years by a muse of cinema, called Luise Brooks. The hat, until then mandatory accessory, was restricted to daytime use. The most popular model was the cloche hat.
The sex symbol Clara Bow flooded silent films with eroticism. Part of her success is due to its wild locks, which completed its look. A band was also worn over the hair.
This was the era of the short hair, well modeled, with perfect waves, and graceful hairstyles where the great references of the time were the movie actresses. With all the improvement of the technology for waving hair and dyes, it is in this decade that Max Factor and Revlon started specializing in the production of cosmetics, skin treatments, perfumes, and personal care.
The Second World War began in 1939 and lasted until 1945, just as in the First World War, behavioral changes were inevitable. Europe suffered all the atrocities of the war, and the American soldiers were sent there in 1941. At that time, Hollywood launched war-themed films and cheerful and colorful musicals. The actresses were molded in the style of pin-up girls. The actresses wore long, soft, loose hair, with Veronica Lake being the most imitated actress at the time. With this fever of mirroring, the actress many women who worked in factories had fatal accidents involving their hair loose in the gears of the machines. As a result of the mandatory use of hairnets, it became fashionable.
This era expresses the need for women to simplify the way of dressing and combing. With the arrival of a new war, many hairdressers were called to war, women started to use scarves, hairpins to form curls, and hats were widely used for being practical and creative.
From 1947, the woman discovered the glamor again thanks to the launch of New Look by Dior. Hair always curled with bobs and a lot of hairsprays could be short, medium or long.
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, better known as Coco Chanel, created the short haircut, above her shoulders, which still bears her name.
This period is known as the period of the golden years, the fashion dictated by Dior since 1947 continues in the 1950s with great sophistication. It was at this time that the dyes for home application appeared, and also the fashion was dictated by Marilyn Monroe. It was the time of the ponytails, fringe, and scarf on the neck used by Brigitte Bardot. With the influence of cinema, from a very famous actress at the time, called Doris Day, a hairstyle called “Helmet” appears, intensely used by women. We must also not forget the hat, which at the end of the 1950s became an indispensable piece, especially for women in high society. One of the icons of the time was the Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn.
1960s Women were looking for freedom in different sectors. The Beatles also inspired fashion with the bowl cut, created by Vidal Sasson, used by men and women. All forms of lengths, hairstyles, colors were used. At that time, young people expressed themselves through their movie idols and music bands.
At the time, it was fashionable to use a lot of hairsprays, and one of the favorite cuts of women was loose hair with a high root like the one owned by the actress Brigitte Bardot.
In the 60s, hair ends up gaining more volume. With the explosion of rock with the Beatles and Elvis Presley, the hair takes on exaggerated proportions with ties, and even men start to wear long hair.
That was also the era of black power. Angela Davis has become a symbol of black pride. Figures like Jimmy Hendrix, also mark this season.
With the arrival of the 70s, the “Hippie” movement began, which had as its motto the maximum expression of freedom through the “Peace and Love” generation. The hair was long, parted in the middle, decorated with bands and flowers, without much care.
Several styles invaded that time, black power was on the rise, as well as smooth fringes and panther cut, in the greatest Farrah Fawcett style. And, of course, many people mixed more than one style, especially if they included bangs.
The hair started to become more rebellious in the ’70s, and the time was marked by waves and volumes. One of the most beloved cuts was the style of Farrah Fawcett, from “As Panthers,” all peaked in the front and very voluminous. Curly hair was also one of the most desired hairstyles by women.
Rastafarian season. Once again, the cinema influences behavior and fashion. With the film “Mulher Nota 10”, Bo Derek’s hair becomes a style reference, later gaining variations, and being used today by NBA players.
Volume is the word that defines the hair of the 80s. One of the most copied hairstyles was a cut with bangs and a lot of volume and waves.
The mullets had everything in that period. Besides them, the sidecuts, where one side of the hair is shaved, and the rest is still long, were also very successful. In that decade, Princess Diana influenced many women with her hair and her ideas.
Also, in the 1980s, the singer Madonna dictated the fashion of hair that was copied by the young population.
In the 1990s, there was a way to be equal among different people and, at the same time, different among equals. The lack of identity became the identity itself. There was space for short, medium, and long hair, identifying the style of each one. Jennifer Aniston launches the trend of highlighted hair in three or more colors called balayage with a smooth without volume. Her haircut was one of the most copied by women around the world.
A simple ponytail can be everything depending on the face and hair in question. You can be blonde, with black hair, brunette, oriental, Indian, you will find a style that has your face and be very attractive.
The 2000s Until Today
In the 2000s, the trend was for healthy hair, preferably long, wavy and sensual. Another landmark of the decade is the Californian lights, which imitate the reflections of the sun in the hair.
With the arrival of the new millennium, women stopped following the layered cut of the character Rachel, from Friends, and the length returned to fashion. A trendy cut style was the long one. Also, hair extensions became more realistic looking, which contributed to the trend of long hair. The middle of the decade brought back short hair with a more modern feel. There were types of short, the short straight, cut just below the chin, using straight bangs, and the inverted short, longer in the front, and with smaller layers in the back.
The 2000s hair cuts for all types of curly hair; short, ultra-long, bulky with curls and wide waves were trendy. Long and curly, like the cut used by Debra Messing in the series “Will and Grace,” were fashionable until 2005, with layered hair and curls up to the shoulders. A style that varied between the curls and the long length was the hair with very natural loose waves that emerged later in the decade and was more seen in medium and long hair.
Do you want to learn more about the history of the hair? Check out this AMAZING BOOK!