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Hair, for many cultures, was a symbol of sexuality, femininity, and fertility. It expresses the true identity of the person
Table of Contents
The evolution of hairstyle over time
Let’s start by talking about the different historical periods. As we all know, history is divided into stages, and each of them has a name, based on its own peculiarities that refer not only to ideological and historical differences, but there are also real differences in customs and traditions and we will analyze the evolution of different hairstyles over time in this article!
Ancient Age Hairstyle
From the name, we can understand that this is the most ancient age, the one in which men still knew almost nothing of what surrounded them, but this did not prevent them from already starting to decorate their hair. In fact, it will be in this age that the first people that nowadays we call “hairdressers” were born. Obviously, however, those who could afford hairstyles were people with wealth. This is why people initially considered hairdressers a noble figure, able to combine technique, innovation, and creativity.
In fact, initially, hairstyles varied not only by sex but also by social differences. Obviously in this period, we do not find large hairstyles, in fact, the majority of women had hair that today we would call “barbaric“, those who were nobler could afford to decorate their hair with bones of worked animals.
Obviously, speaking of ancient times means speaking of different historical epochs contained in this more generic title. And, of course, in these epochs, there were also some changes, for example, in the Prehistory or in the Stone Age, the hair was very wild and not at all cured, if not by very few women, and this also had repercussions on body care.
In fact, from the Egyptians and Etruscans, we will find the first real hairstyles, each of them motivated by its own reason, by a belief or motivation sustained by those who wore them.
For example, Egyptian women liked to wear wigs because for them to show their hair was a sign of dirt, while wigs, often made with horse or pig hair, were a sign of cleanliness and if adorned with clasps, even of royalty.
While, in the Etruscan world, the woman enjoyed equal human rights, which is why they were free to show their hair.
As we can see the hair was also a sign of freedom: in the Greek world, the woman was submissive to her husband. For this reason, she could not show her hair. It was considered too sensual and therefore scandalous.
In the Greek world, women wore long hair in vain hairstyles. While servants, or mourners, wore short hair. Hair, as we said below, was also a symbol of identity. For this reason, slave women shaved their heads because this indicated that they did not have their own identity. They were nobody.
Moreover, in case of lack of respect from the wife towards her husband, the husband had the right to cut her hair and thus deprive her of her identity and femininity. Especially in the case of adultery, the husband shaved his wife’s hair, and he had the right to strip her and beat her throughout the village, even in the eyes of her family.
Middle Ages Hairstyle
In the Middle Ages, Christian morality required, as a sign of respect and modesty, to wear braids decorated with ribbons, or having the hair enclosed in a silk net. This is because, Christian morality tried to affirm simplicity in every field, even in hair care.
Why did Christian morality place so much importance to the hair, especially for women? Because hair, for many cultures, was a symbol of sexuality, femininity, and fertility. It expresses the true identity of the person, so it was not modest for a woman to show her hair, cured and adorned. In other words in this age, it was not allowed to express femininity
14th Century Women’s Hairstyle 15th Century Women’s Hairstyle
Did this Christian laws actually work?
In this regard, since the thirteenth-century Christina morality formulated laws that had no effect on people, in fact in this period but in a much more pronounced manner in the sixteenth century, we find almost “monumental” hairstyles. The most famous hairstyles at the time included large swellings on the head, which were often adorned with jewels and clasps and curls that were dropped onto the shoulders.
Hair and their religious value
Returning to the religious value of hair, the circular shaving of the monks, or the complete shaving of the Buddhist monks, underline how giving up one’s hair meant giving up one’s own identity. Instead, Orthodox Jews did not shave either their beard or hair on the sides. Shamans and hermits instead thought that hair would bring them closer to the supernatural.
CURIOSITY: the Romans shaved both their beards and hair to not offer enemies means to grab them.
From the Belle Epoque to nowadays, how hairstyle changes
Starting from the Belle Époque, we see much simpler hairstyles, for example, hairstyles that left the face visible, such as chignon.
Until today, where we enjoy various treatments and hairstyles. From simple loose hair for every day to braids or ponytails for those incredibly hot days when we just seek for relief.
But we must not forget to mention the extremely elaborate hairstyles that we wear on vacation or on special occasions where we want to look elegant.
A little curiosity about the perm
Nowadays, widespread treatment is perm. The first hairdresser to invent the machine for the perm was a German who built a system of cylinders around which girls could wrap mall strands of hair (1906). Above these cylinders, there was a machine which, through the electric current, allowed the cylinders to heat up to make the curls.
In short terms girls, it was nothing than the hair straightener for curling we use nowadays, just a little bit bigger.😂
However, we must emphasize that today, through these tools, we succeed in obtaining the hairstyle that we want in an extremely short time, compared to the approximately six hours of waiting that the first machine for the perm took at that time. So I guess we are pretty lucky.😉
The hairstyle in the 5 continents
Above we focused our attention on hairstyles and their values and evolution in different historical eras, now we will focus more on space and analyze the different customs in the 5 continents!
As we all know, the continents are immense, and above all, populated by different ethnic groups that each have their own customs. Here, however, we will focus mainly on the hairstyles used in China, with their meanings and their consequences.
The village of Rapunzels
In China, women give great importance to their hair. In fact, there is a village called ‘The village of Rapunzels‘ where women have hair that can reach two meters in length and not by chance, this village has entered into Guinness World Record.
The real name of the village is Huangluo Village – China.
CURIOSITIES: the women of these villages can only cut their hair once in their life, or at the age of 18!
For Chinese women, hair is the most precious asset. In fact, they collect the hair that falls naturally and they keep on caring for. Once they collect enough hair they donate it to make wigs.
OTHER CURIOSITY: at the time of marriage, the wife’s crown becomes a husband’s possession, which is why cutting hair is absolutely forbidden.
Hair symbolism in Chinese culture
Even nowadays in these villages, as in ancient times, the people give to the hair a symbolic value. Hair is a symbol of femininity in women and virility in men, which is why women can show their hair loose only to the family, while in public, they show their hair gathered in hairstyles.
The hairstyles are also a symbol of the social status that the woman has:
– A woman who wears her hair that looks like a tray is a married woman without children
– A woman wearing a scarf on her head is looking for a husband. Why? Because as we have already said before, the hair is extremely important for the women of these villages, which is why they will show it to the husband only after marriage.
CURIOSITY: the hair is so important in these villages that women subject their hair to numerous treatments. Completely natural, of course. The most notorious use rice water, a product par excellence for adding cleanliness and shine to their hair. Hard to believe, but thanks to all these treatments, Chinese women manage to keep their long black hair up to 80 years, without even having a single white hair. Something really unthinkable in our country!
Another country renowned for hair care and the importance of hair in their culture is India. Indian women are known for their long, bright and healthy hair.
Indian women’s hair care secret
Many of you will wonder what their secret is. Well, it is very simple: Indian women do not use chemical products for their hair care, but only natural ingredients.
The fact that they use only natural products does not mean that these products are difficult to find or that we have to go to India to get them 😉. Indeed, many of these products we can commonly found on supermarket shelves.
The products they use the most are:
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- neutral henna
- chickpea flour
- sesame oil
- homemade shampoo with hibiscus flowers
- hair oil made with curry leaves
- GREEN ADZUKI BEANS
- cold water for washing hair.
CURIOSITY: India is a country where people use the least amount of shampoo. In fact, after washing their hair, Indian girls and boys apply vegetable oils on it.
India is famous for its natural oils and during my trip to this wonderful country, I had the chance to learn different tricks that I will share with you in my next blogs post. So make sure you will not miss it!😉
The first thing I learned from these two weeks in India is that love and natural care for hair is a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation. When children are four or five years old, they are completely shaved and the family donates the baby hair to Good. This practice, according to Indian tradition, will allow children to have stronger healthy and thick hair.
Alongside this purely “corporeal” motivation, this custom brings with it other benefits of a spiritual nature:
- it is a ritual of purification for the soul and the body
- this ritual eliminates the negative karma of previous lives
- finally, it with this ritual the family wish to the child a long and happy life.
This is a Hindu tradition. The name of the ceremony is Mundan (mundan sanskar).
Hair oil an Indian tradition
In addition to the complete shaving of the hair for the little ones, the application of hair oil is also a real “ritual”. They apply oil on dry hair and they massage the scalp with circular movements of the fingertips. Massage helps blood circulation and moreover helps spread the oil over the entire head. By using the fingertips, the massage does not damage the scalp. They keep the oil on the hair for a few hours, after that they wash hair with cold water and without shampoo.
Obviously, in this way, oil residues will remain on the hair that will continue to have an “anointed” appearance but they do not really care about that. After that they combe their hair and the girls use beautiful but simple hairstyles like braids or ponytails.
In this trip, I get the chance to learn how to make DIY shampoos with essential oils.
Simply amazing I must say.😍😍😍
If you want to find out how to make a DIY shampoo with essential oils read my article:
7 DIY natural shampoos, you must try and let me know if you find it easy if you liked the article and which one was your favorite shampoo.😊
We certainly are not used to this and it may seem strange to us, but for Indians, it is completely normal to go around in the city with oil on the hair.
Indian hairstyle with flower
A custom that I was lucky enough to get to know during the two weeks spent in India concerns the use of flowers to decorate hair. In the region of Kerala (South India), women use crowns of flowers, especially jasmine, to decorate their hair.
These crowns are very elaborate for special occasions such as weddings, where the bride wears beautiful flower horns on her hair.
Anyway, this custom is not only for special occasions. In fact, women use less elaborate but still beautiful jasmine wreaths every day. I was so lucky that I could have this experience. I would like to say thanks to the woman who did this hairstyle for me.
The end result was amazing and the jasmine scent was with me all day.
I would like to take the opportunity to again thank her for the hospitality and for giving me the opportunity to learn more about this stupendous culture.
Offering the hair to god: between spirituality and business
Another widespread custom is to offer hair to the Gods, asking for a peaceful and quiet life in return. In reality, this is nothing but a cover for selling hair. Many of you may, in fact, have wondered where the much-used extensions come from – well girls, these come right from India.
The hair in Indian men culture
Hair plays a very important role in Indian culture, not only for women. In fact, a fundamental custom in the Sikh religion is that of gathering the hair on top of the head like a chignon and covering it with a turban of the most varied colors. This rite has an extremely religious value because wearing a turban means giving God profound respect. Besides the religious value, wearing the turban is also an act of comfort because the Sikh religion forbids cutting hair, so the turban gives them the opportunity to collect their hair in a practical way.
African hairstyles have always been known throughout the world: African women more than all the other women in the world loved to gather their hair in splendid and elaborate hairstyles.
Obviously, the African hairstyles have seen a change over history. For example, in the period of colonization and therefore of slavery, as we have already said above, women shaved their hair as a symbol of lack of identity, to show their “not being anyone” in society.
Eliminate the problems, not the hair!
When women rebelled against all this, they finally began to express their identities, for example, by wearing colorful scarves. They use to wrap these scarves around their heads in the most original ways.
Thus began struggles that led to the emancipation of women in the 1900s. In the 1920s, Marcus Garvey, committed to the struggle for the affirmation of civil rights, promoted a campaign that exalted natural hair and affirmed: ‘eliminate the problems, not the hair!‘
It is because of this discrimination that women began to take inspiration from Western culture and began to use the first chemical products to eliminate frizz from their hair, to make their hair lighter and more voluminous.
The beautiful Afro pigtails
Anyway, it’s not only African women who have taken inspiration from Western culture. Indeed, as we can see, there are so many people who, especially in the summer, by the sea or on vacation, wear typical Afro hairstyles, among the most popular ones, are obviously the pigtails.
This hairstyle is beautiful but really complicated and required a lot of time. We have to collect small strands of hair in braids that start from the hairline and continue for the entire length.
These braids turn out to be so tight that there is no need to tie them to hold them up to. In fact, we can see how the head of the person wearing this hairstyle is absolutely free of elastic.
Pros and Cons Of Afro pigtails
But is this, however beautiful, also healthy? Well, girls, the answer is very simple: no. And now I will explain why.
As we all well know, especially in summer, the atrocious heat leads us to tie up our hair every day. Anyway, we all realized, at least once, especially if the hairstyle is very tight that the scalp starts soring as if someone were pulling our hair.
Well, this is the feeling you get when your hair is losing its vigor and getting damaged because it is extremely tight. In fact, although it may seem strange, tying hair often and especially with very tight hairstyles is one of the major causes of baldness in the temples and forehead areas.
I tried this kind of hairstyle as well and I have to say that I really love it. It was amazing!😍 It lasts for 1 month full but I have to say that in the end, my head started hurting. I am not used to this kind of hairstyle so tight. I am sorry I could not find the pic with this kind of hair but when I will find I will definitely upload.😁
The meaning of the different hairstyle
Even in Africa, as in China or India, hairstyles has a meaning and is, therefore, a sort of labeling for women:
– Women who do not have children, women that are not married and who attend school must shave off their hair
– Because the hair occupies the upper part of the skull, many thought they were a link between divinity and soul.
We love your natural hair!
Afro hair, wrongly, has always been seen negatively. Many employees who had afro hairstyles lost their jobs because the executives thought those styles lowered the level of their companies. This, unfortunately, still happens nowadays.
Moreover, it will certainly have happened to all of us to see the commercials in which anti-frizz products were promoted for hair considered ‘swollen’, ‘wild’ and ‘indomitable’. Those adjectives, obviously are not used in a positive way. We also may found photos of afro natural hairstyle, as if these were something to fight, to eliminate.
I am absolutely not of this opinion. Instead, girls, your natural hair maks you unique. Natural hair is not something girls have to hide or something to be ashamed of, quite the contrary I think you should be proud of it! Every woman has the right to feel beautiful in their simplicity and naturalness.
So girls, always remember that each of us is unique, special and BEAUTIFUL as it is: completely NATURAL.😍
WE LOVE NATURAL HAIR!
In America, straight hair has never gone out of fashion. In fact, American girls prefer elaborate and flashy hairstyles, very voluminous but at the same time ordered.
Even clothes were important in the scene: scruffy dresses were not appreciated and well seen.
In the first half of the 1700s, in America, there was a veritable explosion of extravagant hairstyles, so much so that, the period of the ‘Rococo‘ seemed to have also affected the outward appearance of people.
The use of enormous and conspicuously decorated wigs characterized this period, until, in the late seventeenth century, men were involved as well: yes, you read correctly, even men began to wear wigs!
The wigs worn by men were generally white, whereas those worn by women were of very showy colors, mostly pastel colors such as pink, purple and blue.
Usually, the decoration of the wigs also indicated the social position of those who wore them: the more decorations, the higher social position held. The richest families had real rooms, defined as the “toilet” in which they kept and cared for their wigs and where, starting from 1715, they began to powder them with rice or potato starch to protect them.
CURIOSITIES: up until 1745, hairdressers in England also practiced dental extractions, until, in this year, a law was passed that forced barbers to deal exclusively with beard and hair care.
The wigs were abandoned when the aristocrats stopped wearing them. In other words, those who had made wigs “fashionable” soon made them “old-fashioned”. Here’s what happened. For fear of being recognized, especially in the so-called “period of Terror”, the nobles left their homes, their clothes and changed their look to appear as normal people. For this reason, they cut their hair and wore plain clothes.
It was from this that natural hair came back into fashion and lavish hairstyles were abandoned: this style, starting in the nineteenth century, also influenced the rest of Europe.
And finally we come to the present day, America nowadays is an inter-cultural center where you can find the different styles of all cultures. Simply amazing!😍
Hairstyles in Europe have also undergone their own evolution process.
European hairstyles have largely been influenced both by Africans, with their famous braids wich start from the scalp, traveling the full length of their hair, and Americans style.
Evolution of European hairstyle over time
Now let’s see together what the stages of European hairstyles have been over time.
The Dandy well cured 30’s
The fashion of the time was short, straight hair with the well-defined line to the right or left side. The hair was shorter on the sides and longer on the central part.
The big tuft 40’s
These were the so-called “rebel look” years. The guys who were really rebellious had a big tuft. The bigger the tuft was, the more the individual was considered “powerful”. The hair gradually increased towards the sides and the tuft was always well-ordered, clean, almost perfect!
“British hairstyle” 1960s
The Beatles are the symbol of this period, not only for the music but also because the hairstyle that dominated in this period was exactly what they wore: long and forward hair, with the cut known as ‘English helmet’.
The Hippie hairstyle 70’s
This was the hippie period, therefore of greater freedom, which is why each hairstyle was accepted. The men began to experiment with their hair, they began to grow it to make the most strange but, at the same time, new hairstyles.
New Fashion 1980 s
It was the period in which men began to purchase products for the care of their hair.
Grunge and goatee hairstyling 1990 s
Men returned to simpler and more masculine hairstyles, short hair on the sides and with a small tuft on the top of the head.
Since 2000 up to nowadays
Nowadays, boys, like girls, arrange their hair in a variety of ways. A very frequent trend in recent years was above all, that of shaving the head and having the most varied designs achieved through shaving.
As you have seen girls, everything we know today about hair care, how to wear hair, everything that seems so natural and obvious nowadays, actually, it is all the result of a great and very long change over time, involving the whole world!
Girls, I know that this article is different from the usual ones, but before knowing how to treat our hair, it’s also good to know how we reach to what, nowadays, we call hairstyle or hair care.
And then, girls, a bit of history and knowledge has never hurt anyone, right? 😉
Oh! One last thing before you go, do not forget to leave a comment in the comments section.💬💌💬
See you in 2 weeks for a new blog post!😘