The History behind Hairdressing

Part One:

Whether its hair extensions, up-do wedding styles, or haircolor, the history of hairdressing goes back to the beginning of time as a necessary way to keep hair confined while mirroring ones cultural status.

A look back in time – the origins of “hair gel” & “hair extensions”

As early as the 14th Century B.C, divas such as Queen Nefertiti, and Cleopatra among many other Egyptian royals were known for wearing grand headdresses without even so much as one strand of hair showing. However, for the rest of society during those times, men & women alike were known for using perfumed hair “gel” made from the fat of animals to style curls or slick down fly-a-ways.

While the Egyptians were also very fond of wigs, it’s no surprise this was the period when hair extensions were invented as a way of filling out thinning hair or making regular tresses more luxuriant by means of clever weaves and knots that were secured to real hair with beeswax and resin (much like today).

Highlights

Braids on the other hand were very popular with Greek and Roman women. They kept their hair long, and invented highlights by using powdered gold. The wealthier you were, the more complicated the hair style. Numerous slaves were known to braid, and curl a single master’s hair to depict their status in society.

In addition, when it came to the ancient world, who could forget Lady Godiva? Having let her hair down to ride naked through the streets of Coventry, England she forever associated flowing locks with sexy self-confidence.

A new profession is born

In the 1700’s, Marie Antoinette took hair to a completely new level (literally). Not only did she wear extravagantly high, powdered wigs but decorated them with trinkets such as model ships, feathers, and even birdcages. The time, and effort that went into these wigs gave birth to a new profession that actually paid: hairdressing! Up until that point servants or slaves were used to tame their ladies hair.

By the 1800’s women finally began shedding the powdered wigs, and letting their real hair down. Styles of this era included tight buns, and long drop curls decorated with fresh flowers or ornamental combs. This was also the era in which crimping was invented and hot irons were introduced as hair styling devices.

The Permanent

During the 1920’s flappers made the liberating statement of chopping off their locks into a bold new style called the “bob”, while the first successful permanent was introduced in the 1930’s to feminize their bobs in a sassy, sultry style.

Long hair started making its comeback by the 1940’s and women styled it themselves into elegant up-do’s like that of the Victory Roll that fashion icon’s like Bettie Page, and Rita Hayworth rocked. In the 1950’s however, women returned to their domesticated lifestyles after the war by bulking their hair into bouffant styles like that of Marilyn Monroe.

(Stay tuned next week for “part two” of the history behind hairdressing!)

The truth behind your favorite hairstyles

We’ve all heard or experienced hair disappointment horror stories. Perhaps you finally worked up enough courage to try something daring and new only to look in the mirror and realize short or colored hair wasn’t meant for you. New hairstyles are something you want to consult with your hairstylist before doing anything drastic or permanent.

Unreal Expectations: Would the real hairstyle please stand up?

Be realistic. When it comes to women’s hair we always want what we can’t have. Over the years it’s become harder, and harder to define what “natural” hair actually is and how hair enhancements like wigs, weaves, and extensions play a huge role in how we view, and define beauty these days. In reality, we all know the number bleaching or haircolor can have on your hair. Ever wonder how Gwen Stefani’s platinum locks always looks so healthy and silky smooth? Think about it. When you bring your stylist a picture of a hairstyle you’d like to try keep in mind that the magazine tear-out may either be photo-shopped or the celebrity you’re looking at is actually wearing a wig.

Most celebrities these days wear front-lace wigs or hair extensions. From Beyonce, to Rihanna, to Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, rarely do any of these women expose their real hair to the camera. There’s also the magic of Photoshop. Not only does this tool give celebrities the option of adding final touches providing them with flawless looks, it is also used to erase imperfections and undesirable details.

Keep it real when it comes to your next salon visit. If you bring your stylist a photo of a haircut with pin straight hair, and light wispy layers but you have thick curly hair, you may just be setting yourself up for disaster. In reality, if you want your hair to look like that of a celebrity you’re going to have to put forth some major effort in order to maintain it. Instead, embrace your hair’s natural thickness and texture before finding photos of hairstyles that may be impossible to recreate. Talk to your stylist about hairstyles that will work with the hair you actually have.

Keep an open conversation with your stylist

We all know it’s important to sit down for a chat with your stylist. If you’re thinking about trying something fresh or permanent, the consultation is the most important part of your new look. Schedule at the very least a 10-15 minute consultation when you book your next appointment. It’s important for your stylist to see what your hair looks like dry, how you style it, how healthy it is, and how much time you really put into it.

Even if you’re meeting with the same stylist you’ve used before, a consultation is important. The goal of a consultation is to make sure you and your stylist are on the same page before any drastic changes are made. Think about it. Would you not want to consult with an architect or contractor before remodeling your home? The same goes with your hair.

Lastly, trust your stylist & their judgment. Know that you are in good hands, and they want you to be happy with your hair. Chat about what you liked and didn’t like from your last visit. Were the bangs too short? Did you want more of a face-frame cut? Was the shoulder length perfect? Talk about those details with your stylist so he/she can grasp where to go next.

Ciao!