History of Hairstyle

History of Hairstyle

Maybe, not everyone knows that during Assyrian and Babylonian times, hairstyles were different according to social classes and were used to differentiate statuses.

In some West African regions, men used to anoint their hair with fat and strew it with different substances such as ash or clay. In Papua, instead, during some traditional ceremonies, hairstyle, thanks to special garments, could reach one meter in hight.

It was only in 300 B.C. that the first barbers appeared in Rome, brought by Senator Ticinus Mena, directly from Sicily, while women started braiding their hair.

During the Crusades, due to the oriental influence, the trend was to adorn hair with precious stones and golds.

From the 17th century, the use of the first kind of clasps and other accessorizes started spreading, such as “il balzo”, a sort of cardboard, which was used to lift the hair-do up to 70 cm.

In Italy, during the 500s, women used to gather their hair in a hairnet.

Prevailing modes, during the XVII century, were various: Maria de’ Medici, was one of the first women to wear a short haircut, but on the other hand the tendencies were to wear a tight and high hairstyle; the first curls framing the face started to appear, together with added hairpieces.

A few decades later, real wigs (made with hair of people sentenced to death), substituted hairpieces, becoming more decorated.

Barbers, apart from haircuts, hairstyles and beards, used to practice different kinds of surgeries and dental extractions.

In England, a law issued in 1745, banished barbers from performing surgeries, and obliged them to only do haircut and hairstyles, resulting in the loss of job for many of them, since similar laws were issued in France and other European countries.

Anyway, the increasing wig request, created a new professional figure: wig designers, who also provide to their periodical maintenance, perfume them and modify them.

After the French revolution, the use of wigs ended. In fact, both men and women left their hair long and loose, wearing simple hairstyles.

During the second half of the 800s, women parted their hair in the middle with a chignon at the nape, and around the 1860s this hairstyle become almost an universal trend.

Lately, curls and waves replaced this style, thanks to curlers, which were fixed on the hair all night, to secure the hairstyle.

In 1872 a French man called Marcel Grateau, patented his “curling iron” (the first permanent by heat).

The curling iron was a warmed tubular shape tweezer, with a concave part and a convex one.

This invention was a big change that opened possibilities to study new hairstyles, like the famous one, named after him “the Marcelling”.

Pompadour style, became a new trend around the 1880s. Hair had a lot of volume in the middle and then there were two passers on both sides. The alternative of Pompadour style was the French style, with hair collected high on top of the head, through buckles on the front side.

Gibosn girl style became very popular around the 1890s, and it lasted to the first decades of the 20th century.

In 1890, Alexander Godefroy, invented a new machine to dry hair, in his beauty salon in Paris.

It was a metal hood, connected to a gas stove flue, blowing hot hair. With this new machine, women could dry their hair faster than before and could maintain new kinds of hairstyle.

Hair revolution” began after First World War. Women, in fact, started to cut their hair short, at their earlobe.

This haircut was named “BOB Hairstyle”, and had different variations: waved hair, cut directly around the head, with or without a fringe.

Between the 1920s and the 1930s, two different machines were developed and became very important: the first handy hairdryer and a new machine for perms. Hairdryers, anyway, took a lot of time to work properly, and it was dangerous to be used too, it took years to improve it.

The German Karl Nessler, was the first one to develop the perm machine in 1905, which was patented in Germany in 1906.

Hair was wrapped and curled around a group of pistons, connected with a machine, which warmed up thanks to an electrical resistance. Warm cylinders, thanks to a counterweight complex, did not touch the scalp.

Sodium Hydroxide was applied first, and then hair was warmed for several hours.

Katharina Laible, was the first one to try in a beauty salon in Paris, Nessler’s method, Nessler burnt her hair and scalp twice, ending up marrying her.

Nessler moved in the USA in 1915, discovering many false copies of his patent; he then, opened beauty salons in New York and improved his system, according to USA laws.

A Swiss man named Eugen Suter and a Spanish man, Eugenio Isidoro Calvet, further improved the permanent machine.

That machine was build up with two coils in an aluminum tube, inserted in a tubular system. Hair was wrapped in a spire around the tube. Later this system was advanced, in 1938 when Arnol F.Willat developed “the cold wave”, a prototype of the modern system.

After the Great Depression of 1929, hairstyle became more simple and natural again, with the trend to wear long curly platinum blond hair just like Jean Harlow.

After the Second World War (1939-1945), there were different sociological changes and an Existentialist Philosophy was developed.

Existentialism is manifested through literature and arts, and obviously took space in fashion and society, which always are expressions of human thought.

In France, several artists, such as Juliette Greco, proposed a brand new fashion style and different hairstyles.

In underground London, the “beatniks”, a musical group, showed a new sort of dissent: long hair, fringe and mutton chop which was the Beatles’ earliest look. Hairdressing, represented youth feelings of disagreement with the previous generations. Movie stars such as Marylin Monroe and James Dean were considered style icons.

At the end of the 60s with the “Banning is banned” and “all power to the imagination” mottos , thousands of young people, all around the world, protested against values, morality and ethics inherited form the previous generations.

Hairstyle and clothes became more audacious, and new cultural thoughts spread: Hippies, liberals, pacifists against the Vietnam war and nuclear weapons. “Peace and love” was their motto.

Their clothes and hairstyles became so common, that in the end even those who did not share their thoughts, used to wear them.

In 1967, in Broadway, the first rock musical went on stage, and it was called: Hair. In this musical hair was in fact the main expression of protest and rebellion. We can find in Hair hippies hairstyles, but also the first Afro hairstyle.

In 1968 the English super model Twiggy, proposed a new different haircut: short with side parting, behind her ears.

In the 70s hair is looser, and amongst men haircuts tend to copy famous people and singers.

Bob Marley, and his Jamaican music, brought young people to wear his Rasta hairstyle; while in the 80s hair was styled in punk, skinhead or gothic fashion, following the influences of the period.

In the 90s new Unisex salons opened, reducing the difference between barbers and hairstylists (combers),

Hair care became more popular, together with dyes and different haircuts, so that there is no longer a clear distinction of style, but only general trends