Random Ramblings

On some interesting facts about hair styling . . .

But first a different sort of interesting (or maybe not) fact. ;-)

It occurred to me, as I was preparing for this post, that I do a lot of research on stuff. In fact, I do enough research on various things that I put Research as a project title in my TraxTime program so I can keep track of how much time I spend doing research. And it also occurred to me that maybe I do all this research not just as a form of procrastination, but because I actually like doing research. And that got me thinking to when the daughter was in university and she had a couple of jobs that required a lot of research and I remember her telling me how much she liked doing research and I thought she was nuts because let's face it, research is boring. Or at least it's supposed to be.

Apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

So . . . last week I rambled at length over whether I should get my hair cut into bangs. And as I was procrastinating working on that ramble, I started thinking about different hair styles and wondered who came up with the idea of doing all the various weird things we do to our hair. This, of course, led to, you guessed, research. So I thought for today's ramble I'd share a few of the facts I found out about hair styling throughout world history.

The Egyptians were apparently the first hair stylists. They'd wrap their hair around wooden rollers and let it dry to create a temporary wave, or use combs and hairpins in it. Egyptian women believe thicker hair was best and would use hair extensions or wigs made of real hair or sheep's wool.

Roman women dyed their hair and piled it high on their heads, often tying it around a wire frame. The amount of time a Roman woman spent on her hair was an indication of her wealth and beauty, which lead to some very outrageous hair styles.

In Greece woman would highlight their hair with saffron. Their styles were more simplistic and they most often wore their long hair pulled back in a "Greek knot," which was basically a chignon style bun at the base of the neck.

The Chinese believed it was disrespectful to cut their hair because it was inherited from their parents. Unmarried girls usually wore their long hair in a braid, while married women wore their hair up.

In early Japan, however, noble women wore their hair pulled back tight in a sickle-shaped ponytail. Later they wore their long hair unbound as a sign of beauty and then later still they began to use more elaborate styles involving different buns decorated with ornamental sticks, ribbons, flowers, and combs.

The different tribes in Africa had a wide variety of hair styles. Masai warriors would spend hours braiding each other's waist-length hair and dye it red with a natural pigment that was mixed with animal fat. Women and non-warriors usually just shaved their heads. The Mangbetu women braided their hair into a cone-shaped basket that was held in place by bones shaped like needles. By contrast, the Miango tribe covered simple ponytails with headscarves. The Temne tribe spent hours braiding their hair into fine rows symbolizing the cultivation of the land. This style was known as cornrows.

The Native Indian tribes had many different styles as well. The east coast natives had shaved heads with a ridge of hair growing along the crown, what we today would call a mohawk. Other tribes believed their hair symbolized power and the longer the hair the more wisdom and power a warrior possessed. Their hair would be separated into two braids or a single braid down the back for a more experienced warrior. Women would decorated their braids with jewellery, beads, and feathers.

Just a few extra, really random facts:

Cavemen used sharp rocks, shells or flint to scrape hair from their face and head, although this had more to do with dealing with personal vermin than fashion.

Egyptians used henna to colour their hair.

In Rome, hair colour determined social status. Upper-class dyed theirs red, middle-class blonde, and the lower-class black.

In 1092 A.D. there was a papal decree that demanded all Roman Catholic clergymen must remove their facial hair.

Women of the Renaissance would pluck the entire front of their hairline to give themselves a higher forehead.

The word "hairdresser" first appeared in Europe in the early 1600s.

Charles II of England introduced male wigs in 1660 to cover his own thinning hair.

In the 1700s the "Tower" hairstyle was made popular by Marie Antoinette.

The fad of male wigs ended in 1762 due to the hefty tax on wig powder.

Short hair was extremely popular during the French Revolution (1789).

In 1845, metal hot combs were invented in France to temporarily straighten curly hair.

In 1875 the curling iron was invented by Marcel Grateau.

Alexandre Godefoy invented the first electric hair dryer in 1890.

The first synthetic hair dye was created by Eugene Schueller (founder of L'Oreal).

Bobby pins were introduced to America in 1916.

The "cold wave" perm was invented in 1930 and took only two hours.

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