In the era of the pharaohs, the hairstyle for both men and women was the same: the hair was cut along the line just above the chin (quite a primitive square), since it was considered the lot of people of low origin to demonstrate hair in public. High-ranking people wore wigs that were decorated with combs, hairpins, and tiaras.
Later, when wigs became a thing of the past, it became customary to abundantly lubricate strands with various oils and curl the hair at the back of the head. Oils played not so much the role of care as styling: hairstyles were fixed securely and kept smooth from wash to wash.
And here is the most surprising thing: unlike many ancient communities, washing in Ancient Egypt was quite a trivial and frequent procedure.
It was considered normal for girls to take a bath or wash in open water several times a week. The men allowed themselves bath days less often – usually once a week.
In the era of the Hellenes, hair was considered the most important detail of the image, so wealthy Greek women spent many hours with the Kalamist – masters of dyeing, caring for and styling hair. The curls were rubbed with aromatic essences and oils, carefully curled on iron rods (straight hair was considered ugly), braided in braids in the most complicated ways, and then they tried to keep the hairstyle as long as possible.
Some of the masterpieces of the Kalamist masters remained intact for weeks! But the most important thing was to give the hair the right shade. Greek women dyed their hair with herbs and natural extracts, trying to achieve a golden hue. Hair was poured with vinegar and acids, sat for hours in the sun to enhance the burnout process, in a word, being a blonde was the highest achievement for an ancient Greek woman.
In defiance of the ancient Greeks, the Romans managed to invent a bleaching composition, and without exception, all wealthy Romans became blondes in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, the recipe for the bleaching composition has been lost, but it is known that head massage was considered the best way to care for hair. In the thermal baths, special slave cosmetologists massaged the scalp of their mistresses for hours using vegetable oils and aromatic essences.
Hair length was a kind of cult: if men cut their hair, then for women this procedure was considered sacrilege.
Some surviving records state that some Romans managed to grow their hair to the floor, and it took the maids several hours to comb this wealth.
To keep the hair strong and shiny, Roman beauties prepared a decoction from walnut shells and soaked strands in it. At the same time, the hair darkened, so I had to choose between beauty and health.
The hairstyle begins to be given a sacred meaning. Young girls wore their hair loose, the longer, the more beautiful. Married ladies would wrap their hair in scarves or shawls. It was believed that the beauty of a married lady’s hair could only be seen by a legal spouse. The appearance of uncovered female hair was considered sinful, tempting, and blameworthy. However, young girls did not skimp on various tricks to make their hairstyle more attractive.
The most fashionable trend of that time was curling: with the help of specially heated sticks, young ladies achieved spiral curls that were not combed in order to maintain the structure. The priests tried to stop this debauchery:
“Those who make their hair curly will go to hell, for there is no other way for them,” they said.
But the hell of medieval fashionistas, apparently, was not too frightening.
From the middle of the 17th century, a new artistic style was born – Baroque, the founder of which was Spain. This is the age of the wig, which is worth a fortune. In women’s fashion, complex hairstyles on a flexible wire frame reign; hairstyles from ribbons and lace are becoming fashionable, which are woven into wigs or their own hair to add even more volume. The most fashionable hairstyle was called “a la Fontazh”. The king’s favorite, Maria Angelica de Fontage, once on a hunt did not keep track of her hair, and the complex “Babylon” on her head was disheveled.
Maria Angelica could not appear in this form in front of the public, therefore, with the help of a servant, she tore several ribbons from the dress and built an original hairstyle on her head.
The king was delighted and asked de Fontage to wear such a hairstyle at all times, which immediately took the whole royal court. The volume of hairstyles increased every year: at the end of the seventeenth century, carriage manufacturers learned how to make convertible carriages, otherwise the ladies simply did not fit in them.
Unsanitary conditions led to the fact that lice often got under the wigs. Their bites were scratched unbearably, and then special graceful sticks were invented, with the help of which ladies could get rid of discomfort for a short while without removing the wig and without attracting undue attention. To get rid of insects, hairdressers recommended rinsing their hair with a decoction of nettle, which led many landowners to deliberately plant nettles to sell them to producers of medicinal infusions and decoctions.
The Rococo era
Bigger, higher, richer! On the heads of the ladies are ships, palaces and other sculptural statues. The art of hairdressing became so important that the first hairdressing academies appeared.
For the first time, hairdressers are discovering the properties of flour and starch: hairstyles are actively powdered, and all wealthy ladies of high society acquire a rather dusty, but this makes them even more fashionable.
But in the field of hair care comes complete obscurantism. Against the backdrop of educated hairdressers trained in academies, there is a growing number of charlatans promising women luxurious hair.
Rubbing the ashes of burned rats into the hair roots as a cleanser was far from the wildest recommendation of those times. In France, there is a “recipe” written by a certain lady-in-waiting, in which she was advised to dry dozens of bees, crush them in a mortar, insist on alcohol and make masks to stop hair loss (a common problem due to the constant wearing of heavy airtight wigs).
Bulky hairstyles and wigs go out of fashion in literally a few years: at first, it becomes relevant to wear natural hair, slightly tucking it up at the back of the head or at the neck, but soon a revolution occurs: women begin to do haircuts. Geometric and crisp, decorated with a ribbon across the forehead or an eclectic hair clip, variations on the bob and bob theme, as we would call them today, capture the minds of fashionistas and take the hairdressing business to hitherto unattainable height.
Hair is practically not taken care of: there are already shampoos, but most of them use soap, of additional procedures, masks made of black bread rubbed with an egg are relevant (how we managed to wash it out of the hair – we are lost in conjecture), and rinsing with diluted apple cider vinegar. Perhaps for the first time in history, brunettes come into fashion: girls massively dye their hair with basma, achieving a radical black color.