The entire history of hairdressing business started from the moment when a woman wanted to decorate her appearance for the first time to be notable. A primitive human looked into a river and saw his/her reflection and thought that his/her braids tied up with a leopard skin would look much better than loose hair.“Why not?” – thought a primitive human and started to make a reality of his grandiose plan. The result exceeded all expectations, the first hairdo was notable for its daintiness in comparison with other people’s hairstyles that time, its easement was amazing. The first “defile” was successful. Amazed contemporaries wanted to have the same bands for their heads… This way the new kind of art – hairdressing business was started. Hairdo forming was under the community influence, climate conditions and many other factors. Conception of beauty has been changing for centuries and what seemed beautiful at one period of time, later looked ugly and vice versa. But one thing was constant, it is human tendency to stand out and show their individuality.
Ancient Egypt and Ancient East Hairdressing Art
The hairdressing business originates from distant past. Let’s view Ancient World hairdressing art. Ancient Egyptians wore wigs: thoroughly braided hair was cut at grade, below ears (the first “Bob”), hair bings or braids were put back and fixed by using hair hoops or diadems, combs, hair-pins. Wigs, made from expensive materials, were pagan priests’ and later the ruling class representatives’ property. Modern color was dark brown or black. They used a plant color – henna. In our minds let’s move to the best still well-preserved portrait sculpture patterns of Ancient Egypt. Nofret Statuette (Ancient Egypt, 2700-2500 B.C., Cairo, Museum), made from soft limestone, colored into prescribed for that time for women’s sculptures brown-and-yellow color, blue-gray color eyes, made from blue-gray chalcedony (sapphire), hair locks carefully braided and cut at the shoulders level and a diadem adorned head with symbolic images. That time, relating to the fifth Pharaoh’s dynasty (the middle of the third millennium B.C.), requirements of absolute conformity with a real person were demanded to the portrait sculpture because in the view of the Egyptian religion, vital energy (“Ka”) and a human soul (“Ba”) could find their terrestrial organism again after death. This way a real sculpture portrait, according to which we could judge about a hairdo, had been arising. The end of XV and the begging of XIV centuries B.C. is Nefertiti’s era that means “a beauty is coming”… Today a sculpture image of an ancient queen with her amazing hairstyle is charming us. It was the era of the golden age to create various mixtures for skin pamper. Ancient Egyptians were experts in creams and perfumes as nobody else. Men in Ancient Egypt shaved their beards with stone and bronze devices, but during receptions a pharaoh wore a wig and a false beard, commoners had loose hair. In the Old testament you can read about the meaning of long hair for men’s beauty and power. The secret of Solomon’s power was in his hair and when he lost his hair he lost his power. Beautiful curly women’s hair charmed and filled hearts with trembling tenderness – let’s remind inspired “Song of Songs”... Avessalom king’s was a handsome young man with luxuriant, thick and curly hair. Men had long hair combed back. They were arranged into spiral locks on forehead and into circles near the ears and neck.
Ancient Greece Hairdressing Art
Ancient Greece hairdressing art is considered to be the most developed. The word “make-up” has Greek origin and means “the art to decorate”. Greeks knew many secrets of healing cosmetic products, the cult of a human body prevailed in the country, hairdos were made professionally and very thoroughly: men and women used various methods to braid hair and perm it by using curling tongs which were called calamices and people, who made this work were called calamicers. It took a long time to make a hairdo because it was complicated to make, while making aromatized powders with color effects were used. Most women tried to have ashy and goldish hair. Greek women’s heavy and thick hair arranged into knots at the napes, hairdos decorated with diadems, glass beads, hoops and bands. Clothes decorations, clothes and hairstyle fitted the whole way of Hellene life. The idea of Greek women’s hairdos we can get by examining works of ancient Greeks’ art: luxuriant, curly hair parted in the middle, combed back and arranged into a knot on the forehead. How did the women who went down to history look like? Aspasia, who was special in her perfect features, was one of the most amazing women of the Ancient World, she could hold conversations with Sophocl, Socrat and “the father of history” Gerodot… Amazing hairdo: frontal area hair was parted into little locks from the crown of the head to the forehead, the locks were braided and arranged carefully at the nape.
The Hairdressing Art in Ancient Rome
In imperial Rome blond hair and wings were rated highly. It’s not inconceivable that blond beauties from German tribes made Romans women envious. Noble Romans women paid too much attention to their appearances: they used make-up every day, the hairdressing art got virtuosity, women’s hairdos were intricate. Poems and evil epigrams were composed about them. That time well-done backcombed perming was modern. Those who didn’t have luxurious hair used wigs. In Roman therms cosmetic slaves massaged patrician’s bodies, virtuosos-masters made hairdos and compete in inventiveness. “It is easier to count oak acorns than enumerate Roman women’s hairdos.” A product to change hair color was invented: dark color into blond. The secret of making it hasn’t survived and hasn’t been discovered. That time Romans started to cut hair: men had short haircuts, shaved moustache and beard. As time went by ancient Rome masters determined their style: hairdos, which used to have Greek character before, started to be notable for their great laconicism, forms conciseness, variety (appear inventiveness in hair braiding, arranging hair in rollers, locks and hair bleaching). Wealth Roman women wore jewelry: diadems framed an open forehead, ear-rings supplemented an attire; the peasantry women covered their heads with tippets. There are Ancient Rome hairdos. There is sadly known Messalina Valeria – Claudius’ wife - that time – Rome time, sank into luxury and debauchery (25-48 A.D.).
The Hairdressing Art in the European Middle Ages Epoch
In the Middle Age the cult of a Beautiful Lady and the knight’s service to her arose, it’s also time of love lyrics prosperity. E.g., let’s remind a novel about amazing Tristan and Izolda’s love, when Tristan saw an Izolda’s hair, which was brought by a swallow, got smitten with ardent love for her. Thanks to poets, it is easy to image the women’s ideal that time: a Beautiful Lady was fragile and very thin, almost unbodied, with white skin, like a lily, and large blue eyes. Long goldish locks fell down till hips. Young women used to wear loose hair. Married women had to hide their hair under a headscarf to let only their husbands – masters and sovereigns – admire their beauty. Curls were a necessary condition of beauty. They were made by using tongs and specially warmed-up sticks. Even though censors considered the natural women’s desire to look better than they were to be sinful. “Those who curl their hair should go to the hell because there is no other way for them,” – it is a quotation from the Middle Age play. In the late Middle Age women, according to the Roman-Catholic churches decree, had to cover their hair with caps, headscarves, covers, it was considered to be sinful to stay bare-headed. They had long hair, parted in the middle, braided their hair and put back at the nape, an attire was put over the hairdo. Young girls braided their hair carefully, bound with bands and covered with tippets. Men wore smoothly combed back and arranged into flocks hair, free growing beard and moustache. That time was not productive for the hairdressing art development.
In the period of the late Middle Age end women’s hairdos started to look newly like Greek hairdos. “The community develops periodically and these cycles repeat.” (Arnold Toybe-a philosopher.) After the long lasting Middle Age “fast” started the all-European “feast”: “Decameron” Boccaccio” are replaced by the Bible; nobody lived without horoscopes, foretellers – the epoch to enjoy the life was coming, the Renaissance.
The Hairdressing Art in the Renaissance (XIV-XVI centuries)
In the Renaissance epoch all the people were eager to enjoy their lives on the Earth but not in Heaven. “Oh! How youth is beautiful but momentary! Sing, laugh, be happy, if you want to be happy and don’t count on tomorrow”, - wrote Lorenzo Medici – the Florence ruler - in his poems. An absolutely new epoch changed everything: the way of life, people’s philosophy and psychology, art, architecture style…
South women did everything to be blond. They stayed in the baking sun rays on the balconies, wore wide-brimmed hats to protect from tan (white skin was modern then); hair locks were put on the hat brims. The necessary condition in a hairdo was an open high forehead, to be more expressive women tried to make their forehead higher by shaving some hair above the foreheads. Sometimes they shaved eyebrows. Hairdressing art developed in the new way. There was a return to the antiquity heritage, hairdos became complicated again using expensive decorations, feathers and diadems. We can judge about it by Botticelli’s pictures, because Simonetta Vespucci was the modern beauty, she inspired Sandro Botticelli more than once (you could see her features in Botticelli’s picture “Venera”). The men’s style is shoulder lenghth hair, arranged in a roller, framed the face and the neck, shaved beard and moustache.
The Hairdressing Art in Baroque Style Epoch (XVII - the Middle of XVIII Centuries)
A new art style arose in the middle of XVII century, Spain became Baroque style founder. Baroque spread around the whole Europe very quickly. France, England and other countries mastered hairdos and developed them, their style fitted clothes of that time: modern for that time “jabot” collars (by hypothesizes, Phillip’s III wife, who had a long neck, brought into fashion high, stand-up collars) needed a large hair volume. They were decorated with jewelry and covered with a hat-beret. The second part of XVII century is the time of Spain, unyoked from Moors and become a powerful state. Spanish suit of that time is compared with a trunk, filled with gold and jewelry: it dazzles with its magnificence. In complicated hairdos you could often see sparkling gold and silvery locks (sensu stricto). That time men’s style was a short hair cut with a wedge-shaped moustache and a beard (“Spanish beard”). After 1638 it came French epoch. France became the trendsetter. The French fashion golden age in Baroque style was the middle of XVII. It is the century of a wig, which cost an arm and a leg. Complicated hairdos in the frameworks made from wire came into fashion, a hairdo “a la Fontage” with fillets and laces between which hair locks were held became fashionable. The name appeared due to a king’s favorite - Maria Angelica de Fontage. The legend tells that once her hair disarranged while hunting and she tied it up her with a fillet. The king was delighted and asked de Fontage to wear such hairdo more often. At first it was soft and low, and then a cloth got starched and pulled on a wire framework. Hairdos were turned into high towers. Even carriages were made with convertible tops – otherwise a woman would not be able to go inside.
The Hairdressing Art in Rococo Style Epoch (The First Half of XVIII Century)
Everything is slipping by and changing. Who gets the top, then he goes down. For the French estate monarchy the way down was started, as it is well known, in Ludovik’s XIV lifetime and lasting till the revolution. “The sun-king” said: “The state is me”, however he took care for the French greatness in his own way. Ludovik XV didn’t refuse absolutism claims at all, and cared only for his enjoyments. The biggest part of his surrounding aristocratic servants didn’t care about anything except enjoyments. His time was the time of a greedy chase for enjoyments, the time of cheerful lifetime spending. But no matter how sometimes aristocratic idlers amusements were dirty, that time community styles differed in indisputable elegancy, beautiful refinement, which made France trendsetter. And this elegancy and refined tastes had their expression in aesthetic concepts that time. Refinement elegancy and nicety of sensual enjoyment were being spread everywhere. In 1740 Niron in one of his poems wrote to Ludovik’s XV lover, lady Pompadour on behalf of the famous painter Bushe:
To tell you the truth, I am just looking for
Elegancy, gracefulness and beauty,
Softness, politeness and cheerfulness,
In short all that sensuality or playfulness breathe with.
And all that without redundant familiarity is
Under cover, which the captious virtue requests.
The early Rococo style epoch came to take the place of Baroque style. Unnaturally looked high hairdos gave place to small, refined, hairdos with tube locks. “A powdered hairdo” appeared. Refined and attractive marquise de Pompadour, who appeared at court with new and new hairdos, set the fashion. Ludovik XV admired this petite woman, who brought into fashion high-heeled shoes and high hairdos for the first time in accordance with petite women’s style. Later (under Maria Antoinette) hairdressing art got a very important role, there were academies founded to teach to make unique hairdos hairdressing. After 1770 in the late Rococo epoch hairdressing art prosperity came. That time navy battles with miniature sailers and paradise gardens appeared on women’s heads... Small hairdo style in the beginning of Rococo epoch started to grow by leaps and bounds. Hairdressers were worth weight in gold. Powder which was made from flour was used in great quantities.
Hairdressing Art in Classicism Style Epoch (XVIII – the beginning of XIX)
The Great French Revolution was the end of the “vain marquises” epoch. Maria Antoinette put her beautiful head on the executioner's block. The whole epoch died with her death. Cl*ssicism, antiquity cult, Greek style and Roman style got into fashion. “Halls were furnished in antiquity style; striking changes in clothes and hairstyle: there was everything “a la antic” – women’s dresses were likened to tunics, hair was arranged as an elegant diadem… Fashionable women wanted to look like an ancient statue.” It was the first time when short women’s hair cuts appeared. A hair cut “a la Titus” with short cut and fine waved lock ends appeared in memory of those who died on a guillotine (hair was cut before an execution, the neck was to be naked). Madam Recamier’s hair on David’s portrait was arranged exactly in this way. A wide band holds her hair around her head. On Gerard’s portrait madam Recamier’s hair was arranged in Greek style: bunched hair decorated with an ornamental needle. Since the second half of XVIII hairdos became simpler and more natural, frequently with only one hairpin but sometimes it was just tied as a knot. Curls were a must.
Hairdressing Art in the Empire Style (1800-1815) and Biedermeier (the middle of XIX)
In 1800 in France when Napoleon I came to power the Empire style appeared, trying different methods to make curls were the characteristic feature of that time: round, spiral, plane and etc. Curls were decorated with feathers, hairpins, hair hoops. Men had middle sized hair, combed towards the face. After Napoleon’s defeat hairdos in the Empire style went out of fashion – Biedermeier had came. This unique style appeared in 20th years of XIX century in Vienna. It was the peak of the hairdressing art fullest flower: luxuriant curls framed temples, hair volume was arranged into various ornament. Hairdos were decorated with bands, veils, flowers, pearls, diadems. In Biedermeier epoch hairdos looked like ornamental architecture. As usually preference was given to blondes. Men had whiskers, locks at the forehead, high bings, not covering the forehead.
Unique style of that epoch revived the art of making complicated hairdos with applying last for that time hairdressing appliances: hair dying and bleaching methods by using hydrogen peroxide, circling-irons and etc. – all of these appliances (of course, improved) are used in the present time.
Hairdressing Art in the Eclecticism Epoch (the second part of XIX Century)
The Bourgeois Revolution in 1848 inaugurated the beginning of capitalism development. France gained influence in the fashion field again. Hairdos became simpler, even though complicated hairdos with long hair were popular as usually till the end of XIX and the beginning of XX centuries. Men’s fashion in the end of XIX and the beginning of XX was a short parting in the middle and clean-shaven moustache and beard, frequently divided downwards. The end of XIX century is characterized by the technological progress: a French, Marsel, invented a circling-irons in 1881, he brought to perfection a method to curl hair by using chemicals invented by a German professor – Fisher. In 1904 a German, Sharl Nestle, invented a method of making long lasting hair perming by using chemicals and heating. That time a short women’s geometrical hair cut came into fashion. The World War I made women do men’s job. A woman had to walk with vigorous strides, she needed in comfortable clothes and she had no time to curl her hair. A new image came into fashion – a woman-boy with a short dress and a short geometrical form hair cut. It was a revolution. Cinema, which couldn’t speak that time, got more and more influence on the fashion. The previous woman’s ideal, incarnated into Lillian and Dorothy Gish and especially into Mary Pickford, - naive and virgin angels, lived out its days. Mary’s complicated hairdo became her trademark. It looked like that: huge hair mass, carefully divided into 18 tight locks (two of them are still being kept in Hollywood in the cinema museum). However, the beauty incarnated into Pickford began to seem out-of-date. A woman-vamp appeared. The twentieths of XX century – is that rare epoch when blondes predominance was finally overthrown. On the screen and in the life prevailed such women like Asta Nielsen, Theda Bara, Francesca Bertini, - fragile and pale, with black, short cut hair in “Bob” style with straight hair bings, falling down over too brightly made up eyes. The whole decade followed under the badge of Greta Garbo with her beautiful face like “made from the light and loneliness” and Marlene Dietrich. In the forties women’s clothes style was coarse and militarized. It may seem strange though but complicated hairdos with locks till shoulders and luxuriant c*coons on a head. In the fifties Marilyn Monroe appeared in the world cinema. A chain of her roles – stories about beautiful blondes with “eyes which open for brilliants and shut for kisses”. In the end of fifties after Roger Vadim’s movie “God created a woman” Bridget Bardo became a young people’s idol. She brought into fashion a line of hairdos: straight and long loose hair, a “Pony tale”, luxuriant “Barbette’ with backcombing. In the sixties one more future super star, who would be called “the most beautiful woman in the World”, dyed her hair blonde. It was Katrin Denev. “She looks like Bridget Bardo”, journalists wrote. At the end of the sixties an English hairdresser Vidal S*ssoon created a famous democratic hair cut. Twenty five years later he called it his own contribution to the women’s emancipation. “I have lightened a small part of women’s everyday life. I have found a hair cut for them which is easy to keep in form, just wash hair, dry it and shake your head…” That time women were keen on various colored wigs, right up to grey, lilac, fiery red. The seventies brought the perming to the World. As in the old days young people’s movement influenced the fashion. At the end of that decade punks appeared in London, they shocked everybody with their appearance. Punks hairdos looked like bristling hedgehogs and porcupines: uncombed, ragged hair locks standing on end, dyed into wild colors. The fashion didn’t reject the punks’ style but refined it. Women started wearing hair cuts - “Cascade”, also very short hair cuts - “Hedgehog” – came into fashion. In the middle eighties the fashion pendulum swung to the female side. “What kind of hairstyle will come to take place of dyed in different colors and untidy scattered locks? Long hair, which was so lovely and esteemed past time, finally returns. At last women will look like women. Locks, curls, waves fluently falling down to shoulders came into fashion,” – men in an American magazine exclaimed in 1986. Softness, feminity and naturalness are the three foundations of those days fashion in hairdos. There are nostalgic notes: modelers admired the women’s beauty of the past. Except hair cuts there are also hairdos in Marina Vladi, Bridget Bardo, Audrey Hepburn’s style…
Hair dyeing got its perfection. You can dye your hair every week like Linda Evangelista, but remember that the most modern color is the color which nature gave us. Dyestuffs were replaced by color shampoos that enrich natural hair color, give it marvelous mixture of tints. More and more admirers of natural plant hair-dyes appeared, by using them your hair would come alive and shine… The fashion gives a rare possibility to keep individuality and stay like you are. Even in Renaissance epoch, when everybody went crazy about blondes, famous Shakespeare berhymed his black-haired “swarthy lady”:
In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name;
But now is black beauty's successive heir,
And beauty slandered with a bistard shame.
For since each hand hath put on nature's power,
Fairing the foul with art's false borrowed face,
Sweet beauty hath no name no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress' eyes are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem,
At such who, not born fair no beauty lack,
Sland'ring creation with a false esteem.
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.
Who knows, may be the “swarthy lady” stayed alive for ages just because she risked not to fall under influence of transient fashion and preferd just to be herself?
Written by Lily Mollison
Submitted by Lily Mollison
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