HAIRDRESSING is the art of arranging the hair or otherwise modifying its natural state. Closely related to headgear, hairdressing has been an im portant part of the dress of both men and women since antiquity and, like dress, serves a number of functions.

Almost all societies have found it necessary to cut or confine the hair in order to keep it out of the way. They further arranged their hair to fulfill man's basic desire for personal adornment, which may vary in form from the ornately curled, blond wigs of Roman matrons to the sleek shin gled heads of flappers in the 1920's. One ex tremely important function of hair styling, especially in traditional preindustrial societies, is to indicate status. Primitive men, for example, fastened bones, feathers, and other objects in their hair to impress the lowly and frighten the enemy with their rank and prowess. Noble rank among the ancient Gauls was indicated by long hair, which Caesar made them cut off as a sign of sub mission when he conquered them. The occupa tional associations of hair are exemplified by the gray wig of a British barrister and the lacquered, black wig of a Japanese geisha.

The religious significance of hair is seen in the shaved heads of Christian and Buddhist monks, indicating renunciation of the world, and in the single long lock on the shaved heads of Nluslim men, by which, they believed, Allah would pull them up to heaven. In 17th century England, both politics and religion were pro fessed by the long curling locks of the Royalist Anglican Cavaliers and the cropped hair of the Parliamentarian Puritan Roundheads.

Hair arrangement could also proclaim age and marital status. Boys in ancient Greece cut their hair, and Hindu boys shaved their heads when they reached adolescence. In medieval Europe maidens wore uncovered flowing hair, while matrons bound theirs under veils. As a sign of mourning the ancient Egyptians, whose heads were usually shaven, grew ~ong hair, and long haired Hindu widows cut off their hair.

From the late Middle Ages, hair styles in the West have been greatly influenced by changing fashion. In the 17th century, for example, cour tiers followed the lead of the balding Louis XIV, who wore a wig. In the 20th century women of
all classes eagerly followed the example of film stars with such styles as the platinum hair of Jean Harlow.

Until the 20th century, fashionable hair styles generally were limited to the upper classes, and the dictates of fashion were relatively rigid. To day, with the general increase in wealth, the improvement in mass communication, and the trend toward informality and individualism, women (and men) in all classes can choose the style and color of their own hair, or of a wig, that best suit their needs and tastes.


Styling. The most iruportant qualities for hair are that it be healthy, shining, and in a flattering, easy-to-manage style. Many fashion magazines suggest hair styles according to the shape of the face in order to make the face resemble as closely as possible the perfect oval. The circularity of a round face may be minimized by a sleek, con trolled style with side bangs. A square face needs a style that cuts across the square corners at the temples and is full around the jaw. The best style for a long face also rounds off the corners at the temples and is short. For a triangu lar face, a narrow chin should be filled out with chin-length hair, while a wide chin may be minimized with wide bangs. In finding the ri~ht hairstyle, however, a woman should also consider the proportions of her whole figure, the texture of her hair, her skill in handling it, and the character of her life.

Once a hair style is chosen, it must be main tained by regular washing, setting, and, usually, cutting. Some women care for their hair princi p ally at home, going to the hairdresser only in- frequently for a cut or a shampoo and set for a special occasion. Many women go to the hair- dresser once a week, while still others may see him every day for a combing.

Washing. Clean, healthy hair is the basis of any hair style. In addition to brushing, dry hair requires shampooing once a week, oily hair per haps every day. Shampoos are soapy or synthetic detergents in liquid, gel, lotion, or cream form and may have special uses. There are nondn~ing shampoos for normal hair, egg shampoos to add sheen to dry hair, and lemon shampoos to cut extra oils in oily hair. There are hypoallergenic shampoos for sensitive scalps, medicated sham ~005 for scalp problems, and special shampoos for tinted or bleached hair.

Coloring Because hair coloring is constantly being improved and tested scientifically and is subject to rigid quality controls, more women than ever before can color their hair safely and achieve a natural effect. Most errors stem from the user's carelessness. There are three types of hair coloring available. Temporary rinses, which coat the hair shaft and wash away with one shampoo, make no drastic change but add highlights and blend in discolored streaks. Semi perl!Lanent rinses, which also coat the hair shaft but last through four to eight shampoos, make hair slightly darker (never hghter) and can ef. fectively cover gray hair. Because the color im parted by these rinses fades gradually, it does not require retouching.

Permanent tints penetrate the hair shaft and permanently change the pigment inside. The tint includes a bleaching agent, which removes the natural hair color, and coloring matter, which gives a new color. In a one-color process these actions take place at the same time. In a two- color process, only for the most dramatic changes, the hair is bleached first and then a toner (a very light shade) is applied to enliven the bleached hair. Retouching is needed about every three weeks at the roots, where the darker hair grows in. It should usually be done professionally be- cause overlapping of chemicals can cause the hair to become overly porous and brittle. Streak ing is the two-tone process applied to strands separated from the mass of hair.

Cutting Fundamental to a short hair style is the cut. A blunt cut with scissors makes the ends -.of the hair straight. Cutting with a razor tapers the ends so that they cling close to the head.

Setting and Waving. Most hair, especially if it is short, needs to be arranged in a certain position while wet to give it shape when dry

Setting the most popular method of setting the hair is to wrap small sections of wet hair around rollers, usually of plastic wire. The result is relativel,' flexible, natur al-looking curls with a "hounce" that add height and width to a hair style. Hair may also be set in flat pin curls, which produce a very curly effect. There are many aids for setting hair. Electric curlers (rollers) in dry hair quickly revive a set. Setting lotions on wet hair help the set to hold its shape and last longer. Mter a shampoo an instant conditioner (a protein-based lotion) add, "body" (substance) and sheen to the hair, or a cream rinse makes hair softer and less dry.

Permanent Waving Some women, especidll~ those with straight or fine hair, may want a permanent wave, which gives the hair "hod'." and adaptability to a set. In the modern co)d wave the hair is wrapped around plastic rods and treated with a permanent wave s~ution. Mter a time the rods are removed and a neutral izer is applied to stop the waving action and lock in the new wave pattern. As a result, the structure of the hair is actually changed so that after the set that must follow each shampoo, the hair falls easily back into line. Permanent waves may be in several strengths: super waves for hard-to-curl hair, regular "'a,~es for more casual styles or relatively curly hair. and body waves to give hair a soft, curving line. There are also permanent waves for gray hair and children's hair. Naturally curly hair can be straightened by a permanent wave in reverse.

Combing Out The final step in creating a hair style is to comb out the hair. Once the set hair is dry, the rollers or pins are removed, and the hair is brushed to distribute the curl evenly and to achieve a smooth line. If hair lacks desired height or fullness, it may be "teased" (back combed) to add bulk under the top hair, which is then smoothed down to follow the co~tour of the head. Then the hair is lifted slightl~" l)y the handle of a rattail comb, and hair spray is lightl'. applied to help hold the style in place.


Ancient World. In early and primitive socities the simplest hair style, worn by the common people, was long or cropped hair usually held in a fillet or band. Aristocrats developed distinctive and more complex styles. Sumerian noblewomen. for example, dressed their hair in a heavy, netted chignon, rolls, and plaits around the head or Ietting it fall thickly over the shoulders. They also powdered it with gold dust or scented yellow starch and adorned it with gold hairpins and other ornaments. Babilonian and Assyrian men dyed their long hair and square beards black and crimped and curled them with curling irons. sometimes wigs were worn. Persian nobles also curled their hair and beards and stained them red with henna.

Egyptian noblemen and noblewomen clipped their hair close; later, for coolness and cleanliness in the hot climate they shaved their heads with bronze razors. On ceremonial occasions, for protection from the sun, they wore heavy, usually black wigs. These were in short curly shapes or long and full in curls or braids and were adorned with ivory knobbed hairpins, fillets, fresh flowers or gold ornaments. Men shaved their faces and wore stiff false beards. In classical Greece, men wore short hair and often beards. Later they were shaved. Women's long hair was drawn back loosely or bound into a chignon, later a melon shape. Both sexes wore fillets, and the upper classes used curling irons. Some women dyed their hair red (or in Athens even blue, dusted with gold, white, or red powder), and others adorned it with flowers, ribbons, and jeweled tiaras.

In austere republican Rome, men and women generally followed simple Greek styles, but under the empire the upper classes used curling irons and the men dusted their hair with colored powder or gold dust. Women dyed their hair bond with yellow soap or wore ebony wigs or wigs made from the blond hair of captive barbarians. Their hair was piled high in curls and braids, sometimes arranged on crescent-shaped wire frames. Throughout the ancient world hair- dressing and shaving were accomplished by domestic slaves or in public barbershops.

The Non-Western World-Tbe Muslim World and the East Among Muslims, traditionally, the hair was modestly concealed in public under the man's headdoth, turban, or fez or the woman's veil. Both men and women, however, attended their respective hammams (public baths), where the men were shaved (sometimes the whole head except for the long topknot) and their beards were trimmed. The women's long hair was washed and often given a henna rinse.

In China, men traditionally shaved the front hair and combed the back hair into a queue braided with horsehair or black silk. Worn by the Manchus and imposed by them on their Chinese subjects in the 17th century as a sign of submission, the queue was also a mark of dignity and manhood. To pull it was a grave insult. Chinese women combed their hair back, sometimes under a bandeau, into a low knot, which might be decorated with jeweled combs, hairpins, or flowers. Unmarried girls wore long plaits.

In Japan, traditionally, men usually shaved the front and top of the head, leaving a little stiif pigtail at the back of the crown. Women's hair in the medieval period streamed down their backs. After the introduction of pommade in the 17 th century, women's hair was swept and arranged with combs, bars, ribbons, and long ornarnental hairpins, revealing the nape of the neck, which was thought to be especially appealing, The Geisha's lacquered coiffures, which often were wigs, were especially elaborate.

Africa Africans developed complex hair styles indicative of status. Some ivolved shaving the head, dyeing the hair with red earth and grease, bleaching it with ammonia, Or stiffening it with dung. Among the Masai, for example, nonwarriors and women shaved their heads while warriors tied their front hair into three sections of tiny braids and their back hair into a waist-length queue. Mangbetu women arranged thin plaits over a cylinder-shaped basket frame with a flared top and stuck it full of long flat bone needles used also to groom their finger- nails. Such hair styles took hours to achieve and were left untouched for weeks. Somewhat simpler were the styles of Miango maidens, who combed their kerchief-covered hair back into a long queue tied with leafy branches, or of Ibo girls, who shaved their heads and thereafter let the hair grow only according to an elaborate pattern chalked on their skulls.

Pre-Columbian America In the pre-Columbian era the heads of North American East Coast Indian men were generally entirely shaven, with shell or stone knives, save for a ridge, or comb, of hair along the crown of the head. Plains Indians wore two long plaits, as Indian women did generally.

Farther south in more civilized regions, more complex styles developed, such as the large whorled squash-blossom arrangement over the ears of marriageable Hopi girls. Mixtec women drew their hair into a bun under a horned turban, while Aztec women braided their hair with colored material and wound it round their heads, as they still do in some parts of Mexico. Among Aztec warriors a ridge of hair indicated that he had taken many prisoners. Maya nobles, who wore high head dresses, app ar to have shaved their artificially elongated skulls. Inca chiefs wore relatively short hair, with a headband wrapped around five times; nobles and commoners had progressively longer hair and fewer turns of the headband.

The Western World-Middle Ages and Renaissance The barbarians who overran Europe in the Middle Ages wore long flowing ]ocks and beards. From the 9 th century, nobles on the Continent wore short hair (to the neck) and were clean shaven. After the Norman Conquest of the stilllong haired English, Continental fashion changed, requiring beards and long curled hair, filled out with false hair. In the 13 th and 14 th centuries the hair was neatly rolled at the neck in page boy style. The pudding-basin, ear-revealing style of the early 15th century was superseded~ longer page-boy style, rough in the north
meticulously curled and combed in Italy. The clergy were distinguished by the tonsure, a shaved patch on the head. Its precise shap disputed by the Celtic and Roman churches, in the 7 th century, whole crown was finally established, according to Roman usage.

The influence of the church, always concerned for modesty, encouraged married noblewomen to veil their long plaits entwined with ribbons and false hair. In the 13 th and 14 th centuries thev coiled their plaits over the ears or bundled them into gold or silver cauls (nets) or concealed hair, neck, and chin with a linen wimple, all these styles finished off by a veil or kerchief. In the 15 th century, fashionable ladies of northern Europe plucked their hairline to make their foreheads seem higher and scraped their hair back under an elaborate homed, pointed, or wired headdress. In the warmer climate of Italy, women displayed their hair in plaits and under low, jeweled turbans, bandeaus, or caps. Both men and women strove to achieve blond hair by either using a bleach or saffron or onion skin dye, or, in the case of Italian women, by sitting for hours in a crownless hat in the sun.

In the 16th century, after Francis I of France accidentally burned his hair with a torch, men wore short hair and grew short beards and moustaches. Women's hair was tucked under stiffened, lappeted hoods (caps in Italy), which gradually became smaller, revealing more hair as did small soft toques. The front hair was frizzed around the face and brushed over metal hoops or rolls. The back hair was coiled up in a net out of the way of the high collar. Blond or, in England, red hair, like Queen Elizabeth's, was popular, and false hair and wigs were used. Hair was dusted with powder or flour for blonds, violet for brunettes, and white for the gray-and held in place by gum or rotten oak paste. Lead combs were believed to presse and restore color to the hair. Jewels, feathers. and ornamental hairpins provided decoration.

17th and 18th Centuries. In the first half of the 17 th century fashionable men wore lonc curled hair, often oiled, falling over wide, white collars. Frequently they displayed a longer lock tied with a bow, a neat moustache and a small, pointed beard, the Vandyke. Later in the 17 th century men shaved their faces and their beads, covering their heads with caps at home or long, full-bottomed, curled wigs in public.

Women's hair in the first part of the 17th cen tury was flat on top with fringe on the forehead; wide crimped puffs, then bunched long curls over wire frames at the sides; and a coil high in back decorated with rosettes or a fine linen or lace cap. Gradually the butline became high and narrow as the cap became the tall, lacy fontange.

In the 18th century, men continued to wear wigs but generally smaller and lighter ones, powdered white. Some wigs were tied back into a queue encased in a black silk bag, some were braided, and some were held by a black bow. The law, the army, and the navy each had its own style of wig. Some men wore their own hair n a queue.

In the early part of the 18th century, women had trim little crimped or curled heads, powdered and decorated with garlands or bows. Widows, middle-class women, and women at home wore tiny caps. By the 1770's coiffures built over horsehair pads or wire cages, stuck with pomatum, and powdered with starch mounted three feet in the air. Some had springs to adjust the height. They were extravagantly adorned with feathers, ribbons, jewels, and even ships, gardens, and menageries. Such constructions required several hours work every one to three weeks. Between sessions the undisturbed coiffure was likely to attract vermin. In the 1780's a reaction against formality and extravagance led to the hérisson(hedgehog) style for men and women, a loose, bushy mass of curls.

By this time hairdressers formed a distinct profession. The best were men, many of them trained as wigmakers. Especially notable was Legros de Rumigny, a former baker, who became court hairdresser in France, published the Art de la coiffure des dames (1765), and opened an Academie de Coiffure in 1769.

19th Century The French Revolution and Empire and the accompanying taste for simplicity and the antique had a great effect on hair styles. Both men and women cut their hair very short, like the Roman emperors, or women twisted their hair into Greek knots, with short curls framing the face, or later into smooth plaits around the head. They also wore colored wigs.

Gradually as men became more concerned with commerce, they spent less time on their hair. In the 19 th century they kept it relatively short, sometimes curled and dressed with macassar oil. Most men wore some variety of mous tache, sideburns, or beard.

By the 1830's women were dressing their hair standing rolls or loops on the crown, held by ribbons and combs, and short curls clustered at the temples. Beginning in the 1840's heads were sleek and demure, the hair oiled and smoothed down over the temples with long sausage curls at the side later with a heavy chignon of curls or Plaits in 'back. In the 1880's the front hair formed a crimped fringe. In the 1890's the pompadour of the Gibson Girl was combed over a pad making a high wide frame for the face, and swept up behind. Curls, crimping, and the natural-looking marcel wave were achieved by the use of heated irons, including the waving iron invented by the French hairdresser Marcel Grateau in the 1870's.

20th Century As a result of World War I, women everywhere cut or "bobbed" their hair as a symbol of their political and social emancipa tion. There followed a succession of short, head- clinging hair styles inspired by film stars-the page boy of Garbo, the peek-a-boo of Veronica Lake. Short hair greatly increased the popularity of the permanent wave, invented by the German Charles Nessler about 1905. The early permanents required heat, took 12 hours, and sometimes gave a frizzy effect. Later the cold wave, with chemicals, simplified the process.

In the 1950's the invention of rollers for wav ing made possible the very short, layered Italian cut As young, active, informal women discarded hats, hair styIes, bouffant styles and the smooth, geometric cuts became more important. In the 1960's the availability of natural-looking hair pieces in the form of full wigs, half wigs, or long falls, at all prices, enabled almost every woman to own one or more to suit her taste and mood.

Men's hair in the 20th century was generally simple and short, even to the point of the brush- like crew cut, and most men were clean shaven. In the 1960's the nonconformist young started a trend toward longer hair and side burns or beards to suit their unconventional clothes. Some went to wild-looking extremes; others chose moderate, well-groomed styles to the nape of the neck, trimmed to flatter the shape of the head. Such styles were created or copied in the newly established men's hairdressing salons that offered scissor or razor cuts, lotions, drying in nets, hairspray, and coloring.

Professional Requirements In the 20th century a hairdresser must fulfill professional requirements. In the United States he must attend a cosmetology school, generally for 1,000 hours of training, in order to receive a state license to practice. In Europe he must serve an apprentice ship of from one to five years before registering to practice.

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