The world has seen its fair share of styles, fashions and cultural trends since the beginning of man. From all shapes, sizes and colors, it seems that the human mind is never short of creativity when it comes to developing new appearances.
Natural hair texture, color and growth patterns are genetic, however people can shape, cut, dye and manipulate hair in many ways. And people have been doing so for ages. Here are some of the most culturally iconic hairstyles in history.
Named after the great Roman military leader and politician, this hairstyle can be described as a short to medium length with a horizontal edge across the forehead. It sometimes includes short curls on the sides and top.
During the Qing (Manchu) dynasty in 17th century China, this hairstyle was made a legal requirement for men in order to display the authority of the Qing family. The hairstyle involves the front half of the skull from the temples and above to be completely shaven and the rest of the hair braided into a ponytail in the back.
In the 17th century, people of royalty and wealth began wearing long, usually curled wigs to either cover baldness or to keep from getting head lice. Although the French King Louis XIII started the style, it was truly popularized by his son, Louis XIV.
Although the Bob hairstyle had shown up a few times throughout history, American women during the 1920’s popularized this short to medium, straight cut style. Usually, the length of the hair was tailored to match the jaw or shoulders of a woman and the style became a symbol of modernity and the advancement of women in society.
From ancient Africa to Hinduism to modern fashion, dreadlocks have been around for around 600 years. Worn by ancient warriors of the Massai people in Kenya, the style was often dyed red with red ochre roots. Dreads were considered sacred for Hindis and were said to be worn by Shiva, the supreme deity. Revitalized by the reggae movement in the 1970’s, the style of long, matted coils of hair became a symbol of reggae music and peace, due in large part to the iconic musician Bob Marley.
The classic “Mop-Top” hairdo was named for its likeness to a mop and was popularized by the Beatles. The mid-length hairstyle consisted of shaggy hair down to the collar, over the ears, and messily tossed over the forehead as bangs.
Although the style entered the US as early as the 1860’s, the Afro didn’t take off until the 1960’s and 70’s when African American counterculture developed with civil rights movements. As a symbol of pride and identity for African Americans, the style is heavily associated with the Disco Era and is created by combing kinky or curly hair up and out, creating a rounded mass of hair.
Originally worn by the Native American tribal warriors, the Mohawk consists of the sides of the head being shaven and considerably longer hair on the top or middle. The width and length of the longer strip on top varies and there are actually several distinct styles of Mohawk.
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About Spencer Aull
I'm a Senior at Kansas University studying Strategic Communications at the J-School. I like writing, thinking, and playing basketball.