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History of Hairstyling – Roman Empire

Hairstyles were determined by a number of factors, namely gender, age, social status, wealth and profession. A woman’s hairstyle expressed her individuality in the Ancient Roman World. How one dressed one’s hair was an indication of who you were and what your role in society was.

Most Attractive part of the body

RomanWomanHair-1Hair was a very erotic area of the female body for the Romans, and attractiveness of a woman was tied to the presentation of her hair. As a result, it was seen as appropriate for a woman to spend time on her hair in order to create a flattering appearance. Hairdressing and its necessary accompaniment, mirror gazing, were seen as distinctly feminine activities. Simple hairstyles would consist for women wearing their hair down and confining it from the face by using a band circling the head. Young girls wore a simple bun at the base of the neck. However, in the reign of the Emperor Augustus simple hairstyles changed and detailed hairstyles came into fashion. In Ancient Rome hairstyles became an expression of a person’s identity as much as it is today and again the style determined the persons wealth, status, gender and age. For women, their hair indicated how attractive and wealthy she was.

Identified Individual’s Social Status

Today elaborate hairstyles like Lady Gaga’s are deemed controversial and radical but in the Roman times the more complex and outrageous her hairstyle the more attractive she was because she has spent hours perfecting her style which indicated her wealth. They would use false hair pieces like we do today to make their hair look thicker and longer. Women would either wear their hair down in ringlets or up in highly, sophisticated braids and knots. They decorated their hair mainly with pearls and jewelled hair pins. Here’s a video that teaches you an ancient roman haircuts you  can adorn your daughters with: In early Roman times, men would have long hair and full beards but this changed to them having short hair and clean-shaven faces. This changed again about 1CE as they kept the short hairstyle but grew their beards. Caesar’s hair began to go thin in his later days in which he would wear a laurel crown to hide this as it was a sign of degeneracy. In contrast, the Emperor Nero wore curling hairs that framed his face and later started the trend for sideburns.

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