Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles, Hairstyles of the Nile
As modern men and women, when we think of grooming and appearance, we oftentimes think of our hair, and in this case, the ancient Egyptians were no different!
For the people who built the pyramids and the Sphinx, hairstyle was something that was considered a personal and important method of self-expression, and from the pharaoh down to the peasants and the slaves, a great deal of thought was put into the way that they wore their tresses.
When thinking of the hairstyles of the ancient Egyptians, it is important to remember that this was a civilization that lasted several thousand years, and that hairstyles, as they do for all cultures, went in and out style.
The Egyptians loved fashion and innovation as much as we do, and it can be seen in many ways that certain styles came in and out of fashion.
For instance, a style known as the Nubian appeared briefly, where women would go around almost completely bald with a few well-placed tufts of hair on their scalps.
This style was not in fashion terribly long and soon fell out of favor, like the beehive hairdo did during the sixties!
One thing that did remain the same, however, was the heat. Egypt has a very hot and dry climate, and then, as now, the presence of lice was a sign of un cleanliness and poor grooming, something that was essential for a person of rank and importance to avoid!
Young children, male and female, were often shaved bald to make caring for them and keeping them clean easier.
The children of richer people might have only half their head shaved, leaving a long lock to lie over their shoulders, while young girls would often have their hair braided into four or five tight plaits that could be gathered into a ponytail for ease of styling.
Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles
Wigs were an important part of the Egyptian hairstyles, and though during the period known as the Old Kingdom, around 3000 years BC, people wore wigs or their own hair, wigs became more and more common as time went on.
Wigs provided an excellent way to maintain beautifully elaborate hairstyles that could be easily removed and styled, and because of this, many men and women shaved their heads.
Bare heads were not seen as a sign of high style, however, and a man or woman would never venture into public without their wig on.
Baldness was a sign of being a temple priest, who had to be completely shaved from head to toe, to the point of removing their eyebrows and eyelashes every three days
While the wigs were made as realistically as possible, they could be styled in ways that natural hair would not hold up to. Wigs were made of human hair, vegetable fibers and animal wool, and could be elaborately curled, dyed, braided and beaded.
One common look for both men and women was to thread beads onto hair that had been separated into many tiny braids. Sometimes, these beads would be quite simple and subtle, perhaps a single golden bead on the end of a braid.
Other times, the entire braid would be beaded from the roots to the tip, resulting in a hairstyle that, depending on the value of the beads, was exorbitantly expensive.
It is important to remember that rich people were not the only ones who felt the need and had the ability to adorn themselves. While of course nobles and the wealthy had wigs made of real human hair and gold and gems in their hairstyles, people of the middle class, and even people who were desperately poor still decorated their hair.
The middle class often had to make do with wigs that were mass-produced at factories out of vegetable fiber and wool, while the poorer people who couldn't afford wigs at all would thread clay beads and dried berries into their braids.
It is interesting to note that Egyptians disliked the fact that their dark hair would eventually go gray with age, and as a result, there was a thriving market in remedies for people who wanted to recolor their hair.
In times when natural hair was popular, henna was often used to give graying hair a brush of color and to condition the hair as well. Henna is still used today to color hair and to give a touch of life to hair that has gone a dull gray. Virtually all Egyptian art depicts Egyptians with shiny black hair, with only foreigners being seen with brown or red hair.
An analysis of the demographics of the time, however, reveal that the hair of the ancient Egyptians could range from a dull black to a dark brown, making dying and wigs methods to get to the ideal black.
Shorter hair, both in terms of wigs and natural hair was popular in the Old Kingdom.
Hair would be tightly braided and oiled to prevent the hot Egyptian winds from drying it out. Women often wore long ponytails where the end was encouraged to curl attractively.
Both men and women would weight the ends of their hair down with lucky amulets or metallic discs for style.
Later on,ancient egyptian hairstyles grew longer and more elaborate, and hair extensions can be seen for both men and women on mummies that have been well-preserved.
Hair extensions, like wigs, could be made of plant fiber or wool, but the best ones were made of human hair. These extension could be simply braided into the natural hair, but to attach it a little more firmly, a mixture of resin and beeswax would be used.
If you are interested in Egyptian hairstyles yourself, one way to get the sleek look of the Egyptian wigs is to start by taking some coconut oil and sleeking it through your hair until it is shiny and feels a little greasy.
Then separate your hair into thin strands and make lots of tiny braids.
A cloth band tied around your forehead will keep the strands back, or you can gather it into a ponytail the way many Egyptians did.
Then you can weave ribbon through the braids and use the ends of the ribbon to tie charms or beads into your hair.
The coconut oils is a excellent way to deep-condition your hair, and when you rinse it out and shampoo your hair, you'll find that your hair is a great deal softer as well!
Enjoy, Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles
Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles
An Egyptian barber at work without the luxuries
Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles