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The Classic Hairstyles Of Greek Women
Do you ever wonder what your hair says about you, whether your style is too young or too old for you or whether it really suits your face? If you do, you can at least take heart in the fact that your problems aren't new ones.
Ancient Greek women asked themselves the same questions and had an array of hairstyles that are nearly as diverse as the ones that we enjoy today to choose from.
Whether you are simply curious about the ancient Greek hairstyles seen in the movie 300 or you want to look elegant and goddess-like for a toga party, there's a lot of information available on ancient Greek hairstyles.
The popular profile view found on various art pieces has told us a lot about how Greek women wore their hair and for the most part, many of the ancient Greek hairstyles, while not immediately familiar to our modern eyes, are quite easy to reproduce and understand.
When it comes to color, it seems fairly certain that the majority of Greeks sported dark hair. Despite this, or maybe because of it, one of the Greek ideals of female beauty was very fair skin topped by golden tresses.
Helen of Troy is popularly thought to be blond, as was Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Because of this, women went through some serious trials to lighten their hair, trials that make our times spent with the dye bottle look positively straightforward.
An image-conscious Greek lady might soak vinegar into her hair and then sit in the sun in the hopes that it would grow lighter. In more extreme cases, urine was used to rinse hair due to the bleaching power of the ammonia.
Researchers have found evidence of broad-brimmed hats without top.
Women would pull their treated hair through the top of the hat and then sit out in their gardens, allowing the sun to help lighten their hair while protecting their complexions, which ideally would stay porcelain pale.
The Greek civilization lasted for about a thousand years and and what we think of as Greek culture spanned vastly different areas and cities.
The luxury-loving, sybaritic Athenians were Greeks, as were the fierce Spartans, so it is easy to see that the styles for these two very different cities would produce very different ideas about what was attractive.
Despite all of these differences, there were some things that could be held true almost universally.
The hairstyles of the Greeks sent a message, and you could tell a lot about a person simply by taking a look at the style of hair that they kept.
A woman who had short, cropped hair was probably a servant or a slave, while a free woman of some means would keep her hair longer, but would often wear it tied back out of her way while she was working.
However, for a special occasion, free women would often get their hair done, in the same style that a noblewoman might.
The women's ancient Greek hairstyles were quite varied and quite lovely, and the more care and time a woman could devote to her hair and her appearance, the more well-off she was thought to be.
It is thought that Greek women would wash their hair with water and then use olive oil as a deep conditioner, giving their hair a smooth shine and a soft, pleasant texture.
Depending on the styles of the day, she might curl it or put gentle waves in it, but while a young girl might wear her hair streaming down her back, an adult woman would always wear her hair up.
The chignon style that is so popular today can be thought of as an ancient Greek hairstyles, and chignons were often worn low on the back of the head, occasionally with long, curled or otherwise styled tendrils hanging down over the ears.
Buns were also popular ancient Greek hairstyles, as were braids that twisted into buns with long strips of cloth.
While a rich woman might keep her hair long as a source of vanity, often the only people who would see it down after her marriage were her husband and her servants.
As anyone with long hair will tell you, one of the joys of having it is buying plenty of hair toys and finding different ways to pull it up, and in this respect, Greek women would have agreed whole-heartedly with us!
Hair accessories were a part of any Greek woman's beauty regimen, and though their hair might look plain up in a simple bun, it would soon be decorated with pins and ornaments of all sorts.
One of the most common, but also most recognizable types of Greek hair accessory was the diadem or the crown.
A rich woman would have a thin metal circle, often made out of precious metals and decorated with jewels, that rested on her head, holding her hair back and away from her face. This diadem could give her hair a great deal of shape and support as well as being a beautiful adornment in its own right.
Women would also wrap scarves or colored bits of fabric through their hair, tying it up while adding a splash of color as well.
Hair ornaments of metal, wood, bone and ceramic have all been used by Greek women, and they range from simple metal or wooden hairpins to jeweled combs that were meant to adorn a bun or to complement a diadem.
Of course the complexity of her hair would depend on the occasion.
A normal day with the family might only involve a utilitarian comb that was meant to hold the hair back off the neck, while a more formal occasion would call for a golden diadem that had been hammered into the shapes of leaves of flowers.
If you are interested in replicating a ancient Greek hairstyle for yourself, and if you have hair that at least hits your shoulders,you can give this quick and easy style a shot.
Simply separate out two strands of hair at your temple and start twisting it back towards the back of your head, gathering more hair into the twists as you go.
When you get the nape of your neck, twist the two strands together and pin them into a bun.
After that, simply add pins as necessary to secure. You can add decorative hairpins to give this look a bit of color, or you can simply keep it elegant and simple as many Greek women did!
Classic Greek Styles
June 29 2012