The history of hair extensions


To be attracted to style and fashion is an innate human nature and the attraction is so intense that people are ready to take all kinds of measures that might be necessary to adopt the desired fashion and style.  Added to this is the urge to become beautiful that can drive people crazy. Notwithstanding the physical limitations that can be detrimental for adopting any particular hair style that depends on the length of hair and its volume, women are ready to take up artificial hair extensions. And this has been true for ages, as it dates back to 3400 B.C. when the ancient Egyptian culture was used to hair extensions and wigs that were worn by Pharaohs and members of the elite class to satisfy their styling and beautification needs.


Those were the times when men, women and children freely indulged in hair styling. Researchers have revealed that Egyptians were fond of using hair extensions of various colors like gold, red and blue. Sheep’s wool and human hair were used to make plaits and wigs. Natural wax that was obtained from trees, plants and bees were used as adhesive to attach the hair extensions to natural hair. Cleopatra, the beautiful and legendary Egyptian queen endorsed and used wigs and hair extensions. Men too used hair wigs, not with any intention of making them beautiful but to act as a protection on the head.


From the ancient times, hair wigs have symbolized the economic and social status of people.  The style of the wig would help to make out the person’s position in the society even in Europe and America in the eighteenth century when wearing wigs with curly and wavy styles became very popular.  The trend of wearing powdered wigs, as it was called, began at the time of one King Louis who had turned bald and wanted to have a makeover to conceal his bald looks that he thought would  perhaps weaken his personality in the eyes of people. Soon it was the turn of the common people to imitate the king and the Perukes, the name given to the wig, gained widespread popularity.


In between, hair extensions and wigs have been in and out of fashion but never did it make an exit. However, it was not until the 1940s that hair extensions made a long term come back in the fashion scene and has maintained its popularity even today. It was during this time that long hair was once again being looked upon as a pre-requisite for hair styling among women. During the era of Beatles, especially in the seventies, the bee hive wig became a craze for women.  The African American female population became greatly attracted to hair extensions and hair weaves during the decades of 1980 and 1990 and the trend continues.

The rare survival of hair extensions for centuries together with the kind of popularity that it enjoys today, it should not be surprising at all if it does not ever acquire an expiry date.

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