Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles

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Ancient Egyptian hairstyles established the person's status in society. As a young girl, Egyptian children (both boys and girls) had their hair shaved off, with the exception of a long lock of hair attached to the side of the head. With the onset of puberty, the boys would shave off the rest of their hair, while the girls wore their hair in plaits or a ponytail style, with the single tail hanging down the center at the back. Hair could be long and braided with curls at the end or with weighted accessories that would adorn the hair and keep it hanging straight.

As with modern women, ancient Egyptian women could maintain a hairstyle that was long or short, preferring their hair smooth and close with chin length bobs. For longer hair, women of the New Kingdom had wigs, their hair decorated with flowers or ribbons. Employing a stylized lotus blossom as a head adornment, it developed into the diadems made from turquoise, gold, and malachite beads. Even the poorer women would be able to add adornments such as berries and petals, while children's hair was decorated with amulets, hair-rings and clasps. Often, the ancient Egyptian woman would wear a headband to keep her hair in place, employing when necessary ivory hairpins and beads to attach wigs and hair extensions.

Shaving the head bald might seem to be an extreme style for women in particular, but there were many benefits. It assisted with keeping the bearer cool in the hot Egyptian climate, it allowed for sanitary maintenance, preventing such things as head lice, and it was much easier for the hair to be washed and changed, just like clothes, as this could be done by the servants, and the owner would always have a fresh change of hair.


egyptian hair egyptian hair

egyptian hair egyptian hair egyptian hair

With the interaction of Rome on Egypt, there was a cultural crossover that saw some female Egyptian mummies wearing the ornate hairstyles of the ancient Roman woman. Roman hairstyles were even portrayed in statues.

Wigs were created from sheep's wool, vegetable fibers, and human hair, with the more natural looking hair, the more in demand. They could be curled or made with plaits, with the nobility and royalty wearing long wigs that were separated into three parts. Wigs could be long or short, the latter made of small curls that were arranged in horizontal lines that overlapped each other like roofing tiles. The ears and the back of the neck were fully covered with only the forehead partially visible. The long-haired wig hung to the shoulder, framing the face, with a sampling of waves and spirals. The wigs had to be maintained with vegetable oils and animal fats, to which they added scents and adornments such as cinnamon and petals. Wigs were so special to the ancient Egyptians, that they accompanied them into their tombs for the journey to the next life.

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