Hair Replacement Unit: The History Of Wigs

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

A hair replacement wig is a head of hair, natural, horse-hair or synthetic which is worn in addition to or instead of ones own hair. The wig may be worn for baldness, religious, acting, ceremonial, and beautification reasons.

After the time of the ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Assyrians and Romans, the use of the wig fell into disfavor for nearly one thousand years. Not until the 1500s did wig wearing become popular again, and that for a very unpopular reason. With relatively poor personal hygiene habits, head-lice were common. The sufferers shaved their heads and wore hair replacement wigs because the wigs were somewhat easier to clean.

Royal patronage was important to popularize wigs and wig wearing. Elizabeth I of England owned and wore a Romanesque hair style red wig. France’s Louis XIII popularized the wearing of hair replacement wigs amongst men. England’s Charles II was restored to the British throne after spending time in exile at the French court during this period and made wig wearing and longer hair for men much in fashion.

Wigmakers became very much in demand and part of the elite class. Their creations were very elaborate, and also very heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Human hair was the first choice for such hair replacement purposes, with horse-hair a cheaper alternative.

During this period, the use of the elaborate formal powdered hair replacement wigs for several professions, including that of judges and barristers in the United Kingdom was standardized.

Women’s hair replacement wigs followed a slightly different path, being worn only by ladies who had lost hair due to age or illness.

A resurgence of popularity of the full hair replacement wig occurred in the mid to late 1900s because of the elaborate bouffant hairstyles which required thicker hair than that enjoyed by many females. These over teased and backcombed styles resulted in hair damage. It was much easier to style a wig and don it for occasions requiring hair styling. This was made much easier by the development of artificial fibers which look much like human hair.

By: Cherry Bonachita

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