The history of wigs in different cultures and time eras
Wigs have been around for several centuries and have made an appearance in different cultures around the world. They have been used for many different reasons in the past.
Today, we mostly use wigs as a bold fashion statement. We can have a new hairstyle everyday while protecting our natural hair.
At LolaSilk we work hard to ensure that we are the leading experts when it comes to providing quality wigs made from only the best, smooth and silky hair that will leave you with a gorgeous hairstyle that will last many months.
When you are considering buying a wig, you might be curious about where wigs come from and in which cultures around the world they are popularly used.
In this article we will explore more about the history of weaves, where they were used first and some of the reasons why people wore these headpieces throughout history.
Wigs in Ancient Egypt
One of the first records we have of people wearing wigs dates back thousands of years ago in Ancient Egypt. In this society, both men and women commonly shaved their heads and used wigs to cover it up. The wigs dating back to this time were usually made from human hair, wool or even vegetable fibres.
Egyptians chose to shave their heads due to several practical reasons. Egypt is a place that reaches very hot temperatures, which means that having a bald head was a lot cooler. They also shaved their heads to avoid infestations by insects, like head lice. However, Egypt being mostly a desert with the hot sun pounding down every day, these people needed some protection against the sun, and that is where wigs came in.
The people of Egypt used beeswax and resin to secure their wigs to their heads. They commonly decorated the wigs with anything from gold and ivory to braids and hair-rings. Basically, the more beautiful and adorned a wig was, the wealthier the person wearing it. The condition and appearance of a wig told a lot about the social standing of a person.
Apart from the Egyptians, wigs also featured in several other ancient cultures. These included Assyrians, Phoenicians, Jews, Greeks and Romans.
Wigs in Korea
In Korea’s history, a wig called a gache, used to be an indicator of great social standing among women. Women coming from wealthy families used to wear these big and heavy wigs which were popularly decorated with a variety of things, including silk, gold, coral and jade. Some decorations were exclusively reserved for people that were part of the country’s royalty.
Some of these wigs were extremely heavy, weighing an average of between three to four kilograms each. It was recorded that a particularly heavy gache wig once led to the death of a teenage girl. She was a 13-year-old bride and caused a serious neck injury.
One of the first English royals to wear a wig
Queen Elizabeth I of England was one of the first British royals who was famously known to wear a wig. Her signature wig was reddish-gold and was tightly curled into an elaborate hairdo in a Roman style. She could be seen as an influencer, as she set the tone for popular hairstyles among rich women in the 16th century.
It is said that the queen did not wear a wig solely for fashion purposes, but also to hide her greying hair. Later in her life she lost her hair before dying at the age of 69.
The history of wigs in France
Wigs became popular in France during the reign of Louis XIII. He went bald and used larger-than-life wigs to disguise his hairless head. In this time, the wig became popular thanks to the king who was wearing it. As in other cultures, wigs quickly became a symbol of status and power. Wigs were an important aspect in the aristocratic world and were popular among people from the high upper class. During the 18th century wigs were taken to the next level with highly decorated curls and white powdered wigs. Some ladies got so involved in the wig business that they used small birdcages, including a small bird, when they wore these elaborate wigs.
What we use wigs for today
Today wigs are worn for many different reasons, as previously mentioned. They remain a popular element in the entertainment and movie industry. These days, high-end wigs are still a symbol of riches, with many A-lister celebrities sporting some of the best wigs in the world on the red carpet, on movie screens and on stages. Some of the most iconic modern celebrities who are regularly seen with wigs include Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Naomi Campbell Cher, Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani and Cardi B.
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