Hairdressing: A Grand History

Hairdressing is more than just a job. It is an art form, an ever-developing skill that started centuries ago and has evolved into what hairdressers and clients know and see it as nowadays.

In this weeks edition of #HairTalk, we overview the grand history of hairdressing and how it has progressed over the years since ancient times. Enjoy todays history lesson!


The Ancient Hairdressers

Hairdressing goes back thousands of years. Ancient Art shows people working on another person's hair. Greek writers even talked about hairdressing in their writings.

In Africa, hairdressers were looked to highly as it was believed in some cultures that a person's spirit occupied his or her hair, which encouraged many people to develop hairdressing skills in ancient times.

Before a master hairdresser died, they gave their combs and tools to a chosen successor in a special ceremony.

In ancient Rome and Greece, household servants took on the role of hairdressers.

Hair In Ancient Europe

Over 400 years ago is when the first appearance of the word "hairdresser" came about in Europe, and hairdressing was considered a profession.

Hair fashion around this time shows that wealthy women wore large and complicated hairstyles and the French were a very big influence in hairdressing.

It was in France where men began styling women's hair for the first time. In fact, many of the famous hairdressers of that time were men. The first famous male hairdresser was known as Champagne, who opened his own hair salon in Paris and did the hair of wealthy women.

Growing Taller  

Women's hairstyles grew taller in style during the 17th Century.

Tall piles of curls were sculpted with pomade, powdered and decorated with ribbons, flowers, lace, feathers and jewellery.


French hairdressers continued to develop influential styles during the early 19th century.

Wealthy French women would have their hairdressers style their hair at home for them. Hairdressing was usually a service affordable only to those wealthy enough to hire professionals or to pay for servants to care for their hair.

Hair Salons became popularised during the 20th century, serving as social spaces while women get their hair done (which salons are known for nowadays as well)

Advancements in Hairdressing 

To put how far hairdressing has advanced in perspective, Women in Ancient Rome would use pigeon excrement (bird droppings) to colour their hair blonde. 

For black hair, they mixed leeches with vinegar and sat in the sun until it set in. Salons these days offer a much different experience!

New colouring and chemical processes have developed, allowing hairdressers to perform permanent colouring and styling services.

Old Hairdressing Tools

Big developments in hairdressing tools and technology have taken place during this period. Electricity aided the introduction of permanent wave machines, hair dryers and other hairdressing tools we use today.


There is a big difference in the tools used nowadays vs older hairdressing tools, more so when it comes to heat-styling tools - Curling Irons, Hairdryers and even Permanent Wave Machines!

Curling and Crimping irons required the use of a kerosene lamp or special heating device to heat them up.

Nowadays it is a matter of plugging it in and you’ve got quick and infinite heat!

Present-Day Hairdressing

As we all know, hairdressing nowadays is definitely much more advanced in colours, styles and haircutting due to the increase in knowledge, technology and sciences involving the hair, hair colour and styling tools!


There are so many different hairstyles to choose from, whether it be short, medium or long. Advanced colouring techniques such as Balayage, Ombre and Foiling are all innovations in hairdressing since ancient times, as you can see below!






Thanks for reading this edition of #HairTalk! We hope you enjoyed a little history lesson on the art of Hairdressing.


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