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Men’s Hair Styles Through the Ages

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Women tend to think that men have it so easy when it comes to choosing a hairstyle. Should it be a low-number clipper cut, or maybe a short-back and sides? However, it would probably come as a big surprise to learn just how complex men’s hairstyles have become over the past few decades.

In historical times, men often sported quite luxurious hairstyles – think of the wigs in the French Courts in the 1700s. However, the Victorian era signalled the start of a more subdued time, with women’s styles being natural and tame, whilst men kept their hair very short, lathered in macasser oil, and sported a beard, sideburns or a moustache. As we progressed into the 1920’s, hair for men was very simple – short and neat, and an outrageous style statement for men at this time probably constituted something as simple as a side parting.

This continued until after the Second World War, after which time things seemed to relax and men began to wear their hair long or slicked back, which was considered to be very ‘Hollywood’ for men. However the 1950’s was considered to be one of the turning points for men’s’ hairstyles, as Elvis and James Dean hit the headlines with their enviable quiffs, and long and heavy sideburns. As a consequence men everywhere started to take more time over their appearance.

The 1970’s proved a great decade for men’s hair – personal expression was the key to a great hairstyle. Groovy looks were big this era, and both men and women embraced more natural styles with longer locks and shaggy tresses. Think the Beatles, the Stones and David Cassidy – all had great shaggy styles. There is evidence that many of the 1970’s hairstyles are on trend today, because they are classically appealing.

As we sweep through to the eighties, music and film idols still influenced the hairstyles of the decade. At the start of the eighties there were two schools of influence in men’s hairdressing, both of which were influenced by music. There was the cult of the Mods, where men were very minimalist in their choice of styles; shaved heads perfectly accompanying sharp suits in monochrome colours. At the other extreme there were the New Romantics with their more flamboyant styling, long fringes and bold highlights.

This shift saw men starting to ‘care’ for their hair and although sleeking, sculpturing and moulding products had been used throughout the decades to achieve the most difficult of looks, men were now targeted with their very own hair care regimes. Gone were the days when men pinched their girlfriend’s shampoo; the men now had their own products. With new all-male packaging of men’s toiletries, it was now even more normal for bathrooms to be sporting a range of his products as well as hers.

But as we creep into the 21st century, a whole new man has arrived: a man that possesses hair straighteners and is proud to admit it; a man that teases, sprays, blow-dries and straightens his hair to achieve ‘that’ look and style.

With men’s styles looking even more complicated than they do today – some layers short, some longer, sweeping fringes or hairbands, even our male counterparts require a few tools of the trade to achieve their desired look.


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