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The most popular hairstyles from the last 300 years

womens hair

A hairstyle can define an entire decade, from the beehive in the 60’s to the perm in the 80’s, hair trends have become increasingly important in modern day culture.

Much like music, film, fashion and beauty, hair trends have evolved and continue to be influenced by other areas of society. Design and changes to fashion are the key catalysts for popular trends and all of these aspects combined help to reflect popular culture in every decade.

Hairstyles and social class
When we look back at the hairstyles in the 17th, 18th and early 19th century, the hairstyles identified the class of the individual.

Powdered wigs were primarily worn by the upper classes with the working classes opting for more simple updos. Tools like curling wands and irons were either not invented or so expensive that only the rich could get their hands on them.

Why do hair trends speed up in the 20th century?
As we moved into the 20th century, hair trends started to reflect what was happening in the world. Wars raged on and the fashion matched the need for practical and fuss free hairstyles.

Many of the early 20th century styles required very little styling and many only used a few pins to create their looks. It was only when we started to move into the 50’s and 60’s that hair began to mirror the fashion and trends of the culture, rather than the person’s social standing.

From the 50’s onward, hair tools became more widely used and affordable for all classes. This meant that women in particular, could be more creative and varied with their hairstyle choices.

Fashion design became a huge part of our cultural interests and people became obsessed with keeping up with ever changing trends in design. With the boom of Hollywood and celebrity, also came the desire to look and dress like our favourite stars.

Where are hair trends currently?
We are now at a point where everyone has access to the tools and skills to create any hair styles we desire. YouTube is filled with video tutorials to help us recreate our favourite styles and teach us how to do the most creative updos.

Current hair trends have taken the best parts of the past 100 years of hairstyles and there is no longer just one style that can define our generation. It could be argued that the current long bob and loose waves style is reflected of our need for quick, yet stylish styles that can be thrown together in the morning.

Trends will continue to evolve and change depending on fashions and celebrity style, but we have a lot more freedom and tools to help us be more creative with our styles than 100 years ago.

To give you a better idea of just how much styles have changed and developed over the last 300 years, Crown Clinic have put together this handy infographic. The graphic walks you through the different styles that were most prominent during that time and gives you a good visual guide of just how trends have changed.

history of hair styles