Posted on March 11 2019
As a fellow wig wearer, I know it can be easy to forget the history behind the wigs we wear in our day-to-day lives. But wigs have been around for centuries! And all the norms we associate with wigs weren’t quite so normal all that long ago. So read on to learn a few cool facts you may not yet know about wigs!
Ancient Egyptian Wigs History
While the exact origin of wigs is unclear, it’s well-documented that ancient Egyptian men and women frequently shaved their heads to survive the desert heat. Slaves, however, were not allowed to shave or wear wigs at all. Those who belonged to the upper class would wear wigs to express their style, class, and reputation.
Aside from establishing class, wigs gave these men and women a little shade and scalp protection from the hot sun. Depending on your wealth and class level, Egyptian wigs were either made of human hair, wool, or palm tree fibers. These strands were then mixed with beeswax to keep the wig in place. And just like today, most Egyptian men still kept their wigs shorter than those women!
The French Made Them Big(ger)
Jumping ahead to 1600s France, wigs were still quite the status symbol. The bigger the wig (or “periwig,” as it was first termed), the better—leading to the familiar term “bigwig.” Only the upper class could afford to have and maintain such large, complex wigs that were often filled with various ornaments like bows. One of Marie Antoinette’s infamous wigs supposedly featured a large ship! So if you’re ever worried that your wig doesn’t look natural, just remember that back in the day, unnatural was totally in.
Men Wore Wigs (More Than Women!)
Aside from women in the aristocracy, women hardly wore wigs for most of human history. Many men had to wear a wig for their chosen profession. Others simply wanted to follow the given model of a wide variety of male monarchs. Today, as I’m sure you already know, it’s completely flipped. Ever since the resurgence of wigs during the 1950s, out of all wig-wearers, women are nine times more likely to wear wigs than men!
Wigs In 2019
Most wigs made today take about eight weeks to create! The hair used for wigs is generally sourced from Russia, China, and India. Once gathered, the hair must be untangled, washed, dried, and dyed. Afterwards, high quality wigs are carefully sewn with each strand hand-tied into a cap. Blonde hair is generally more expensive than any other color—so for natural blondes out there, just know your hair strands are worth their weight in gold!