Hairstyles Throughout the Ages

Here at DHI Manchester we know that hair styles go through phases, much like fashion, and so throughout history there have been some interesting styles in place. From the long locks of the Greeks to the skinheads of the 80s, it is safe to say that hair has undergone an interesting transformation over the years.

So, what were the hairstyles of those that came before us?

Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks went through two stages of fashionable hair. The first was a long style, one that the men of Sparta maintained for centuries after it went out of fashion in the rest of Greece. As boys, they cut it short to signify their lack of training, but as they became more accomplished soldiers it grew longer and they called it ‘the cheapest of ornaments’. Before battle they would comb their locks thoroughly and dress it with care, it seems that both men and women of Sparta wore their hair in a knot above the crowns of their head.

Later, the shorter fashion became more prominent. Men would also wear beards unless they were soldiers. Gold powder was often sprinkled into the hair of men and women as a form of decoration.

Ancient China

In Ancient China, hairstyles were dependent upon the status and age of the individual. For women, it also depended upon her marital status. Hair was typically extremely long in Ancient China for both men and women, as it was considered disrespectful to cut something that had was a gift from your parents. Unmarried women and young girls would wear their hair long and braided, whilst a married woman would wear their hair tied up with loose curls to show she was wedded.

Men, on the other hand, were expected to shave the front of their heads and style the rest of the hair (uncut) in braids, tied back with a piece of silk. A tradition that was only broken as late as 1922 when the last emperor trimmed his ponytail.


During the period known as the ‘Middle Ages,’ there was a strong Catholic contingency throughout Europe. Men would wear their hair down, parted in the middle, accompanied by a large, bushy, beard. Typically, those with a lower status had to wear their hair shorter than that of the reigning King. As the period developed, men also began to shave their beards and began to groom their long hair vigorously.

This was so popular that Pope Gregory VII banned beards and moustaches altogether for the clergy in 1073. Although, slowly they came back into fashion.

Women would wear their hair extremely long, sometimes past their knees, in two braids. As the period developed, especially in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, female hair was considered to be erotic and so veils and nets became popular to cover it.


The Elizabethan period saw a change in popularity in favour of shorter hair, for both men and women. Queen Elizabeth II set the trend for women, as they coloured their hair red and attempted to emulate her paleness by using an abundance of white powder. This white powder was white lead, which was later discovered to be poisonous!

Men began to simply cut their hair shorter and wear shorter beards. Apparently, because of Francis I of France accidentally singing his hair in a fire. Men began to emulate his shorter locks in order to save his embarrassment.


In popular culture, the Victorian era is remembered as one of ‘restraint.’ Modest, untainted beauty was popular and as such, you would find little makeup on Victorian ladies. Although the upper class did not abandon their vanity completely. Hair followed this same stance on demureness.

Women would wear hair slicked back with oil, with small curls at either side. Later in the period, elaborate curls or knots would be added to the back of the hair, but it would remain a rather subdued style. Men, on the other hand, tended to keep their hair relatively short and swept to one side in a formal fashion. Macassar oil was popularly used in order to keep it in this neat style. Facial hair was kept in check, with trimmed moustaches, sideburns or the occasional short beard being popular.

Roaring 20s

The Roaring Twenties was a period of rebellion, particularly against the puritan ideals of the Victorian period. So, hair became much different compared to its previous incarnation. Women began to wear their hair in ‘bobs’ alongside their shortened, flapper-style dresses. This waved style was to show the growing freedom of women.

Men wore their hair parted to the side or middle, slicked back with brilliantine – a hair oil that acted as perfume, shiner and something to hold hair into place. Even more restrained moustaches became common in the period – akin to the pencil moustache.

Of course, that then leads us to the modern day. Where style has become a close-cut, slick look that can slowly morph to a mop top before being reigned in again. Of course, there are also a variety of other outlier styles, but in the modern day, it is often a case of personal preference regarding the way you want to wear your luxurious locks. The case can be made that the same is true of the hairstyles of yore, but the styles in this blog represent the general style. And don’t they look fabulous!

Do you want to stop the process of hair loss in its tracks? If you would like to know more, then please don’t hesitate to contact us. Give us a call on 0161 839 3769 and one of our friendly members of staff will be more than happy to help.