Recent studies reveal that haircutting and hairstyling were practiced in some form as early as the glacial age. The Egyptians were the first to nurture beauty in an extravagant fashion, and became well-versed in the art of makeup and hairdressing. The ancient Egyptians were also the first to use cosmetics as part of their personal beautification habits. The 19th century was the era of research and innovation that saw many changes in the field of hair care. In the 20th century, hairstyling began to follow trends, and soon became available to the masses that could then choose their styles based on their individual needs and desires.
The 1950s women enjoyed short, but very sharp bubble cut perms or new youthful ponytails which later on changed to top-knot buns and sleek French pleat twists by the turn of the decade.
As the 1960s wore on, , extravagant human hair pieces allowed wearers to have their hair dressed in coils, or as we think of such styles today, dressed as an updo. Complex hair styles were definitely out. Women were once again moving into the workplace and needed to adopt a more achievable style for a day-time look. Short, back-combed hairstyles were favored that could be quickly styled and held in place with hair spray, softened with a long, feminine fringe.
Long, free and natural, best described hair in the 1970s. Tresses of free-falling curls, soft partings and long fringes were complemented by bronzed skin and glossy lips, soft tailored clothes and the ultimate aim was soft, feminine and romantic. Women adorned wigs blatantly both fake and real in the early 70s.
The “Age of Excess”, otherwise known as the 1980 saw less constraints and more freedom of choice in styles and trends. This era saw immaculate women with strong tailored clothes and meticulously groomed hairstyles. A good hairdresser was an essential part of this woman’s life. The 80s was a time of blow-dried bouncy hairstyles. This woman’s hairstyle reflected ‘control’, a busy work life and a hectic social life.
During the 1990s hair styles and beauty were constantly changing and pretty much anything was acceptable. A huge fad was the "Rachel" haircut, named after the cut worn by Jennifer Aniston on the sitcom Friends in her role as Rachel, which was long and sleek with longer length layers, a ‘grown-out’ fringe and framed with highlights around the face. Messed-up hair was very much in, whether long or short with multi-toned highlights. Also extremely popular were the short, choppy hair styles.
Hair styles today have become more adventurous and most clients have an “anything goes” attitude when styling their hair. Short styles, long voluminous hair and sleek looks can be achieved with the extensive variety of hair styling products that are available now. Women's hairstyles today can be defined as been taken from the retro period of fashion.