I have always loved seeing health and beauty tools/appliances as they've progressed over the years. Beauty and wellness is an age old obsession, one that we aren't likely to get over any time soon. Not that it's a bad thing to desire health OR beauty, but the lengths men have gone to in order to achieve greater heights in these respects are very interesting to me. Some tools, like the permanant waving get-up pictured at the head of this entry, seem so ludicrously bulky and extravagant. We can only imagine how expensive that must have been to manufacture, much less the cost that would have been involved in having it done regularly. But as hilarious as such things might be to us now, we are presently faced with even more options than ever before, when it comes to hair tools and devices.
Here are a few little fun bits about hair tools, over the centuries, as researched by me:
In Ancient Egypt, ladies and gentlemen utilized many accessories such as the gorgeous comb,shown below.
But other than accessorizing, there was little need for hair tools. Braiding was a principal means of styling the hair, for both men and women, and were accessorized with gold circlets and the aforementioned combs, as well as extraordinarily carved pins that served to hold and beautify the coiffure.
Hollywood depictions of the hairstyles sported in this time are probably somewhat close to the actual look of them, but also really bring home the excessive nature of the heavy head dresses and accessories that were worn by the royal folk.
The tools used for creating the elaborately conceived styles common in ancient Athens and Rome were likewise very simple, with even more basic accessorizing.
Flowers were common accessories, as were combs and decorative ivory pins and bodkins.
Ancient China and Japan also used bone and ivory pins and sticks to style their hair. Hair ornaments were painstakingly crafted and
placed into elaborate rolls and curls to accentuate their volume and 'crownlike' appearance.
From the 14th to the 17th century, excessive behaviors in styling were becoming commonplace in Europe. The aristocratic women and men went from shaved hairlines (to create a broader forehead, very much in fashion in the renaissance), to elaborate headdresses and braids, to pompous wigs and curls.
Curls were also popular using the Papillote method described here. The method works well as a cold-set, even for 1940's pin curled styles.
The Victorian Era saw a return to simplicity and less extravagance. Hair was long and more simply done, using braids and simple curling methods. It culminated in a love of 'sausage-like' curls that gave way eventually to the classically styled bobs of the 1920's and 30's, when women wanted to showcase their independance and modern sex appeal.
As curls became more and more a part of the elegant look of the day, more advancements in curling techniques and products were made. Although we may not recognize some of them at first glance, almost all of the tools used for styling during this era have a modern counterpart. That's one of the most interesting things about styling history, to me, the way that almost everything 'comes back', even from the most obscure and 'gimmicky' looking items. Here are a few things that refuse to quit, because frankly, they still work.
Bobby Pins:These were conceived in the 20th century, principally for holding a classic bobbed style in place. They have hardly changed, as you know.
Hair 'Rolling' Tools:
Pin Curling Tools:
In short, we've come a long way, baby. But then again, we haven't.
*This post is sponsored by Vintage Hair, the creator of the modern sculpture pin curler. Visit the website here to purchase your own, as well as other great vintage styling goodies.