A woman’s greatest friend is considered to be diamond, but wigs can be a woman’s most precious companion, particularly when she is having a poor hair day. Wigs are the finest accessory in a girl’s closet since they add variety and let her switch things up from time to time.
The days of conspicuous and unnatural-looking wigs are long gone. Closure wigs and lace frontals are two recent technologies that have made wigs appear more natural and pass for the wearer’s hair. But where did these miraculous lifesavers come from?
Archaeologist Ticia Verveer recently shared significant information about wigs and the history that connects them to Africa on her Twitter feed. She explores the multi-tonal wigs of the ancient Egyptian town of Thebes in detail in her fascinating series of blogs.
These wigs were constructed of human hair in two colors: a lighter shade with loose curls on top and numerous straighter seeming darker with long single braids linked underneath, revealing a two-tiered appearance. These wigs were made in a variety of designs and dated from 1550 to 1292 BC.
There have been discoveries that have led to the creation of hair curlers specifically for these wigs. Curlers were made out of little pieces of metal that were heated to a high temperature before being used, just like hair curlers are today.
It’s also worth noting that particular pomades were created to keep these hairpieces in place when worn, despite the fact that they were made of human hair and might easily fall apart. Beeswax and resin were used to make these pomades and hair treatments. Beeswax is a popular ingredient in lip balms, skincare products, and hair products. Henna, which is still used today, was also known to be used as a dye to keep the wigs’ color.
In ancient times, these wigs were not exclusively worn by ladies. Men used wigs as well, particularly at festive occasions and festivals, with men’s wigs being more extravagant than women’s wigs, which were more natural-appearing.
Further research reveals that wearing wigs was a common practice in ancient Egypt, as both women and men had shaved heads and wore them to protect their scalps from the sun’s heat. In ancient times, the elite was also distinguished by their ornate hairpieces and strong cologne.
Wigs eventually made their way to the Renaissance, where they were worn by Greek and Roman elites. Wigs were frequently employed in theatre performances throughout the Elizabethan period and were a requirement for noble family insignia.
Wigs were mentioned in various Shakespearean books, where they were referred to by their archaic term of periwigs. Due to the outbreak of syphilis at the time, peruke or powdered wigs became extremely popular, and wig-wearing gradually became a trend that most kings adopted.
Men and women alike wear wigs in a variety of styles for a variety of reasons, including costumes, hiding alopecia, baldness, or thinning hair, as a fashion accessory, as a disguise, and as a protective hairstyle.