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Brief History of Wigs and the Famous People That Wore Them

Aug 26, 2008
Wigs have been known and used for many centuries. Many noblemen have tried this great headpiece. Even in the ancient Egyptian civilization, wigs were already into good use. Most ancient Egyptians wore wigs to protect their shaved heads from the heat of the sun. Other ancient civilizations who wore wigs are the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks, and the Romans. This headpiece traces back its roots to the ancient Western civilizations.

The Royals and Other Important People who Wore Wigs

When the Roman Empire fell, the use of wigs was also forgotten and it was only during the 16th century that people started to revive them. During this era, wigs were already worn as a way to improve one's appearance and also to cover baldness. The conditions during that time was also quite unhygienic, hence, people shaved their heads and started using wigs. It was much easier to remove lice from artificial hair than to get rid of them the natural way.

The many royals who used wigs made great contribution to their revival. The famous red wig of Queen Elizabeth I of England was styled in Roman curls. France's King Louis XIII and King Louis XIV were the first two men to wear wigs in the 16th century. King Louis XIV (also known as the Sun King) was a dictator who told men of his time how they should dress and what their taste should be. He was an extremely fashion-conscious king who revered extravagance and elaborate styles.

It was during Charles II's time that periwigs were introduced to the English-speaking civilizations. The wigs that were then in use were long (starting from shoulder length to longer styles). The 1600s was a century where men sported long hair, not because they grew their hairs but because they had their heads shaved and they soon started wearing periwigs. Anyone who had a significant social rank back in the 1600s wore a wig.

It was in the 18th century that men and women's wigs started to be powdered. Wig powder comprises of starch, lavender and orris root. The powder was scented with orange flower. Sometimes, colorful wigs were also worn such as the violet ones, the pink, blue and yellow versions.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, wigs were worn mainly to hide baldness among old women. This is why not too many people viewed wearing wig as fashionable during these centuries.

Modern Uses for Wigs

Nowadays, wigs are practically worn by people from all walks of life and for different reasons. There are many reasons why modern people choose to wear wigs instead of a natural hairstyle:

* Chemotherapy and radiation can cause hair loss among cancer patients and there are now custom-made wigs for people like these.

* To hide baldness especially among women

* Famous celebrities like Cher and Dolly Parton have popularized wigs to show versatility.

* During Halloween, there are rubber wigs that can be worn that can be used together with scary costumes. There are also wigs for specific holidays and festivities.

* Some actors use wigs to portray roles in films or theatrical plays.

There are many other practical uses to wigs and these can be indispensable to some people.
About the Author
The author of this article is Benedict Yossarian. For human hair wigs and hair pieces advice Benedict recommends Wig Trendz and for hair loss treatments Benedict recommends www.londonhairclinic.co.uk
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