The Culture of Hair / by Andrea Lemonds

Around the world, societies express themselves even through their hair. Hair represents different things to various peoples. It has its own uniqueness and significance according to the culture and time in history. Sometimes we do not understand a particular culture's hair image. Sometimes we judge, sometimes we rebel, and sometimes we actually take the journey to understanding the mysterious and are never the same again. Hair culture has its generalities and quirks. Both are needed and both create conflicts in hair vision. Learning to love where you are hair-wise is a good first step.

Throughout history, hair has played a role in many aspects of life. From its importance in politics, age, gender and religious beliefs to its reflection of climate, occupation, and economics, it has made its mark. Realizing the hair connections that are throughout the ages is astounding. People have used hair in their own way and for their own purposes. According to Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years, there are four broad categories of hair characters: Fashionable, Eccentric, Individual, and Conservative. At different periods in time, these will flip-flop, as in, what is considered Fashionable in one era would be considered Eccentric in another or what is Conservative in a certain time period would be considered Individual and so on. These different hair characters are all interrelated and intertwined: "the Conservative is a modification of the Fashionable; the Individual is related to the Conservative; the Eccentric is an exaggeration of the Individual; and the line between the Eccentric and the Fashionable may be very thin." We are more connected than we realize sometimes, more relatable to each other if we just look past the surface to see our similarities that may not be present at first glance.

Sometimes culture demands things of hair that are not appropriate for generalizing to every head of hair. Sometimes we follow these hair trends to our detriment or benefit depending on our hair. The ebb and flow, the cycles of hair come and go more times than we know. The past does repeat itself in the present just in a "modern" way. How we view or who we allow to influence our view of beauty often dictates our hair culture. At the end of all this, I have found that nothing is off limits when it comes to our hair, whether influenced by our present culture or the past or a vision of things to come.