Hair fashion is as diverse as the global economy. Men and women around the world can be found sporting traditional and modern interpretations of hairstyles. Some popular hairstyles are quite old, dating back to the early 1800s.
This hairstyle originated from members of Jamaica’s religious Rastafarian movement and is also associated with reggae music. Rastafarians value the Nazarite vow from the Bible, which holds that long locks are a sign of wisdom and maturity. Jamaican natives’ naturally curly African hair, when allowed to grow and mat together into coils, form this recognizable dreadlocks hairdo. Famous dreadlock-wearing personalities include Bob Marley and Whoopi Goldberg.
This is an ancient, traditional hairstyle from the continent of Africa, where the oldest evidence of its existence was found in clay sculptures from the Nok civilization of Nigeria. Hair is braided tightly into tiny cornrows all the way to the scalp. The hairstyle has become popular among those who aren’t of African descent, such as football player David Beckham.
One famous traditional Japanese hairstyle belongs to the geisha, traditional female high-culture performing and entertainment artists who wear white makeup, red-painted lips and origami-butterfly-like hair buns. Though the geisha are no longer as prevalent in Japanese society as they were in the 1800s, appropriating their look is still popular with local and foreign tourists, who pay makeup artists and photographers to outfit them as geishas for a day.
What’s more popular in Japan are hairstyles that resemble Japanese anime or animated film characters. These hairstyles form part of the Tokyo look sported by both men and women and feature layered or asymmetrical locks that can look either wispy or razor-sharp.
Orthodox Jewish men strictly follow a commandment in the Torah that they should never cut or round of the payos or sideburns on their heads. Instead, sideburns are grown long and curled, hanging down the sides of their faces. This Jewish hairstyle isn’t restricted to Israel and can be found in orthodox Jewish communities around the world.
The male followers of the Sikh religion from the Punjab area of India are distinguished by the shape of their dastaar or turban. Sikhism requires both male and female followers to allow their hair to grow long naturally as a sign of respect for God’s creation. For the men, hair must be combed twice a day, tied into a knot and covered with the turban. This is also practiced faithfully by Sikhs who live in different countries.
A long curly mane is part of a particular feminine look called the Botticellian beauty. Italian painter Sandro Botticelli is famous for painting images of women with long, relaxed curls framing their serene faces, often partially tied back or loosely braided. Though this look is associated with the Italian Renaissance, long, curly tendrils of hair remain a popular hairstyle for women at weddings and fashion runways all over the world.
References and ResourcesListVerse: 25 Hairstyles of the Last 100 Years
The Daily Telegraph (UK): Iran’s Islamic Hairstyle Catalogue
SikhNet: The Gift of Dastar
Culturally-Situated Design Tools: History of Cornrow Braiding
Japan Trend Shop: Tokyo Men’s Hairstyles
ResourcesLife in Italy: Sandro Botticelli
CosmoLearning/Sephora: Venus Envy – How to Look like a Botticelli Painting
The Village Salon: DevaCurl – Curly Q&A
The Sydney Morning Herald: Entering the World of the Geisha
Beauty & the Bath: Geisha Hairdos – Traditional Beauty