19th Century HairstylesQ: I need to know what hairstyle they wore in the 1800s. I am doing a bride and cannot find a book with any pictures in it. Can you please help me? Thank You.
A: Well, in the 19th Century (1801 ad-1900 ad), most women had long hair. Waist-length tresses were not uncommon, and longer hair was easily found due to the fact that cutting women's hair was something done only as a necessity. Long hair was considered a mark of femininity.
Young women and girls were often seen wearing their long tresses in braids, or long cascading ringlet curls. Older women often wore their hair braided and coiled atop their heads or puffed up into a pompadour in front with coiled braids at the back, French-style twists pinned loosely along the nape and crown, or puffed hair that is wound into a loose bun at the crown area. These styles would be accented with wispy ringlets at the temples and in front of the ears, or with pin curls at the sides.
Bangs, when worn, were typically uniformly cut horizontal lines across the forehead just above the brow, and if worn by older women could often be seen curled into tight, kinky coils.
The best way to understand the looks available is to remember the styling options. There were no hot rollers, curling irons or blow dryers. Combs, brushes, and rag rollers were the tools most commonly found, and hair products consisted of waxes, pomades, and lotions. The most common styling techniques were finger waves, pin curls, braids and teasing or ruffing (teasing with a brush).
I did find a website that offers some photos from the mid-to-late 1800s of women and their hairstyles. You can see samples of the styles here. These photos should give you a good idea of the types of styles commonly seen in the period, and will allow you to get some ideas for an original hairstyle that should fit the style of the wedding.
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