Q: My question is: What is the origin(s) of spiked hair? Is it a punk rock style, or are there other origins perhaps?
A: The methods of styling hair have been as diverse and varied as the types and colors of hair themselves. Throughout history, man has
adorned his hair in various ways - sometimes with the intent to intimidate, and other times with the intent to entice. His intent
usually depends on his present circumstances.
Most stylists and trend-watchers will proclaim that “spiked hair” styles in modern society are
inspired by the “Punk” movement of the 1970’s. And for the most part, this is true. Each generation always modifies and fine-tunes the
styles they emulate from a previous era, and the styles of the punk era are inspired by styles from earlier periods of history.
The punk movement was a “statement of independence” among young people who were trying to assert
personal freedoms over what they felt was an oppressive societal attitude. By dressing and grooming themselves in such a manner as to
shock and often intimidate those persons they felt were “mainstream” (and thus part of the problem) they made themselves visible and
gained lasting notoriety. While there were many different variations on the punk theme, spiked hair was a commonly seen style because
it was unmistakably intentional. It also generally photographed well.
But spiked hairstyles aren’t such a new thing. Artistic representations of the 12 Heavenly
Generals in Buddhist culture (called the Juni Shinsho) are depicted with helmets or “spiked hair”. These representations are over a
thousand years old. (The 12 Generals were introduced into Japan in the 6th and 7th centuries, and had been established as religious iconography in India long before.)
There may be (and quite probably are) even earlier examples of cultural groups who wore their hair
in spiked styles, but these were the earliest I was able to find in such a limited time of research. The common trait among the
cultures where spiked hair was often found in historical contexts is the presence of predominantly “straight, coarse” hair which
lends itself to be styled in a spiked fashion more readily. Today, however, advances in chemical sciences have resulted in the
creation of styling products and services that can allow almost any hair type to be styled into whatever desired configuration exists.