The History of the Human Hair Piece
 The History of the Human Hair Piece

The use of hair pieces started in ancient Egypt. The earliest known use of a toupee was found in a tomb near the ancient Predynastic Capital of Egypt, Hierakonpolis. The mens hair pieces  tomb and its contents date to 3200-3100 B.C.E.

It has been stated in history books that the ancient Egyptians wore wigs to shield their hairless heads from the sun, and also to protect their hair from the bleaching effects of the sun. They used beeswax and resin to keep their wigs in place. Wigs were also used as an everyday fashion in other ancient cultures including the Asyrians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. For the Romans, in particular, wigs were often made with hair from slaves.

The use of human hair in wigs dates back to 2700 B.C.E in the Egyptian wigs. These were rare, however, and substitutes using palm leaf fibers and wool were much more commonly used. Wigs in ancient Egypt were worn by both males and females. They were used to protect their heads from the sun, and from vermin. The styles of wigs, and materials they were made of, were used to denote rank, social status, and religious piety. Women's wigs were adorned with braids and gold, hair rings and ivory ornaments to make them more stylish than men's wigs. The Egyptians who had wigs that were more elaborate and involved had the highest social status.

After the Roman Empire fell, the use of wigs was diminished. When the Christian influences emerged during the mid-evil era, fashion became more plain. By the Middle Ages (1200-1400 C.E.), the difficult times said goodbye to the use of wigs. Women were required to have their heads covered, and beauty became irrelevant. The feminine hair style once again regained importance as women again started showing their heads at the start of the Renaissance period. (1400-1600) Instead of covering their heads, women took pride in their appearance, and adorned their hairstyles and coiffures (wig fixtures on the tops of their heads) with lustrous veils and sparking jewels. Once again, society saw the importance in women's wigs and fashion. In the 16th Century, wigs were brought back into use, and were used to compensate for hair loss, or to improve personal appearance. The biggest reason, however, for bringing wigs back, was because people were very unhygienic, and they had a problem with head lice. They would shave their heads to keep lice away, and wear wigs which were much more easily de-loused.

Among the reasons of the common people, the revival of the wig was largely influenced by Royalty. Queen Elizabeth I of England wore a red wig, which was worn in a "Roman" Style of tight elaborate curls. King Louis XIII of France who reigned from 1601 - 1643, started wearing wigs in 1624 when he began to prematurely bald. Thus was the start of wearing wigs for hair loss. His son and successor, Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) largely promoted his fathers wig wearing, which contributed to its spread in European and European-influenced countries.

In 1660, periwigs for men were introduced into the English-speaking world. These wigs were shoulder length or longer, and imitated the long hair that had become fashionable among men since the 1620's. The English court quickly picked up the use of periwigs and it became increasingly popular.

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