Information and Solutions for Men and Women

History and Types of Wigs and Hair Pieces

Wigs come in many different types, colors, and level of quality.

Thinning hair is a not an uncommon problem, and can be a real source of low-self-esteem in those that it affects. Faced by both men and women, hair loss can be caused by many things, including hormonal changes, genetic predisposition, thyroid conditions, high stress levels, damaging treatments, some prescription drugs, and the habit of twisting or pulling the hair. While there are many treatments that may offer a slowing or reversal of hair loss, at times we may find ourselves needing to purchase a wig or a hair piece. Wigs are used temporarily and permanently, and for both purely cosmetic purposes and medical hair loss reasons. Regardless of the reason, a hair piece allows you to instantly and temporarily change your hair style, and can make the stress and embarrassment of hair loss an opportunity to explore a daring new style or look. Luckily, both science and style have come together to fashion a variety of incredibly realistic-looking good-quality wigs and hair pieces that are both aesthetically-pleasing and comfortable for the user.

Hair Regrowth is Possible

A Brief History of Wigs

Human beings have always had a love affair with hair. In fact, we have been creating dynamic wigs and hair pieces since the 4th century BC, for a variety of reasons:

  • Wigs were a symbol of high social status in ancient Egypt and 16th through 18th century Europe and North America. 269
  • In France, wigs were used in the past to avoid social stigma from superstitions about red hair. 269
  • In ancient Rome, by law prostitutes had to bleach their hair blonde or wear blonde wigs. 269
  • The Egyptians elite often used wigs for cosmetic reasons. Even the soldiers are depicted as wearing short curly wigs. Other than kilts or loincloths and sandals, this is all they have on. Queens are often shown wearing heavy tripartite wigs (symbols of royalty), and were buried with them. Interestingly, Nefertiti was the only queen to be portrayed as wearing a wig. Some depictions show her with her head shaved, others wearing a cap or large, flattened top crown.270

It is interesting to note that during times when wearing a wig was a sign of high social status, rejecting wigs historically became a symbol of revolution in both the United States and France. 269

There are a wide variety of hairpieces and wigs to choose from. Some can be incorporated into existing hair and simply give the user a fuller-haired look, whereas other pieces are full wigs that are attached directly to the scalp. Hair pieces can take the form of toupees, full wigs, hair weaves, extensions and partial hair pieces.

Historically, wigs have been made from a variety of interesting materials:

  • Emu feathers (Australian Aborigines) 271
  • Sponge (Sudanese Azante) 271
  • Plant fiber and black sheep wool (Egypt) 269
  • Silk threads (Great Britain) 269

Modern hairpieces are made from human hair, synthetic hair, or a combination of both human hair and acrylic hair. 272

Extensions and Weaves

Pieces of natural-looking synthetic or real hair braided or sewn into your own hair, or glued to your scalp, by a stylist can add to your existing hair and can be washed and styled easily. However, use with caution if you chemically relax your hair, as the combination has been known to lead to additional hair loss. It is crucial to have a reputable professionally-trained stylist integrate these into your hair to avoid any additional damage. 273

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed physician. If you require any medical related advice, contact your physician promptly. Information presented on this website is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard medical advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.