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hairdressing

hairdressing Whether ornate or simple, hairdressing has been employed by nearly every society from ancient time to the present. In 400 bc some Greek women dyed their hair; in the Roman period, dyeing and bleaching were common. Japanese women used lacquer (a precursor of modern-day hair spray) to secure their elaborate coiffures. Whatever the style, there have been groups of people who made their living and built their reputations by cutting, shaving, curling, and styling the hair.

Hairdressing is a profession that has appealed to both male and female practitioners. While in earlier periods, male hairdressers (often called barbers) mainly worked with male hair and women worked with women, during modern times, such distinctions have become less rigid. It is, however, still rare to find hairdressers who are willing to transgress racial boundaries in the styling of hair. Barbershops and beauty parlours remain amongst the most segregated of public spaces. Nonetheless, whatever the race or sex of the participant, a first trip to the hairdresser is often viewed as a rite of passage. A boy's first haircut is an event, a non-biological marker of movement from babyhood into childhood. A girl's first trip to the hairdresser marks her entrance from childhood into young womanhood. For both, the place where they encounter the hairdresser introduces them into what may become a significant social sphere in their lives. Barbershops and beauty salons have historically served as a primary site for gender-specific interaction, support, and nurturing.

Prior to the first few decades of the twentieth century, career choices were limited for all women, but particularly so for poor and migrant women, and those of ethnic minorities. Hairdressing has been a particularly attractive career option for such women because of the ease with which one may set up a business. A reputation as a sought-after hairdresser could lead to a career that was performed in the home, if one so chose, or in the more public setting of a shop, if resources allowed. In either case, hairdressing could support a family at monetary levels significantly higher than derived from domestic, factory, or agricultural work. Hairdressing did not require college training and one could have some control over working hours — making it an ideal occupation for women with small children to raise.

Beginning with the crude curling iron used by women of ancient Rome in creating their elaborate hair styles, hairdressing came to be associated with a variety of technological accoutrements, ranging from simple combs and hairpins to hold the hair in place to complex electrical appliances for drying and grooming the hair. In addition, chemical processes were used to tint, wave, curl, straighten, and condition the hair. By the twentieth century, hairdressing itself and the manufacture of materials and equipment had become an occupation and practical art of large proportions.

Noliwe Rooks


See also body decoration.

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hairdressing

hairdressing, arranging of the hair for decorative, ceremonial, or symbolic reasons. Primitive men plastered their hair with clay and tied trophies and badges into it to represent their feats and qualities. Among women, a band to keep the hair from the eyes was the forerunner of the fillet. Much early hairdressing is traditional, as in the feather tufts or stiffened coronet of some primitive peoples, the queue of the Chinese, the tonsure of ecclesiastics, the flowing locks of the maid, and the bound or cut tresses of the wife. From ancient times hair has been dyed, bleached, curled, braided, waxed and oiled, hennaed, powdered, perfumed, cut, shaved, enhanced with false hair, covered with a wig, concealed by nets and veils, or adorned with beads, jewels, pins, combs, feathers, ribbons, and flowers, natural and artificial. In the world of fashion, hairdressing developed as an art during the Middle Ages, when an appropriate coiffure became as important as the proper costume. Since that time, styles, especially for women, have been created and re-created, from long to short, from the high pompadour or use of chignons to the close bob, in a repetitive cycle. In the 1960s and 1970s hair styles for men in the United States and Western Europe changed dramatically from short fashions, popular since the late 18th cent., to varying degrees and styles of long hair, often accompanied by beards, moustaches, and long sideburns. Hairdressers, especially those employed by motion picture companies, have become personally renowned for the styles they create. During the 1980s styles such as cornrows, rattails, dreadlocks, and punk spikes migrated from their ethnic and cultural associations to mainstream culture. The most popular styles in the early 1990s were the chin-length bob for women and the fade for men.

See J. S. Cox, An Illustrated Dictionary of Hairdressing and Wigmaking (1984).

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hairdresser

hair·dress·er / ˈhe(ə)rˌdresər/ • n. a person who cuts and styles hair as an occupation. DERIVATIVES: hair·dress·ing / -ˌdresing/ n.

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hairdresser

hairdresseramasser, gasser, macassar, Makassar, Mombasa, Nasser •relaxer, waxer •salsa •cancer, romancer •piazza • necromancer • madrasa •Kinshasa, Lhasa, passer, Tarrasa, Vaasa •advancer, answer, chancer, dancer, enhancer, lancer, prancer •tazza •addresser, aggressor, assessor, compressor, confessor, contessa, depressor, digresser, dresser, guesser, intercessor, lesser, Odessa, oppressor, possessor, professor, represser, successor, transgressor, Vanessa •Alexa, flexor, vexer •Elsa, Kielce •censer, censor, dispenser, fencer, Mensa, sensor, Spenser •seltzer •Faenza, Henze •indexer • hairdresser • predecessor •microprocessor, processor •acer, bracer, chaser, debaser, embracer, facer, macer, mesa, pacer, placer, racer, spacer, tracer •Ailsa • steeplechaser •greaser, Lisa, Nerissa, piecer, Raisa, releaser •pizza

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hairdressing

hairdressing •waxing •passing, surpassing •Lancing, Lansing •blessing, distressing, dressing, Lessing, pressing, unprepossessing •hairdressing •bracing, casing, facing, lacing, placing, self-effacing, spacing, tracing •steeplechasing • interfacing •unceasing • Gissing • unconvincing •unpromising •enticing, icing •self-sacrificing • crossing •kick-boxing •rejoicing, voicing •conveyancing • embarrassing •videoconferencing •dashing, flashing, lashing, thrashing •square-bashing • tongue-lashing •lynching, unflinching •garnishing • furnishing • ravishing •Cushing •Flushing, gushing, unblushing •inrushing • onrushing

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