Hair in Different Cultures

Hair has different social and cultural significance in different cultures.


In some cultures it is very important. Throughout history different cultures have used hair to symbolize different status or conduct messages. It can be a part of identity and spiritual meaning.

Hair was very important in daily life in Egypt for instance. The way the servants and slaves adorned their hair was different to the nobles’ way of wearing their hair. People used to shave their head, and wear wigs instead but baldness was not a preference.

Various American Indian tribes had special hair styles for instance the Mohawks shaved their heads when going to war.

In the Sikhism belief, there is a practice to allow one’s hair to grow naturally called the kesh. They value body hair as well as scalp hair.

Buddhist monks shave their heads as part of their belief.

Some cultures ask for devotion and women who have lost their husbands wear certain hair styles or they left it unkempt.

During the Victorian age, jewelry was made from lost ones’ hair.

In cultures where blonde hair is popular, hair bleaching was used. Even in Ancient Rome. According to the Bible a woman with an abundance of hair as being given glory.

In ancient times, some cultures viewed long hair as more preferable in women, and as something that is used as coverage. Some other cultures view male long hair as noble, or rebelling against the society, some others think men should keep their hair short, and what is short or long changes from culture to culture.

Through the ages, different hair styles and even wigs and hair pieces have become popular, however, has never ceased to be an important subject.

Short, long, shaved, side shaved, dreadlocks, Mohawk, Afro, ponytail, hair up or hair down, wigs, accessories, different colors and style, differences between social and religious groups, a sign of submission or rebellion – hair has always meant something. Nowadays, thanks to developments in hair science, we know more about hair, and the 2000s marked a combination of different styles. Hair is still socially important, and is a natural accessory to express one’s self.


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