Medieval hairstyles would reveal a woman's social status, with lower classes wearing their hair with simple, shoulder-length or chin-length styles. Upper classes of women often wore long, loose curls. Hair could be as long as hip-length. Noble women frequently wore bonnets that covered their hair completely or wore their hair braided with ribbons or gold beading. Grooming maids often braided these elaborate styles, which could be worn for days. Three of the most popular styles were a bun, a Dutch crown and a four-braid weave.
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The bun style requires that hair be divided into two sections, one on each side of the head. Taking one of these sections, add ribbons or beads for the third strand necessary for braiding. These three strands can then be braided and fastened at the end. Do this to both sides of your head and then twist the braid into a bun, wrapping further ribbons or other ornamental strands over the finished piece.
The Dutch crown requires hair longer than shoulder-length and a bit of skill. The beginning Dutch braid is made with three strands, the right and left strands passing under the third or middle strand. Braid horizontally, not vertically, and continue the braid around the head, picking hair up from the top and bottom as you braid. When finished, wind the braid as if a crown around the top of the head, tucking in the ends for a polished look.
This style is not a braid, but a weave, and can be somewhat difficult to do alone. Therefore, noble women often required grooming maids for this choice. Hair is divided into a minimum of four strands and woven much as you would with fabric strips. Take the leftmost strand and pass it over then under the remaining strands repeatedly. Take the next leftmost strand and pass it under and over below the row you have just finished. Continue until all hair is woven and tie off.
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