The hippie movement began in the 1960s as rebellion against social and political conformity. Hippies expressed their nonconformity in the way they wore their clothes and their hair. Hippies expressed a dislike for the product-drenched hairstyles of the '50s and '60s and, instead embraced a natural approach to hair. The hippie philosophy of hair carried over to the more socially embraced natural-look of the '70s.
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Long and Natural
The most recognisable feature of a hippie hair style is the length. Both men and women grew their hair long, shunning society's self-imposed fashion trends of high-and-tight hair cuts for men and shoulder-length bobs for women. Bangs were an optional hair choice, but most hippies favoured an all-over long hair style. By the '70s, long hair became part of the mainstream fashion for men and women no longer imposing the hippie stereotype.
Hair Braids as Styling Tools and Accessories
Since hippies despised styling products and tools such as hairspray and curling irons, those with hopelessly straight hair embraced alternative methods of creating wavy hair. Whether it was one large braid or several small braids, a woman braided wet hair and allowed it to dry overnight or for a whole day. Then, the woman removed the braid, lightly finger combed the hair, and left her hair in its free-flowing, wavy state.
In addition to creating wavy styles, women braided sections of hair at the temples to wrap across the head as a natural head band. Alternatively, one braid at either temple could be pulled back and bound at the back of the head.
Unlike the mainstream headbands that bound hair away from the face, hippies adopted headbands that encircled the forehead. These headbands were tied at the back of the head and often held in place by pins. Long hair flowed freely beneath the headbands enhancing the juxtaposition between hippie and societal hairstyles.
Headbands could be beaded, braided leather, or ribbons. As part of the hippie headband movement, bandannas also became fashionable among hippies.
The go-natural philosophy not only embodied the hippie movement, but the Civil Rights Movement as well. African Americans and curly-haired Caucasians alike set their tight curls free. Using a hair pick to separate curls and create volume, men and women sported fluffy, bubble-like hairdos instead of taming their locks with short hair cuts, chemical straighteners and oily hair products.
Though free of chemical products and heated hair tools, hippies did not leave their hair unadorned. In addition to the hippie headbands, hippies wore flowers-- both real and artificial -- pinned or braided into their hair. Women wove ribbons into their braids or tied them loosely among free flowing hair.
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