The hairstyles of ancient greek women

Written by johanna t. baker
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The hairstyles of ancient greek women
Women's hairstyles of ancient Greece were often functional yet elegant. (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Though in a time that seems distant and long passed, the ladies of ancient Greece were as concerned with the latest hairstyles as women are today. As civilisation began to flourish during the classical era, the more privileged people of society began to show a stronger interest in fashion and appearance. Those of lower status inevitably attempted to follow suite.

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Early Hairstyles

Before the rise of the aristocratic society that would soon come to dominate the face of Athens, the women of ancient Greece wore long, thick hair. Some women wrapped a cloth around their head to create a headband and prevent the hair from falling into the face. Others simply let their hair grown out naturally. Hair was sometimes tightly bound when drying to create a crimped look when untied.


Because the women of ancient Greece grew their hair so long, up-do styles that pulled the hair up and back became quite popular. Hair was often pulled back and twisted into buns or knots. It was not uncommon to let a few tresses hang down over the shoulders or face. Materials and accessories of every kind were used to decorate the hair. Women used expensive fabrics to tie their hair back and often pinned it with pearls and golden clasps.


Braided hair eventually became a dominate style in Athenian society. The aristocratic women of these times would have servants or slaves meticulously braid their hair into many fine strands. The braided hair was sometimes pulled back into a low-hanging bun that rested along the back of the neck. Others used their long braids to create elaborate designs that rested on top of the head. The braids were often decorated with lavish accessories.

Short Hair

Although short, curly locks were popular among men in ancient Greece, short hair on women was not so popular. As a sign of their low status, slave women, and sometimes servants, were forced to cut their hair to chin length. While short hair did prove popular for all women during a very brief period in ancient Greece, this fashion quickly fell out of style. Additionally, it was common for widows to cut their hair to chin-length when mourning.

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