Edwardian Hairstyles

Written by sarah york
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Edwardian Hairstyles
Luxurious Tresses. (wood comb image by joanna wnuk from Fotolia.com)

Edwardian hairstyles were loose, romantic, and feminine. A woman's delicate features were thought to be enhanced by her hair. One defining characteristic of Edwardian hairstyles was volume. Full-bodied hair was piled higher at night, or for special occasions. Another characteristic was curls or waves. Hair could be artificially waved or filled out with curly extensions. Hairstyles were designed to complement and support the variety of broad, plumed, steep and complicated hats that capped Edwardian fashion.

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Gibson Girl

Gibson Girl is the classic Edwardian hairstyle. In popular culture, it is still emblematic of the Edwardian "look." The Gibson Girl was a voluminous updo from which strands of hair fell. Hair was gathered on top of the head into a sort of loose bun that 'mushroomed' out at the sides. Women often used "rats," a form of padding, and wrapped their hair over it to gain greater volume.

Psyche Knot

The Psyche Knot was a simple style of up-swept hair knotted at the back of the head. Essentially, the knot was a ponytail wrapped and tucked into a bun and secured with pins. This flattering hairstyle reflected the delicate femininity of the period and emphasised the face.

Marcel Wave

Francois Marcel revolutionised hairstyles for women with his wave iron. The hot iron offered women a deep permanent wave all over their heads without fully curling the hair. The effect was like ripples of hair. The Marcel style was wildly popular by 1908, and was especially suited to shorter hair. The iron was eventually produced in four sizes.

Nestlé wave

The Nestlé wave helped to secure the Edwardian craze for waves and curls. In 1906, Charles Nestlé invented an electric machine that curled the hair using heat and hair pads. It was the first "perm" available, and it took many hours for the wave to take. Previously, women relied on pins, irons, and hair extensions to achieve curly hair.

Transformation or Pompadour

The pompadour is a style in which hair is swept back high off the forehead. First popularised in the Edwardian era, it was also known as a transformation. Hair "transformed" largely through the use of hair frames, which were attached to the head and had hair combed and set over them. Frames came in various sizes and shapes and added both height and drama to the hair. Frames also helped to support hats. Gaps in the hairstyle were filled in with artificial or real hair, ornaments, flowers, or bandeaux.

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