Hairstyles throughout history have been ornate, complex, and capable of making powerful statements. They have achieved many goals far greater than just allowing the wearer to look good for the opposite sex. In ancient times, they could signify class and authority, not merely gender and ethnicity. They could be worn by women attempting to reach beyond their roots and culture, or to represent their identity and function within their own social group.
Women with a lot more time on their hands and with financial means were able to employ servants and hairdressers who could create masterpieces that were beyond the normal working woman’s means. Those who had to do the best they could with their own tresses, often came up with styles that were easy to manage and more than appealing to suitors and spouses. Styles emerged in other nations and swept across the oceans, becoming the latest rage. They had to be accepted by royalty, appearing first at court functions where they were admired and copied by the nobility. From there they appeared at musical gatherings and private parties, where they were borrowed and modified by the lower classes.
The woman without means, but still with a strong will and feminine personality, could still choose to avoid a functional shearing, by wearing her hair long, braided, or folded and pinned. There was a lot that the frontier and working woman could accomplish with a minimum of resources and assistance.
Inventions appeared to assist with recurring problems, like the hair straightener, the blow dryer and the real hair extensions in Melbourne, often when the wearer was attempting to capture a style of those celebrated as more glamorous than herself.
The history of hairstyling goes on and on and new possibilities are being opened all the time.