Greetings! It's getting to be that time of year when we worry about covering our heads, and then we worry about what our hair looks like when we uncover it! The following websites hold images and articles on hair and head coverings during the Medieval and Renaissance eras. I have tried to avoid those generic "all women in the middle ages covered their long hair" type articles, and have tried instead to give you real information. There is plenty of information for men, as well.
If you enjoy this list, pass it along. Please only send it to places where it will be well-received!
Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
Medieval 300AD to 1300
This site has a variety of original images to show, of both men and women's hair and/or headdresses.
Eras of Elegance: A Brief History of Hairstyles
(Site Excerpt) For each era, we have provided a brief history of the key elements in hairstyles. Try our simple suggestions on how to recreate a period 'do for your next formal event!
Medieval Clothing Pages:
Articles and essays of interest to costumers
All material is 2000 Cynthia Virtue.
(Site Excerpt--articles include:) How to wear a veil, or a veil and circlet (or just a circlet) gracefully, with photos. (1000-1300 or so) Plus The Dreaded Muffin-Head Effect ;Easy Men's Hats - (1200-1470s; concentrated on the later range) Yup, even the men wore something on their heads. (class) ;Coifs (1200 onwards)- More specifics for men and women. 1-piece and 3-piece. (class); A 13th Century hat for women (1200s)-- The "coffee filter hat" sometimes called a "toque" or "fillet." ;Wire circlet (1300s)wrapped with colored thread recreated from the Dress Accessories book. ;How to be a Hoodlum (1300-1470)- The medieval hood for men and women. (class) ;Crespinette cylinder cauls or How much soup from one oyster? (1325-1375) ;Quick 'n' Easy Cauls (1300-1470)- not a medieval construction technique, but produces a medieval look. ;Women's Rolled (stuffed) Hats (1390-1470)- and variations thereon. (class) ;Men's Rolled (stuffed) Hats (1390-1470)- and variations thereon. (class) ;Complex Women's Hats (my favorite subject): (1400-1470) ;
See also: Upbraiding Yourself (an article on Medieval Braided Hairstyles): http://www.virtue.to/articles/braiding.html
History Today: SCISSORS OR SWORDS?(social aspects of medieval hairstyles)
Author/s: Simon Coates
Issue: May, 1999
(Site Excerpt) WHILST RESIDING in Paris in the sixth century, Queen Clotild (d. 554), the widow of the Merovingian ruler Clovis, became the unwilling subject of the inveterate plotting of her sons, Lothar and Childebert, who were jealous of her guardianship of her grandsons, the children of their brother, Chlodomer. Childebert spread the rumour that he and his brother were to plan the coronation of the young princes and sent a message to Clotild to that effect. When the boys were despatched to their uncles they were seized and separated from their household. Lothar and Childebert then sent their henchman Arcadius to the Queen with a pair of scissors in one hand and a sword in the other. He offered the Queen an ultimatum. Would she wish to see her grandsons live with their hair cut short? or would she prefer to see them killed? Beside herself with grief, Clotild stated that if they were not to succeed to the throne she would rather see them dead than with their hair cut short. Rejecting the scissors, she opted for the sword.
Pierre RUELLE, L'ornement des Dames (Ornatus Mulierum)<>, Bruxelles, Presses de l'Universit�de Bruxelles, 1964. 32-35,
35-37, 37-39, 43, 45, 47, 53, 59, 71, 73.(Translation Jeay and Garay).
This Anglo-Norman text dates from the thirteenth century
(Site Excerpt) In order to keep one's hair.
If you want your hair to grow long and thick, take a good quantity of barley and a mole; burn them in an unused jar and reduce them to powder. Take white honey and anoint the place where you want your hair to grow. Then throw away the powder and wait for two days. The third day, rinse with water boiled with orcan�e, mint and sage.
Trotula eliminates dandruff this way: she takes nettle seeds and soaks them for two or three days in vinegar. Then she washes the hair, first with a good soap, then with this vinegar.
In order to tone up hair.
Sometimes hair turns white too soon: this is due to an overactive pituitary gland. First, you should give the person medicine for purging the head from this secretion. Then, take the roots of a cabbage, either dried or fresh, cook them in spring water until half of it evaporates, and carefully wash the hair in the water.
Plucked, Shaved & Braided: Medieval and Renaissance Beauty and Grooming
by Daniela Turudich, Laurie J. Welch (A Book for Sale)
(Site Excerpt) With more than 100 historical bath, beauty, and cosmetic recipes, this hilarious romp through the medieval and Renaissance fashion world describes beauty practices that seem grotesque today: plucking eyebrows and eyelashes out, shaving foreheads, and dying hair blue. This collection of useful recipes and bizarre beauty practices offers a practical yet humorous look at the daily life of men and women of all classes in medieval and Renaissance Europe. From step-by-step instructions for period headdresses and hairstyles to odd grooming and hygiene practices, the intimate details of this resource bring the people of these periods to life.
Medieval Women's Headdress and Costume
15th Century: Burgundian Gothic and Italian Renaissance, 1400-1450
Many original images in thumbnail format.
Regional Russian Headdresses
A series of drawings based upon a book of costume research
Hairstyles of the Elizabethan Period
by Lesley Barfield and Tamarra Fuller
(Site Excerpt) During the Elizabethan period men took as much pride in their hair as the women did. They would spend whole days sitting in the barber shop listening to music and talking to one another. The Elizabethan barber stiffened, starched, powdered, perfumed, waxed, and dyed the hair a fashionable red. The hair was worn shoulder length and curled with hot irons, which were then called "love locks." When the men of this time went bald, they depended upon wigs to help them keep up the latest fashion. The wigs worn at his time were usually a fashionable white or yellow color.
Italian Renaissance Hair Taping - Introduction
By Lady Faoiltighearna inghean mhic Ghuaire
Copyright 1999 Margo Farnsworth
(Site Excerpt) This is a style of wearing the hair bound to the head with ribbon or "tape", or with a benda (a length of silk or linen veil used for covering, wrapping round or intertwining with the hair). It is a very comfortable way to wear your hair as the weight is evenly distributed over the head and the ribbons create a soft way of attachment. I have found evidence of this style from the mid-1300s through around 1600. The only evidence I have found of this style anywhere outside Italy is in France in the 16th century (I have included 2 examples of this).
Colors and Scents: The Transitional Period 1300-1500
by Magistra Rosemounde of Mercia, OL
and Mistress Fuiltigherne ni Ruadh O'Finnn, OL
(Site Excerpt) The popular hair colors were yellow and black which were obtained through the use of dyes and wigs. After 1400 the hair was generally hidden under headdresses, though gold was the color of choice when it showed. From 1300 to 1400 women's hair was dressed in a fashion similar to that at the end of the Norman period, but with the addition of an unusual type headdress called a "caul headdress". This consisted of two meshwork cylinders (the shape and sized varied somewhat) at either side of the head into which the braids were placed. The net and linen bands were also used, especially among the lower classes. This style was called a "crispenette". After 1400, tall, outlandish headdresses came into fashion, most of which hid the hair entirely. Some of those worn were the reticulated (netted) headdress, the heart-shaped headdress (incorrectly called an escoffion) and the famous hennin. Men's hair was worn the same as in the latter part of the Norman period until 1350. After that it was worn parted in the middle with no bangs and was curled. Mustaches were either short or long and were curled. Beards were nearly always forked. Around 1400 bangs became popular again, first in the ecclesiastical style, i.e. very short with a rolled under edge, but as the period progressed the hair got longer until it fell onto the shoulders.
Stefan's Florilegium--click Personal Care, then click Hair
(Site Excerpt) I know that in the earlier middle ages (before the year 1000, at any rate), the Franks felt that long hair was a sign of marshall prowess. Therefore the longer one's hair was, the better a warrior they supposedly were. This seems to imply that some of the Franks, especially their kings, kept their hair VERY long... as a matter of fact, I recall one instance where a king was conquered and deposed, and to keep him from causing trouble, they cut his hair. When he threatened to grow it back, they were forced to kill him.
From Chaperones to Caplets--Aspects of Men's Headdress (A Thesis--requires
This article is copy-protected, but it's VERY good, and on a seldom-covered topic.
Costumer's Manifesto: Costume Accessories: Wigs, Hair and Hats
Late Medieval Men's Headdress Classification Chart
See many headresses for men detailed in picture form here.
Hoods, Chaperons and Liripipes
Drawings, photos of extant articles if available, and possible patterns included with the links listed.
THE HANDBOOK OF GERMAN DRESS
Hair & Headdress 1200s-1400s
A catalog of images, primarily from books.