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The History of Wigs – Did You Know?

PJ Wig by Jon Renau

Wigs date back to ancient times, and have been defined by the Encyclopedia Brittanica as a “head covering of real or artificial hair worn in the theater, as personal adornment, disguise, or symbol of office, or for religious reasons.” In modern times, wigs are also worn for holidays and celebrations.The Egyptians used wigs as a covering and to protect themselves from the harsh sun.

During the 17th Century, wigs became popular when French King Louis XIII wore a wig to cover his balding hair. Yes, men were the first to wear and make wigs popular! Just like today, the trend caught on and soon wigs were in demand. The first wigs were tedious, powdered, and tightly curled.

Around this time, the Barrister’s Wig (lawyers with split legal professions)  became popular and also a symbol of prestige and power. Periwigs or perukes expensive, hot and attracted bugs. Some men shaved their heads so the wigs would be cooler and fit better.

Wigs entered North America during colonial times but the tradition only lasted a little more than a century. The practice became  less and less popular, and completely disappeared in the American courts by the mid 19th century. Costume wigs are a staple at masquerade balls and other occasions where dressing up is appropriate. They are still worn in England, Canada and many other nations.

Wigs have since taken on two primary functions: to conceal or to enhance. Concealing baldness or thinning hair is simple with wigs. They also help many people after cancer treatments that can cause hair loss. They also enhance our appearance and self esteem by helping us look and feel good.

Wigs have also come a long way from when wearing one was obvious and for a specific purpose. Now, no one has to know that you are wearing a wig with technologies like monofilament caps, lace fronts, Smart Lace, and heat resistant wig fibers.

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