To many, an important accessory and to others a complete joke. The wig has always been an important device for those that want to conceal their lack of hair, although it can be difficult to make your new ‘head of hair’ look authentic, and the look crosses the line of embarrassment when it falls off or out of place. But who invented this phenomenon of appearance risk?
The early use of wigs date back to the ancient Egyptian times, when fake hair was used to protect people with bald heads from the hot sun, and was used in a similar manner by Romans, Greeks, and Assyrians, amongst others. The look never really caught on, though, until the ‘Tudor period’ in English history, where royalty using wigs to display extravagant ‘tall’ or long hairstlyes (and to protect from headlice) prompted many male members of the public to follow suit, with the term ‘wig’ added to the English language in 1675. Over the years, the use of wigs and hairpieces worldwide would then develop with the styles of the times, eventually reaching the modern approaches and uses that we see now.
Today, wigs have developed not only into a means for people with a lack of hair to look as though they have some, as part of a job (e.g. acting or ‘traditional’ court judges) or even as a fashion accessory, like ‘extentions’, but also as a means of fancy dress at parties, leading to ‘party wigs’, that are generally much more colourful and bizarre, and are often used to help ‘complete a look’, with costumes such as ‘Elvis’ or ’70’s Afro’.
A concern for some wig-wearers, though, whether serious or recreational, is what they are made of, as it can be a big issue for those that only want ‘nice’ materials touching their body. Although modern wigs are made to begin life clean and usable, some potential wearers could be put off by the fact that to be made to look realistic, their wig is likely to have been made out of one of, or a combination of, the following materials:
– Recycled Human Hair
– Synthetic Materials
– Animal Hair (Horses or Buffalo)
– Yak Hair (most commonly used)
As an example of the potential embarassment that having a wig could cause, please observe this clip of a startled Japanese news reporter, who unknowingly seems to lose his hairpiece whilst bowing….