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A Brief History of Wigs

Wigs are fake hair that people wear on their heads to cover up baldness or as a fashion accessory. Wigs are made from human hair, animal hair or synthetic fibre.

The earliest record of wigs was during the Egyptian era. The Egyptians wore wigs to shield their shaved, bald heads from the burning heat of the sun. In order to keep the wigs from dropping off their heads, they used beeswax or resin to keep the wigs in place. Many of the wigs that the Egyptians used were made from human hair. The cheaper type of wigs was made of palm leaf fibres and wool. One could tell how rich the people were by just looking at the wigs they wore.

The Romans made wigs from the hair of slaves. The blond coloured hair of the Germans and the black coloured hair from Indians were very highly prized. This was their way of showing off their victory of the war that the Romans fought in.

The only people who wore wigs in the Far East were actors who performed in traditional theatres of China and Japan.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, wigs were not used anymore. During the 16th and 17th century, wigs became popular again. It was at this time that poor personal hygiene conditions led to infestations of head lice. As a result, people wore wigs over their shaved heads to prevent head lice from making homes on their heads.

Wigs became famous in France during the reign of King Louis XIII. He became bald at a very early stage. To hide his balding problem, he wore very detailed and fancy wigs. As wigs became extremely famous, the wigmakers became very important and their fame grew. Many wigmakers became very rich.

Eventually wigs became very problematic. They grew to very huge sizes, were very heavy and expensive to produce. Natural human hair wigs were the best choice but very expensive. The hair of horses and goats were used as cheaper choices.

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accessory (n) – something added to clothing for decorative purposes; ornament.
synthetic(adj) – not real; artificial.
infestations(n) – to overrun in numbers to a point of causing problems.
fancy (adj) –not plain; very decorative.
problematic (adj) –difficult.
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