Elizabethan Hair Color
It was important for Queen
Elizabeth to maintain her image and the beauty of a 'Virgin Queen'. The
Elizabethan view of ideal beauty was a woman with light hair and a snow
white complexion complimented with red cheeks and red lips. Queen
Elizabeth achieved this picture of ideal beauty by using white make-up.
This explains the odd white face make-up seen in many of her portraits.
Queen Elizabeth had a natural red color hair. This red hair look was
emulated by many of the nobility of the Elizabethan era, as was the fair
hair ideal of an ideal woman. An Upper Class Elizabethan woman followed this fashion further
and might even dye her hair yellow with a mixture of saffron, cumin seed,
celandine and oil. Wigs were also commonly used - Queen Elizabeth had a
wide variety of wigs and hair pieces - believed to number over eighty.
These were often referred to as Periwigs.
Elizabethan Hair Styles for
Elizabethan Hair Styles
for women were designed to compliment the upper class fashions
of the day. Ruffs, or ruffles, were in high fashion and during the
Elizabethan era these became more elaborate and were constructed on gauze
wings which were raised at the back of the head. The ruffs, or collars,
framed the face and dictated the hairstyles of the age which were
generally short for men ( at the beginning of the Elizabethan era) and
swept up look was required for women. A frizzy hairstyle was also one of
the required styles for women. Women kept their hair long and the full
natural beauty of their long hair was displayed by the young women of the
era. The long hair flowing hair of a young girl was a sign of a virgin and
the favoured hairstyle for a bride on her wedding day. An Elizabethan
bride would adorn her hair with fresh flowers. Once a woman achieved the
married status she wore her hair swept up. Much of the hair was covered by
some form of head covering. Long hair was generally dressed in a bun to
which the variety of head coverings could be pinned. The front and sides
of the hair received great attention as this was the area that was most
displayed.Fringes were not in fashion -
hairstyle fashion dictated that hair was combed way from the forehead.
The hairstyle was usually designed to compliment the style of the hat.
Frizzed hair was favoured by the Queen and therefore followed by ladies
of the court although straight hair was favoured with a centre parting
which especially complimented the french
Head Coverings for Women
The Elizabethan fashion dictated that the head was adorned with a hat,
veil, coif or caul. This fashion therefore ensured that much of the hair
was hidden by some form of head coverings. The style of the head covering
dictated the hairstyle. Many of the hats were adorned with feathers,
pearls, glass jewels, spangles, gold thread, embroidery and lace.
The Coif - The
coif ( commonly referred to as the 'biggin' ) worn by all
children. Material was plain white linen, a close fitting
cap tied under the chin. Coifs were often worn as caps to
keep hair in place under more elaborate hats
The French hood
- Introduced from the French court by Anne Boleyn, the
mother of Queen Elizabeth I. A half moon, or crescent, style
band or brim sloping away from the face. The edges were
often adorned with pearls or glass jewels, called bilaments,
and a veil covered the back of the hair
The Atifet -
Similar to the French hood style but with a heart shaped
crescent - favoured in white by Mary Queen of Scots. Lace
trimmnigs were added
The Caul - Cauls
were the Elizabethan hair net. A Caul covered the hair at
the back of the head and was made of fabric, or fabric
covered by netted cord which was sometimes adorned with
style of hat - often had a veil attached to the back
Elizabethan Hair Styles for Men
Elizabethan Hair Styles
for men were just as important as they were for women. The
length of hair varied during the Elizabethan era. It started as short
closely cropped hairstyles and increased in length during the period.
Considerable time was spent grooming the hair, especially when it was
fashionable to sport a longer length. Long hair was required to be curly.
Men had their hair curled with hot irons. To keep the hair in place wax or
gum was applied to the hair.
It was fashionable for men to sport beards during the
Elizabethan era. The styles and cut of beards changed with the
fashion of the day. The beards could be cut in various styles
including pointed ( van-dyke style ), square, round or oblong.
Starch was applied to keep the beards in place. Beards were also
kept long and so required no help from the barber.