Annually on April 25, we celebrate National Hairstylist Appreciation Day, as they are often overlooked for all the jobs they actually do. Do hairstylists just cut hair? Of course not. They are excellent listeners, whether we are describing that celebrity hair cut we want to copy, or talking about our families, spouses, friends, or kids, they act as our stand-in therapist and confidant. They are artists, perfectionists, color chemists, angle mathematicians, supportive therapists, and more, and have influence on how we feel about ourselves, and how we view others.
History of National Hairstylist Appreciation Day
Though no one knows when the first hairstylist took scissors to someone’s head, we know that scissors go back at least 2,000 years. Hair cutting has been common since the middle ages. Throughout history, hairstyles have been symbols of social class, racial identification, marital status, religious beliefs, and gender norms. For example, in the middle of the 18th century, the ‘pouf’ style developed, for both men and women, emphasizing volume and curls, utilizing everything from wigs, wire, cloth, and animal hair to develop the effect (just look at Marie Antoinette.)
During the First World War, women around the world started to cut their hair shorter, so it was easier to manage, still utilizing volume and curls. During the 1950s, men’s hairstyles were mostly short, with some volume and hair gel styling – James Dean’s effortlessly cool, slicked back, longer hairstyle being one of the most influential symbols of social anarchy and youth rebellion at that time. Marilyn Monroe hair (short and curled) slowly transitioned back into voluminous “Hairspray” styles, and bangs became popular in the 1960s, inspired by Audrey Hepburn and other celebrities.
The 1970s brought out many original hairstyles and cuts, including dreadlocks, afros, the mullet, and permanent waves, or ‘perms’, for both men and women. Hairstylists had to apply chemicals to the hair, and wrap the hair to form waves and curls, or perform a chemical straightening or relaxing. Can we all just agree that perms should stay in the 70s?
In the 2000’s, hair coloring and straight styles became more popular. Today, hairstyles vary largely, from dreadlocks to straight bobs, and natural hair is trending. The stylists who can cut hairstyles through the ages, change our look, and alter how we feel about ourselves overall – in one appointment – deserve to be celebrated.