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A hairstyle, hairdo, or haircut refers to a styling of head hair. The fashioning of hair can be considered an aspect of personal grooming, fashion, and cosmetics, although practical considerations also influence some hairstyles. Hairstyles are also influenced by various subcultures.

An event

Whether as an appointment at a hair salon or a trip to the barbershop, a haircut becomes an event. It is understood as a pivotal moment of change, as a unique place-marker in time, and a subject for allusion. The editor of the New York Times Magazine describes his pages as reflecting "a place where change is not a threat, where doubt and complexity are more TRUE than certainty, and where most everything non-criminal is tolerated — except a bad haircut."

For Shoichi Yokoi, the first haircut in 28 years became his first ordinary contact with another person after living alone for many years. Yokoi hid in the forested mountains of Guam after the Imperial Japanese Army surrendered in 1944; and he managed to elude capture until 1972. The mere opportunity to sit in a barber's chair became a documented step in Yokoi's transformation from a reclusive, solitary combatant in a war which lasted for nearly three decades longer than for the rest of the world.

Yokoi's haircut was literally and figuratively life-changing. After 1972, the story of Yokoi's life became a narrative about the process of adapting to worldwide attention and the radically different role of a celebrity.

In Sikh culture, the hair of men is never cut; but some modern Sikhs are abandoning this tradition. The act of cutting hair itself takes on a significance unrelated to the corollary changes in appearance.

A process

Hair dressing may include cuts, weave, coloring, extensions, perm, permanent relaxers, curling and any other form of styling or texturing.

Length and trimming

Hair cutting or hair trimming often involves creating and maintaining a specific shape and form. Haircuts can be used to define a hemline along the ends and edges of longer hair. Hair cutting may include shaving the head. In some settings, hair cutting, creating forms and shapes are an expressive art form. Hair cutting often involves considerations of body proportions, hair density and hair type, face and head shape from all views (profile, 3/4 and 360 degree, from above and from below), overall bone structure, and pattern of how hair lies or falls.Hair shape and length are often derived from concerns regarding personal expression, fashion and aesthetics (examples: dreadlocks, punk hair, the business haircut/style, very long hair), religion (for example, Pentecostal faith among others), social and cultural values. Hair is often a physical expression of one's sense of self, of a desire to present oneself to and amongst a community, of social status and roles, and of cultural values. Such expression may involve adding ornaments to the hair, or partial or full hair coverings (such as a Kippa, Hijab, or a Turban).

Although trimming may beautify hair by removing damaged or split ends, cutting does not promote faster growth. Nor does trimming remove all damage throughout the hair. Damage can occur anywhere in any length of hair. Trimming at regular intervals is only necessary for maintaining formed shapes.

There exist ways to trim hair oneself as outlined in places on the internet and hair care reading materials.

Wet hair stretches rather significantly in length. Curly hair will unfurl a fair amount when fully wet, and different areas of the hair may have a larger degree of curl or different direction of curl than others. Thus, cutting curly hair while wet may result in uneven lines or unexpected results with regard to actual length. Further, curly hair, in particular, once dry, might appear visually to have an uneven line depending on how the curl coils back up. Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl, specializes in the care of curly hair types, and has designed a specific method for trimming curly hair to avoid these problems. The reason stylists like working with wet hair may be related to weight. Wet hair is heavier and may be easier to manage in a cut/style situation since the hair remains in place thus holding a line and making it easier for the stylist to create a form.

Detangling: brushing and combing

The point of detangling is to organize hair, usually in the same direction, and eliminate knots, snarles, tangles, and any hairs that have shed naturally.

There are all manner of detangling tools available in a wide variety of price ranges. Combs come in all shapes and sizes and all manner of materials including plastics, wood and horn. Similarly, brushes also come in all sizes and shapes. There are also a variety of brushes in various paddle shapes. Most benefit from using some form of a wide tooth comb for detangling. Most physicians advise against sharing hair care instruments like combs and clips, to prevent spreading hair conditions like dandruff and head lice.

The old notion that 100 brush strokes a day produces beautiful hair is somewhat false. Too much brushing may injure the hair, especially with brushes that pull the hair or scratch the scalp. It remains a possibility that the dictum of 100 strokes a day derives from the era when Boar Bristle Brushes were more commonly used, well before the invention of plastics and a time when more organic materials were used to create hair care tools. Usually in conjunction with the idea of 100 strokes a day was the suggestion that hair will 'shine' and be 'soft' to the touch. That said, a person skilled at brushing without hurting the follicles can brush down the natural oils to the ends of the hair fibers, thus extending the natural protection of skin oil. Notice that if the skin has been depleted of oils by shampooing, this won't work.


Hair dryers speed the drying process of hair by passing air, which is usually heated, over the wet hair shaft, accelerating the rate of water evaporation.

Excess heat may overly dry the hair, increasing the incidence of splitting or other damage. Hair dryer diffusers can be used to diffuse the stream of air flow so it is weaker but covers a larger area of the hair.

Hair dryers can also be used as a tool to sculpt the hair to a very slight degree. Repeated blowdrying can slowly train hair follicles towards the desired direction. Proper technique involves aiming the dryer such that the air does not blow onto the face or scalp, which can cause burns.

Braiding and “Updos”

Tight or frequent braiding may pull at the hair roots and cause traction alopecia. Rubber bands with metal clasps or tight clips, which bend the hair shaft at extreme angles, can also have the same effect.Braid combined with multiple pony tails is very popular among party going women. Multiple pony tail can be easily made on a newly washed hair or seasoned hair. Don’t rip or break your hair[8439] while brushing.

For example, hair drawn in a direction other than its natural growth pattern (hair types come out of the hair follicle in particular patterns for curly, body, straight; and also, hair grows in a pattern about the head so that it hangs or forms the way it does for humans). If hair is pinned too tightly, or the whole updo slips causing pulling on the hair in the follicle at the hair root are other scenarios that can cause aggravation to the hair follicle and result in headaches.

An industry

Hair styling is a major world industry, from the salon itself to products, advertising, and even magazines on the subject.

Hairstyling tools

Styling tool may include Hair irons (including flat, curling and crimping irons), hair dryers, hair rollers. Hair dressing might also include the use of product to add texture, shine, curl, volume or hold to a particular style.

Hairstyling products

Styling product aside from shampoo and conditioner are many and varied. Leave-in conditioner, conditioning treatment, mousse, gel, lotions, wax, creams, serums, oils, and spray are used to change the texture or shape of the hair, or to hold it in place in a certain style. Applied properly, most styling products will not damage the hair apart from drying it out; most styling products contain alcohols, which can dissolve oils. Many hair products contain chemicals which can cause build-up, resulting in dull hair or a change in perceived texture.


Care of human or other natural hair wigs is similar to care of a normal head of hair in that the wig can be brushed, styled, and kept clean using haircare products.

Synthetic wigs are usually made from a fine fiber that mimics human hair. This fiber can be made in any color and hairstyle, and it has an incredible shine that makes them so unique. However this fiber is sensitive to extreme heat such as flat irons and curling irons.

Human hair wigs can be styled with heat, and they must be brushed only when dry. Synthetic wigs should be brushed dry before shampooing to remove tangles, then it should be dipped into a container with water and mild shampoo, then dipped in clear water and moved up and down to remove excess water. The wig must then be air dried naturally into its own hairstyle.

Functional and decorative ornaments

There are many options to adorn and arrange the hair. Hairpins, clasps, barrettes, headbands, ribbons, rubber bands, scrunchies, and combs can be used to achieve a variety of styles. There are also many decorative ornaments that, while they may have clasps to affix them to the hair, are used solely for appearance and do not aid in keeping the hair in place.

Selected hairstyles

Name Image Description
Afro Big hair hairstyle, featured heavily in African-American culture, and popular through the 1970s in the United States of America.
Bangs / Fringe Hair that is combed to the front of the head and cut at or above the eyebrows.
Beehive Big hair hairstyle.
Blowout Shape-up with hair longer, spiky. Example: Gotti Boys
Bob cut A classic short hairstyle where the ends are cut just around chin length and aligned close to the facial area. A bowl can also be placed on the top of the head and the remaining part of the head can be shaved very short. This style is most common among women. Examples of bob haircuts:
Bowl cut A 1920s Ukrainianmarker recruitment poster. Moe Howard from The Three Stooges has this hairstyle for his trademark. Henry_V_of_England had a similar hairstyle.
Bouffant A bouffant (pronounced /buːˈfɑːnt/) is a type of hairstyle characterized by hair piled high on the head and hanging down on the sides.
Bun A women's hairstyle where the hair is pulled into a knot at the top of the head.
Buzz cut A haircut where the hair is cut short and sheared off with a razor, to a point that no more than about 3/4's of an inch of hair remains on all sides.
Caesar cut The Caesar cut is a men's hairstyle with a short, horizontally straight cut named after Julius Caesar, whose images frequently depict him wearing his hair in such a manner.
Chonmage A traditional Japanese haircut.
Comb over Hair that is combed from one part of the head to another often to cover up a bald spot.
Cornrows A hairstyle originating from Ethiopiamarker but popularized by African Americans where the hair is braided into a series of French braid like locks that appear to cling to the head and travel down to the back of the neck. The hairstyle can be worn by both males and females.
Crew cut A hairstyle that is commonplace for many people (especially men) in military units across the world.
Crop A short hairstyle in which the hair is cut very close to the head, with the hair left long enough to either touch or go past the bangs.
Croydon facelift A tight ponytail worn at the top of the head, giving the effect of a facelift. Often inappropriately referred to as a "top knot" (though this term, in its original context, actually refers to a chonmage).
Curtained hair Curtained hair is the term given to the hairstyle featuring a long fringe divided in either a middle parting or a side parting.
Curly hair Hair that is twisted or wavy.
Devilock The sides and back are kept short, while the front is grown long and combed forward.
Dido flip Hairstyle named after the singer Dido.
Dreadlocks A long hairstyle for either men or women. The hair is dreadlocked into individual sections using one of several methods (usually either backcombing, braiding, hand rolling, or allowing hair to naturally "lock" on its own). The look of dreadlocks can be vary in size, tidiness, and length. Dreadlocks are associated most closely with Rastafarians.
Duck's Ass or Ducktail A short men's hairstyle where there is a small long lock of hair at the base of the neck.
Emo Hair Tends to be dyed black and straightened with a curling iron. Usually very long, with bangs going over the eyes.
Fauxhawk Also known as the frohawk, this hairstyle is an approximation of a mohawk, made without shaving or buzzing the hair on the sides of the head, allowing an imitation of the look of a true mohawk without having to commit to removing most of one's hair.
Feathered hair Feathered hair was a hairstyle popular in the 1970s and the early 1980s with men and women, the hair was grown long on both sides (normally covering the ears, although it could be shoulder length) unlayered (although some men with curly hair did have it layered) with either a side or a centre parting.
Feelers Often mistaken for sideburns, this is the hair at length from in front of the ears, straightened down while the rest of the head's hair is kept short.
Finger wave  
Flattop A men's haircut where the hair is cut with a razor but left longer than a buzz cut and appears to be flat on the head.
Fontange A hairdo popular in the second half of the seventeenth century.
French braid A French braid is a braid that appears to be braided "into" the hair. Many describe it as making a braid backwards.
French twist A hairstyle where the hair is twisted behind the head into a sort of bun style.
Half Updo Popularized in the 1960s by sex icons like Brigitte Bardot, this woman's hairstyle requires medium-length or longer hair. The hair is sectioned from the temples all the way back and then fixed into bun, chignon or ponytail to secure into place (therefore, half the hair is in an updo). If a woman has bangs or a fringe, that area is usually left free and not pulled into the updo. Frequently, the hair at the crown of the head is "teased" or backcombed first to create volume and a bit of disorganization.
High and tight A military variant of the buzz cut.
Hime cut A hairstyle that consists of long straight hair that goes to at least below the shoulder blades with part of it cut to about shoulder length and bangs that go to the eyebrows.
Highlights The style involves highlighting or dying various thin strands of hair via hair coloring.
Hi-top fade
Horseshoe Flattop See High and tight.
Induction cut The hair is tied in a pony tail and a razor is used to shave the entire head. This cut is commonly used when a boy turns 10 in Japan.
Jheri curl Hair that is curly and kept wet by a Jheri curl activator. This style was popular in the 1980s especially with African-Americans.
Japanese hair straightening
Jewfro A Jewish Afro hairdo that is curly.
Khokhol The Ukrainian name for a style consisting of an entirely shaven head, save for one lock of hair grown on the top or front of the head. Name comes from the Ukrainian Cossacks, among whom the style was common. (See Khokhol article for the word's derogatory usage)
Kudumi or Sikha The South Indian name for a style consisting of a long tuft, or lock of hair left on top or on the back of the shaven head of a male Orthodox Hindu.
Layered hair A women's hairstyle where different sections of the front hair are cut at different lengths to give the impression of layers.
Liberty spikes Hair that is grown out long and spiked up usually with a gel
Long hair A style of hair that is not cut.
Mohawk Hair that is shaved or buzzed on the sides leaving a strip of hair in the middle. It is often spiked up.
Mop-Top A mid-length haircut that has bangs that go over the forehead,collar length in the back, and on the side the ears are partly covered by the hair. Was invented and made popular by The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr)
Mullet Hair that is short in front and long in the back.
Odango A hairstyle where two buns are worn on at either side of the head with the rest of the hair worn down like pigtails.
Pageboy A longer version of a bob, typically worn with bangs and below chin length
Part Hair that is parted in two different directions. Either from the left, centre or the right
Pigtails Hair that is parted down the middle and made into two pony tails on either side.
Pixie cut A short layered women's hairstyle with a shaggy fringe.
Ponytail Hair that is pulled to the back of the head and often held with a hair tie or ribbon.
"The Rachel" A layered haircut
Razor cut includes choppy short layers, and thinned by the bottom. Usually like "emo" hair. Usually has a side-sweep fringe.
Recon A radical version of the High and tight, with the sides and back cleanly shaved very high up the head, intentionally leaving a very extreme contrast between the longer top hair and the shaved sides.
Rattail Hair that is grown out long and shaved or buzzed except for a long, thin braid at the very top of the neck.
Ringlet Long hair that is worn in elaborate and tight curls.
Shag A choppy layered hairstyle, characterized by layers to create fullness in the crown and fringes around the edges. There are many versions including the frat shag and boy's shag.
Short back and sides Also known as a boy's cut, a simple hairstyle with an overall short length.
Spiky hair All hair sticking up, like spikes sticking out from the head.
Straight hair Hairstyle that is straight.
Updo An updo is the hairstyle in which the hair is twisted or pulled up. Examples of updos:
Waves Short Hair Waves, shortened to just waves, is a very common and sought after hairstyle for African American men that create the appearance of water like waves of the hair
Wings |

See also



  1. "Talk to the Times: Assistant Managing Editor Gerald Marzorati," New York Times. August 24, 2009.
  2. Lee, John M. "Japan Debates Spirit of War Holdout," New York Times. January 31, 1972.
  3. Kristof, Nicholas D. "Shoichi Yokoi, 82, Is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 27 Years," New York Times. September 26, 1997.
  4. Gentleman, Amelia. Young Sikh Men Get Haircuts, Annoying Their Elders, The International Herald Tribune. March 29, 2007; "Civil Rights of Sikh Violated, Judge Says," New York Times. April 30, 2004; Holl, John. "Long Hair, Deep Faith And Bigotry," New York Times. April 11, 2004.
  5. [1]


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