Thursday, 11 February 2016

Wartime Hair Fashions

From the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 9th February 1916.


It is exceptional today to meet a young man wearing his hair long.  The present fashion is undoubtedly due to the war.  Young men feel that they cannot afford to indulge in the luxury of long hair in these days, as they render themselves liable to be taken for cranks and funks.  The idea now is to have a “county crop,” the hair clipped so close that it gives a man a bullet-headed appearance.  At the same time, the moustache is clipped close, to give it the semblance of bristling, and the whole physiognomy, in consequence, to become fierce and martial.


There are no more curling-tongs to be had in England.  Henceforth the great army of women whose hair is straight and who cannot afford time to go periodically to a barber must make nightly use of those patent curlers which are only a degree less unsightly than the curl papers of Dickens's day.  This is a serious matter in these days of Zeppelin raids, when beauty knows that on any night she may have to make a sudden unprepared appearance.  One may search even London for hours and not find the smallest pair of decorative tongs.

[It is only recently that hair tongs were for straightening hair, rather than curling it.  Electrically-heated tongs are also relatively new - I remember my mother heating curling tongs over a gas burner on the cooker, in an attempt to make my hair curl when I was a little girl.  The curls never lasted for more than a few hours, though I do have a school photograph of me with beautifully tidy hair curled at the ends and with a hair-ribbon.]


  1. Did you ever try ringlets? We did it occasionally -- we'd roll our wet hair up with things like bandages overnight (uncomfortable to sleep in). They never lasted long, either!

    1. Don't think I ever did - I'm sure they would have fallen out straightaway.