Men have worn their hair in different styles through the centuries. Often, styles were dictated by location and climate. In some cases, the way a man wore his hair indicated his political or religious beliefs and position. Sometimes, the styles were created to imitate the king.
The earliest men did not know anything about styling hair. For this reason, it was not uncommon for them to have very long scraggly hair, often forming natural dreadlocks. One thing they did do, however, was use bits of bone, feathers, and other substances to decorate their hair to indicate rank and power. This was done to impress members of their own tribe and to frighten enemies.
In ancient Babylonia and Assyria, men grew their hair long. They discovered that hot irons could be used to impart curl to the hair and used this method quite often. The same trick was discovered in Persia at about the same time. Noblemen curled their hair quite often. It was not uncommon for them to grow a full beard and cut it into a square shape.
In Egypt, men cut their hair very close to the scalp. Many shaved their heads entirely. They also shaved off all facial hair, but were known to wear short, stiff, false beards when making a public appearance.
Ancient Greek and Roman men wore their hair short most of the time. They also went bearded. In most cases, the Romans followed examples set by the Greeks.
Muslim men have variation in hair length. They often wore full beards.
Chinese and Japanese men typically shaved the front of their heads. The remaining hair was pulled back into a pony tail. Later, Chinese men tended to shave the entire head except the very back, which was allowed to grow out into a long pony tail, often reaching the ground.
North American Indians were divided into two distinct groups based on how the men wore their hair. Along the east coast, men typically shaved their heads, leaving one strip down the center and on the crown. This came to be known as the Mohawk, named for one of the tribes that wore this style. Plains Indians usually grew their hair out long and braided it into two braids, one on either side of the head. Feathers, bits of bone, and other things were used to adorn the hair and reflect status within the tribe.
In Europe, the style favored by monarch of the time was the generally favored style. Louis XIV of France was losing his hair, so it became fashionable for men to wear wigs when appearing in public. Religion also dictated the way men styled their hair. Christian men tended to wear their hair short.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, men did not concern themselves as much with their hair. It was generally allowed to grow until it got in the way of doing business, then cut or tied back.
From about 1930 to the present, men’s hairstyles have seen the most change of all. Styles were typically short and simple, with several variations on the buzz cut being developed. Later in the century, younger men began to show more outward signs of rebellion against authority. One of the more obvious signs of this was a trend toward longer hair.
Some kept their hair trimmed and neat looking, despite longer length. Others simply let their hair go wild. Still others adopted extreme looks such as bringing back the Mohawk formerly worn by Indian braves along the east coast.
Today, men wear their hair in an assortment of styles. Some are culturally based. Many follow examples set by other cultures. Still others attempt to create their own unique style through the use of hair length, colors, spikes, and other means.
The evolution of mens hairstyles continues even today. Some of the newer styles involve spiking the hair or emulating animated characters. Some older styles are seeing a resurgence in their popularity. Factors that influence the way men style their hair are in a constant state of change.