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A haircut is an event -- Shōichi Yokoi was a Japanese soldier who surrendered in 1972, decades after the end of hostilities in World War II. This internationally published photograph documents an unknown barber and a man's haircut which became transformative.

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.

A hairstyle's aesthetic considerations may be determined by many factors, such as the subject's physical attributes and desired self-image or the stylist's artistic instincts.

Physical factors include natural hair type and growth pattern, face and head shape from various angles, and overall body proportions; medical considerations may also apply. Self-image may be directed toward conforming to mainstream values (military-style crew cuts or current "fad" hairstyles such as the Dido flip), identifying with distinctively-groomed subgroups (e.g., dreadlocks or punk hair), or obeying religious dictates (e.g., Orthodox Jewish payot or the Sikh practice of kesh), though this is highly context-dependent and a "mainstream" look in one setting may be limited to a "subgroup" in another.

Hairstyling may also include adding accessories to the hair to hold it in place, enhance its ornamental appearance, or partially or fully conceal it with coverings such as a kippa, hijab, or turban.


Hairstyle process

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

Length and trimming

Hair cutting or hair trimming is intended to create or maintain a specific shape and form. Its extent may range from merely trimming the uneven ends of the hair to a uniform length to completely shaving the head.

The overall shape of the hairstyle is usually maintained by trimming it at regular intervals. There are ways to trim one's own hair but usually another person is enlisted to perform the process, as it is difficult to maintain symmetry while cutting hair at the back of one's head. Although trimming enhances the hair's appearance by removing damaged or split ends, it does not promote faster growth or remove all damage along the length of the hair.

Stylists often wash a subject's hair first, so that the hair is cut while still damp. Compared to dry hair, wet hair can be easier to manage in a cut/style situation because the added weight and surface tension of the water cause the strands to stretch downward and cling together along the hair's length, holding a line and making it easier for the stylist to create a form.

This may cause certain problems with curly hair, which has a greater degree of unfurling when fully wet; also, different areas of the hair may curl in different degrees or directions. Cutting curly hair while wet may result in unexpected results when dry, depending how the curls coil 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 youngest person in the history of the NAHSAD (National Association of Hair Styling and Dressing) to win top honors at a regional hairdressing competition is Matt Tolander, a resident of Austin, Texas.

Brushing and combing

Brushes and combs are used to organize and detangle hair, encouraging all of the strands to lie in the same direction and removing debris such as lint, dandruff, or hairs that have already shed from their follicles but continue to cling to the other hairs.

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 historical dictum to brush hair with one hundred strokes every day is somewhat archaic, dating from a time when hair was washed less frequently; the brushstrokes would spread the scalp's natural oils down through the hair, creating a protective effect.

However, this does not apply when the natural oils have been washed off by frequent shampoos. Also, hairbrushes are now usually made with rigid plastic bristles instead of the natural boar's bristles that were once standard; the plastic bristles increase the likelihood of actually injuring the scalp and hair with excessively vigorous brushing.


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

Excessive heat may increase the rate of shaft-splitting or other damage to the hair. Hair dryer diffusers can be used to widen 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.

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 tools 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 products aside from shampoo and conditioner are many and varied. Leave-in conditioner, conditioning treatments, mousse, gels, lotions, waxes, creams, serums, oils, and sprays 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 almost any color and hairstyle, and is often glossier than human hair. However this fiber is sensitive to heat and cannot be styled with flat irons or 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.[1]

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 Afro 2 cropped by David Shankbone.jpg Big hair hairstyle, featured heavily in Afro American culture, and popular through the 1970s in the United States of America.
Bangs / Fringe Bangsfringe.jpg Hair that is combed to the front of the head and cut at or above the eyebrows.
Beehive AmyWinehouseBerlin2007.jpg Big hair hairstyle.
Blowout Shape-up with hair longer, spiky. Example: Gotti Boys
Bob cut Anna Wintour.jpg 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 Ukposter.jpg A 1920s Ukrainian 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 Hair in bun.JPG A women's hairstyle where the hair is pulled into a knot at the top of the head.
Buzz cut Male buzzcut.jpg 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 Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 BC).JPG 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 Tochiazuma Daisuke.jpg A traditional Japanese haircut.
Comb over Donald Trump.jpg Hair that is combed from one part of the head to another often to cover up a bald spot.
Cornrows Long cornrows.jpg A hairstyle originating from Ethiopia 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 Soldier running in water.jpg A hairstyle that is commonplace for many people (especially men) in military units across the world.
Crop Louise Brooks detail ggbain.32453u.jpg 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 DevilockSteven.jpg 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 Dreadlocked rasta.jpg 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 David Beckham.jpg 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 MDafoeBob20s.jpg  
Flattop H R Haldeman, 1971 portrait.png 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 Elisabeth Albertine von Anhalt-Dessau 2.jpg A hairdo popular in the second half of the seventeenth century.
French braid Braid01.jpg A French braid is a braid that appears to be braided "into" the hair. Many describe it as making a braid backwards.
French twist Frenchtwist.jpg 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 Soldier running in water original.jpg A military variant of the buzz cut.
Hime cut Hime cut.jpg 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.
Japanese hair straightening
Jarhead See High and tight
Jewfro Jewfro.jpg A Jewish Afro hairdo that is curly.
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.
Oseledets Repin Cossacks.jpg 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.
Kudumi or Sikha Dikshitar.JPG 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 Spikesfront.jpg Hair that is grown out long and spiked up usually with a gel
Line Up Hair that has an even line across the forehead and then turns sharply at a 90 degree angle and blends with the sideburns. It can be worn with almost any other hairstyle. Primarily worn by Hispanics and some African Americans.
Long hair Pierre Auguste Renoir - Portrait de Julie Manet.jpg A style of hair that is not cut.
Mohawk User-Ich with Mohawk.jpg Hair that is shaved or buzzed on the sides leaving a strip of hair in the middle. It is often spiked up. Called a Mohican in Britain.
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 SuperMullet.jpg Hair that is short in front and long in the back.
Odango Odango-estilos.svg A hairstyle where two buns are worn on at either side of the head with the rest of the hair worn down like pigtails. Most well-known example of this style is worn by the title character of the Japanese anime Sailor Moon.
Pageboy A longer version of a bob, typically worn with bangs and below chin length
Part Parting shot.jpg Hair that is parted in two different directions. Either from the left, centre or the right
Perm IcallPlasticDressing.jpg
Pigtails Pigtails.jpg Hair that is parted down the middle and made into two pony tails on either side.
Pixie cut Audrey Hepburn screentest in Roman Holiday trailer.jpg A short layered women's hairstyle with a shaggy fringe.
Pompadour Pomp2.jpg
Ponytail The ponytail still intact.jpg Hair that is pulled to the back of the head and often held with a hair tie or ribbon.
Psychobilly Wedge Kim Nekroman live.jpg The Psychobilly Wedge is a sort of mix between a mohawk hairstyle and the pompadour, where the hair along the side of the head is shaved and the middle isn't spiked but slicked back and stood up like a pompadour.
Quiff Quiff.jpg
"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 Rattail.jpeg Hair that is grown out long and shaved or buzzed except for a long, thin braid at the very top of the neck.
Ringlet Andrew Geddes04.jpg 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 Egon-Schiele-Anton-Josef-Trcka-1914.jpg All hair sticking up, like spikes sticking out from the head.
Straight hair Hairstyle that is straight.
Tonsure Tonsure fx tr.png Traditionally worn by monks in the middle ages, still worn by some traditional monks today.
Undercut Undercut.jpg The undercut is a unisex haircut whereby the top section of hair is held in place whilst the side and back sections are cut, thus making the top longer and the back and sides undercutting. It is sometimes also referred to as a bowl cut, because it looks like a bowl was placed on the top of the head being cut, while everything outside and below the bowl was cut short.(See also Khokhol.)
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

Hairstyle as event

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."[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

See also



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Talk to the Times: Assistant Managing Editor Gerald Marzorati," New York Times. August 24, 2009.
  3. ^ Lee, John M. "Japan Debates Spirit of War Holdout," New York Times. January 31, 1972.
  4. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. "Shoichi Yokoi, 82, Is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 27 Years," New York Times. September 26, 1997.
  5. ^ 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.


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