18th Century Hairstyles for Long Hair

Jenny’s long hair was plenty to go over the ski slope hair cushion.

Nearly as often as we receive questions about doing 18th century hairstyles for short hair, we see the question come up for long hair. Can you do a frizzed hairstyle with long hair? How long does your hair have to be to do the tall donut styles? Is there such a thing as hair that is *too* long?

In “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty” we cover the 1750s through the mid 1790s, and for a greater portion of that timeframe, shorter hair *in front* was the fashion, particularly with the frizzed 1780s hairstyles.

In the 1770s, though, very long hair was preferred for the very tall styles simply because you needed that much hair to get up and over the cushion. The bigger the cushion, the more hair (yours or someone else’s) you need.

Laurie has very, very long and fine hair. Once pomaded and powdered, her hair was double the size and easily put up into the donut hair style with plenty left over for top curls, buckles, and chignon all made of her own hair.

Both Laurie and Jenny had quite long hair for the 1770s “Beignet” and “Ski Alpin” styles, but truth be told, Laurie’s hair didn’t need to be that long. So long as your hair can reach up and into the donut hole, you can do the tall coiffure, and remember…your donut or ski slope cushion don’t need to be as large as the ones we make. Hair just past the shoulders can do a perfectly lovely “Beignet” with a scaled-down cushion. Add more height with a pouf, cap, hat, and feathers.

Hair that is very long – waist-length or booty-length also works perfectly well with the 1770s styles. Because of the hole in both cushion types, excess hair can be rolled up and stuffed down in there, or pinned within the hole and the ends curled to sit atop, like we did with Laurie’s hair.

Cynthia’s hair was just past her shoulders and was plenty to create the sculptural late 1760s hairstyle. Because of the shaped buckles and rolls of this coiffure, very long hair also works – just add more buckles!

But what about the short, curly styles? These are definitely more a challenge for long hair, but several costumer friends have done beautiful coiffures with their quite long locks by using the toupee hair piece. The trick is to curl your long hair all over, then work the front back and through the toupee hair piece (which should be short and tightly curled or crape’d, like we show in the book), pinning as needed. Your own hair forms the long chignon down the back. (Particular credit goes to Taylor of Dames a la Mode and Lauren Marks, who named her toupee Fred).

Jasmine’s 3C hair was very easily pulled over the grub hair cushion to create the early 1780s style with all her own hair. This is a good option for long hair that you’ve curled or crimped.

As always, we encourage you to make the hair pieces in the book and then play around with your own hair, pomading and powdering it, curling it, and finding what works best for you. It may be that the 1780s crape’d hairstyles is just never going to happen, but the early 1780s transitional “Chenille” hairstyle is a perfect fit.

For more information and, of course, the how-to’s for all of these hairstyles, cushions, hairpieces, products, etc. check out our book “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty” on Amazon, AmericanDuchess.com, and other major booksellers.

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