18th Century Hairstyles for Short Hair

Jul 1, 2019 7 comments
Nicole's chin-length bob was perfect, if not even a little too long, for the early 1780s crape'd hairstyle once supplemented with a few hair pieces at the back...
One of the most frequent questions we get about doing authentic 18th century hairstyles like we show in "The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty" is..."are there instructions/styles/techniques/possibilities for short hair?"

The short (hehe) answer is YES!

Surprisingly, most of the 18th century favored a particular haircut - very short in the front and very long in the back, or what we might call a mullet today. In fact, the only period we cover in our book that was all about long, long, long hair is the 1770s, when very tall hair cushions were in fashion and you needed that much hair (whether it was really your own or not!).

Crape-ing or tightly curling the hair, then fluffing it up on cushions gives such huge volume, height, and width. Remember - Nicole's hair is only chin-length!
The rest of the time, though? Short hair in front was essential to success with the hairstyle. The 1750s, 1780s, and 1790s styles all benefit greatly from chin-length or shorter hair, sometimes even just a couple inches in front, and this is noted in original sources too.

Then as now, not everyone has the ideal hair to create the idealized hairstyles. Man, I wanted beachy waves *so badly* in 2003 but it just was never going to happen because my hair just never gets longer than about shoulder length and was too lanky and fine to achieve Cosmo-approved seaside glory. Women in the past also dealt with these issues!

Even if your hair is only a couple inches long, you can easily blend it into a toupee like the one above and no one will be the wiser. We teach you how to make one of these, along with a clip-in chignon and buckles.
Original hairdressing manuals are choc full of advertisements for mail-order toupees, buckles, and chignons to supplement a lady's 'do. So effective are these easy-to-make pieces that you can put together 90% of a perfectly-coiffed 18th century hairstyle in a few minutes with hairpieces and be out the door to the market fair in no time.

An example of the clip-in chignon (long hair) - and easy and essential hairpiece we teach you to make in the book.
So, of course, we included these three hairpieces in The #ADBeauty book. They're all made from real human hair so that they work with the pomade and powder, and they're all ridiculously easy to clip in and blend your own hair into, regardless if your hair is 2 inches or 20 inches long in front.

Want to know more (all the things?)
The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty


  1. Hello,

    Will your book be available on kindle too or just in paper?

    1. I believe it will be available as kindle, but we don't recommend it. It's image heavy, and kindle doesn't do so well with matching up the instructions to the pictures.

  2. Great post as usual! Thank you. I can always count on American Duchess for informative articles that offer applicable practical tips with style!

  3. Could you do one for very long hair? I have the hardest time replicating historical styles since I have waist length hair...except 14th century which is my primary period!

  4. Exceptionally valuable information. Want to see more posts soon! Beach Waves Hairstyle For Short Hair


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