Fashion

Why Many Victorian Women Didn’t Cut Their Hair, Leaving Them With Rapunzel-Like Hairdos

Some people think of hair as a crown that you always have to wear, and clearly, Victorian women agreed with that sentiment. Back in the day, hair was a powerful symbol of feminity and there were strict rules of how a woman should wear it, not only because of its social significance but also because of its importance regarding gender. Despite that, there were true Rapunzels that lived in the Victorian era who didn’t hesitate one second to show off their hair, even if it was considered a social offense. But because they believed in the power of beauty over everything else, they decided to carry on and show their true selves to the world.

Victorian women loved having long hair.

© Mark Goebel Photo Gallery / Contributor / Archive Photos / Getty Images

Not only because their impressive manes allowed them to have these types of hairstyles…

© Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images

But also because, in the Western world, hair was often regarded as a sign of social status.


© Hulton Archive / London Stereoscopic Company / Stringer / Getty Images

Back in the day, sickness was incredibly common among everyone.

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And personal hygiene was sort of a luxury.

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So maintaining long, well-groomed hair was a privilege reserved for the middle and upper classes.

© Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images

Washing, untangling, and styling it into special hairstyles took a long time.

© Jeangagnon / Wikimedia Commons

People even developed special hair products to maintain this long hair, promising to make it shine and be dandruff-free.

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This can be seen with the ad for the famous Edwards’ “Harlene” for the hair, a hair restorer that claimed to help it grow faster.

© Hulton Archive / Heritage Images / Contributor / Getty Images

Giving such long hair the kind of care it needed was a real privilege.

© Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images

On the contrary, lower-class women had neither the time to maintain those beautiful manes nor the money to invest in specific products.

© Library of Congress

Less fortunate women were lured into cutting their hair short to sell it for money.

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Moreover, long hair was a symbol of femininity and attractiveness.

© Dcoetzee / Wikimedia Commons

A woman’s hair is considered her most valuable asset so upper class women rarely wore their hair down in public.

© Longhairadmirer / Wikimedia Commons

Letting their hair down was seen as wild, and only reserved for models and actresses.

© Longhairadmirer / Wikimedia Commons

They were proud of themselves and some even proved to be ahead of their time, showing off this beautiful feature so the world could admire them.

© Pimbrils / Wikimedia Commons

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