The male wig was pioneered by King Louis XIII of France (16011643) in 1624. Perukes or periwigs for men were introduced into the English-speaking world with other French styles in 1660. Late 17th-century wigs were very long and wavy, but became shorter in the mid-18th century, by which time they were normally white. Short hair for fashionable men was a product of the Neoclassical movement. In the early 19th century the male beard, and also moustaches and sideburns, made a strong reappearance. From the 16th to the 19th century, European women's hair became more visible while their hair coverings grew smaller. In the middle of the 18th century the pouf style developed. During the First World War, women around the world started to shift to shorter hairstyles that were easier to manage. In the early 1950s women's hair was generally curled and worn in a variety of styles and lengths. In the 1960s, many women began to wear their hair in short modern cuts such as the pixie cut, while in the 1970s, hair tended to be longer and looser. In both the 1960s and 1970s many men and women wore their hair very long and straight. In the 1980s, women pulled back their hair with scrunchies. During the 1980s, punk hairstyles were adopted by some people.
Throughout times, people have worn their hair in a wide variety of styles, largely determined by the fashions of the culture they live in. Hairstyles are markers and signifiers of social class, age, marital status, racial identification, political beliefs, and attitudes about gender.
In many cultures, often for religious reasons, women's hair is covered while in public, and in some, such as Haredi Judaism or European Orthodox communities, women's hair is shaved or cut very short, and covered with wigs. Only since the end of World War I have women begun to wear their hair short and in fairly natural styles.
The oldest known reproduction of hair braiding lies back about 30,000 years: the Venus of Willendorf, now known in academia as the Woman of Willendorf, of a female figurine from the Paleolithic, estimated to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. The Venus of Brassempouy counts about 25,000 years old and indisputably shows hairstyling.
In ancient civilizations, women's hair was often elaborately and carefully dressed in special ways. Women coloured their hair, curled it, and pinned it up (ponytail) in a variety of ways. They set their hair in waves and curls using wet clay, which they dried in the sun and then combed out, or else by using a jelly made of quince seeds soaked in water, or curling tongs and curling irons of various kinds.