Victorian Women with Very Long Hair: Stunning Historical of Women Who Never Cut Their Hair, 1860-1900

A woman’s hair was considered an essential part of her appearance in the Victorian era, defining her status and femininity. This was done in part so that elaborate updo could be treated using the thick hair that grew rather than using rats, pads, or the Victorian versions of hair extensions. To add volume to a hairstyle, many women would use rats made from their hair, even if they had very long hair.

In Victorian times, letting her hair down was not just an idiom; it was an act that was only performed in the bedroom when a woman took out her hairpins and brushed her long hair. She could only be seen that way by her husband (or her maid). Still, the romantic notion of flowing tresses implying femininity was shown in paintings and advertising – beautiful women with impossible amounts of hair.

Usually, the women with long, cascading hair portrayed intimacy and romance as models and actresses. Women’s hair was the focal point of sexual interest in Victorian society, the primary expression of their femininity among the middle and upper classes.

The neatness of Victorian hair was one of the essential aspects. No matter the style, it had to be clean and shiny. It was challenging for the poorer classes to maintain long tresses amid the disease and poor hygiene. Women often sold their hair for cash. During this period, hairstyles focused on the overall silhouette of the human body. Victorian hairstyles were designed to make the body appear balanced.

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Written by Alicia Linn

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  1. I wonder if they all really wanted long hair or if they did it for their husbands. I notice that all the hair is in poor condition. Every photo end with lifeless, hard, unconditioned hair. The pictures actually show hair that needs the love and attention of today’s wonderful haircare products.

    • Each generation has its own style statement, and long hair was one of them. Personally, I disagree with hair care products. In terms of hair, they probably had the healthiest hair compared to us. Their hair was always braided and they didn’t use chemicals on a regular basis.

      • Most women never cut their hair for biblical reasons. “A woman’s hair is given to her for a glory.” “If she be shorn, let her also be shaven.” (Insinuating that she may as well be a harlot.) So very few women cut their hair until the 20s, when young women began bobbing their hair and many were appalled by this.

        • I would leave my hair alone even if I didn’t have those reasons. Modern products and brushes and combs make it easy to take care of. You can do so many awesome styles and yes, it’s totally sexy. Women today often wear ugly hairstyles that make them look cheap. Let’s get back to some pretty hairstyles. Some people are unable to grow hair this long. However, if you leave your hair alone and take good care of it, you’ll be surprised at how easy and natural it is to take care of.

  2. Those Victorian women must have been crazy to tolerate all that hair! I know that they had split ends right up to the crown. In the summertime, I’m sure they had a lot of sweat rolling down their necks and faces. There was no way air could reach the scalp, and I know sleeping with all that mess would be uncomfortable.

    • During that time, there were no hair products. Eggs, milk, and bran were used to cleanse the scalp and moisturize the hair. A woman would use fresh beef marrow to set her curls and condition her scalp. After it dried, the curls would set, and egg yolk was applied like hairspray. Brushing and combing were used to keep long hair healthy and tangle-free, and they slept with silk inside their bonnets to protect their hair from damage caused by household products. The typical shampoo for monthly hair washing in 1889 was borax, olive oil, and water.

  3. When you use modern conventional hair products, your hair doesn’t get much longer than your back. You’re spitting out sulfates. Women in the early 1900s were convinced that they needed harsh detergents by shaming them (the same strategy used today, even by our peers). The best hair I’ve ever had was when I stopped using modern products. As long as we are taught that our beauty is our worth, there will always be women who believe lies about beauty. In modern times, self-damage while being taught to like it has been perfected.