“Gimme a head with hair
Long, beautiful hair
Streaming, flaxen, waxen”
Cowsills – 1969 – “Hair”
So sings Berger in the classic 70smovie “Hair.”On the surface, this song is simply about having long hair. However, the truth is a lot more complex. This song is not only about the joy of having long hair but also about what long hair represents.
Back in the 60s and 70s, having long hair was a sign of rebellion. It was a sign of nonconformity and rejection of the establishment. At the time, this seemed quite radical. However, a quick look at history shows us that hairstyles have always acted as iconic symbols, depicting the prevailing mores of the culture at that time.
The fashionable history of hair and hairstyling
Believe it or not, hairstyling has been around for thousands of years, and archeologists have identified depictions of people with braided hair, dating back approximately 30,000 years.
Since ancient times, hairstyles have denoted the prevailing cultural practices. For example, ancient Egyptians considered long hair a sign of less wealth and lower status. Meanwhile, the ancient Greeks, a warrior society, considered it a sign of virility and extreme manliness.
Women’s hair and hairstyling have also been reflective of the values of society in any given era. Traditionally speaking, women’s hair and hairstyles have been indicative of beauty, sexual attractiveness, virtuousness, and femininity, all of which are social values attributed to women by society.
Hairstyles in modern society
Hair and hairstyling throughout the course of history have been inextricably linked with the prevailing social values, and this is also true in more recent times. Take, for example, the swinging sixties. In this period, society embodied contrasting values, and this contrast was exemplified by the different hairstyles of the time. On the one hand, there were the short back and sides, which represented traditional conservative values. On the other hand, there were the hippies, whose long hair represented the questioning of established values and symbolized change.
In the latter half of the 20th century, hairstyles were again linked with an image and the values it represented. In the 70s, there were the long-haired rockers, the frizzy Afro cut, and the slicked-back disco style. The 80s was a new decade, and with it came a new fashion sense. Tidy long hair was fashionable, along with short hair, featuring shaved sides and drooping bangs. Then, in the 90s, it was electronic music and short cropped hairstyles, emphasizing youthfulness and a party-until-you-drop attitude.
The new millennium came on with a whimper rather than the much-predicted bang. With it came a sort of combination of hairstyles. This new age incorporated all the styles and the images of preceding years into one big group. It was almost like an amalgamation of preceding styles and the segments of society they represented.
The business side of hairstyling
The haircare market in the United States is nothing short of huge. For example, it is estimated that the current hairstyling salon market in America will generate an impressive revenue of $47.4 billion by the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, the global haircare market in 2020 represented a total of $93.8 billion despite the ongoing pandemic. Analysts predict steady growth, and by 2024, they estimated that the hair care market would amass $102 billion.
The hair care business has many segments, and one of the biggest comprises hair care accessories. For example, the hair care accessories market was valued at $26.2 million in 2020, with projected revenue of $53.6 million by 2025.
When analyzing more specific segments of the hairstyling market, the numbers are still very impressive. For example, analysts estimated that the global hair styling tools market generated approximately $30.9 billion in 2019. Those same predictions forecast a total revenue figure of $39.9 billion by 2027.
Even when divided into smaller, more specific segments, the hair cutting tools market also continues to be profitable. Researchers showed that the global hair thinning shears market was valued at $93.0 million in 2019. Moreover, it is expected to grow at a rate of 5.4% from 2021 to 2027.
Haircare venues and distribution
One of the important aspects of the hair care industry is the venues and the distribution network. Perhaps the best-known places where you can purchase hair care products are hair care salons. However, the distribution network goes way beyond this. You can also purchase hair care products in barbershops, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, malls, and, of course, online.
People’s obsession with their hair only seems to be increasing. As long as this is the case, the future for hairstyling and its associated products is looking bright indeed.