December 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Madame de Pompadour 

One of the most influential French women of her day, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson was born on this day in 1721. She became Marquise de Pompadour and great companion of King Louis XV, she aided some to more elevated positions in court, and she was a patroness of such intellectuals as Voltaire and Diderot. We are mostly familiar with her name, however, for a hairdo named after her!

A pompadour is a hairstyle in which hair is brushed up from the forehead, often into a clip or a roll. It is often achieved with the use of hair gel (or even, back in the day, with wax), with a pad or hair appliance that produces a “bump,” or by ratting some hair and then combing other hair high and over.

Although Madame de Pompadour made the style popular with French women of the 1700s, it is also associated with the 1950s and Elvis Presley, rockabilly and Johnny Cash, Italian and Mexican Americans, Japanese gangs, and Conan O'Brien!

Learn about Hair History!

Best bet for a quick tour of hair history: The Way of the Hair

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