A guide to popular non-surgical cosmetic procedures

A guide to popular non-surgical cosmetic procedures

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Botox, collagen, peels and the rest – what are they, and how much do they cost

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky
April 24 2008

woman getting a botox injection in her lip

In a world that is becoming increasingly obsessed with youth and beauty, for many people the question is when, not if, they will use non-surgical cosmetic procedures. Some people may even indulge in multiple such procedures.

While some non-surgical cosmetic procedures are seen as benign, the truth is that all have some form of risk attached to them, and many are seriously costly. The more popular cosmetic procedures are the ones seen to be more cost-effective; partly because they are less painful and heal quicker; and partly because of the end result. These include the following:

  • Botox injections
  • Collagen injections
  • Chemical peels
  • Microderm abrasion
  • Muscle shock treatments

Botox Injections

Botox injections continue to be popular among certain individuals who don’t believe that skin treatments will make a big enough difference in their fine lines and wrinkles. Most people are now aware that botox is a derivative of botulism, a highly toxic poison than can be deadly in certain situations. Botox is injected underneath the skin of wrinkled areas to paralyze the underlying muscles, flattening out the covering skin to give a smoother appearance.

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The injections are most often used in the eleven shaped creases that develop between the eyebrows, on forehead lines, and in crow’s feet, but they can be used in other areas of the face as well. The procedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes and usually takes maximum effect within a couple of weeks. The bad news is that the procedure only lasts for about six months and then it is time to start the process all over again.

Pain wise, the procedure is relatively mild, only stinging for a second as the needle punctures the skin. Usually, the only side effect is a slight redness around the injection area. However, individuals who tend to bruise easily may experience some bruising for one to three days.

The cost for botox injections ranges from about $300 to $600 per injection. That means if you are having four areas on your face done, the cost will range between $1200 and $2400 every six months or so.

While the side effects of botox tend to be downplayed, the truth is that a slip of the needle can cause a myriad of problems, from a dropping eyelid to turning a smile into a long-term frown. Additionally, botox injections can, if overdoen, make the face look strange when you try to smile or laugh.

Collagen Injections

Also popular are collagen injections, which are most often used to plump up fading lips. They are also effective in plumping up forehead furrows and in the puppet lines around the mouth.

The newest forms of collagen, synthetic in nature, are far less likely to cause allergic reactions than those used about 10 years ago, though that risk still exists. Collagen injections are about as painful as botox injections. The pain is short-term, and again, those who tend to bruise easily may experience a little bit of black and blue for a day or two.

The procedure generally takes between one and two hours. Results can be seen almost immediately and most collagen injections will last for anywhere between three to six months. The cost is roughly the same as that of botox injections, averaging anywhere between $300 and $800 per site.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are used to remove the top layer of dead skin from the facial area. They are especially helpful for those individuals who suffer from skin problems like acne, dark pigmentation, blotchy looking skin, and dull looking skin.

The process generally involves a light layer of a special type of acid that is diluted by as much as 50 to 80 percent. The process doesn’t take long; only about 15 or 20 minutes maximum. Some forms of acid peels take much less time than that.

The sensation given by the peel is a slight burning similar to that experienced from staying out in the sun too long. Once the peel is removed, the skin may be slightly pink or even red for several days. In some instances, some individuals will find their skin somewhat scaly. However, that will also diminish and go away within a short period of time. Although rare, it is possible to obtain a fairly severe burn from a chemical peel.

The cost of chemical peels averages between about $200 and $500, depending upon the specific type of peel involved and, of course, the physician doing the procedure. Unfortunately, they will need to be repeated regularly, making the cost thousands of dollars within any given year.

Microderm abrasion

Microderm abrasion is probably the single most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure taking place across the world today. Once a procedure that was only performed in a physician’s office, microderm abrasion can now be done in the comfort of your own home, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.

In this procedure, crystals are mixed with a skin cream and applied via a rotating tool. The device massages the crystalline cream into the skin to help gently slough off dead skin cells from the facial area. It is helpful to those with pigmentation problems, dull-looking skin, and in some instances even useful for those suffering from acne scars. Done in the doctor’s office, the procedure takes roughly 30 minutes. At home, most of the portable microderm abrasion systems can be completed in as little as about 10 minutes.

In some instances, the crystals can cause redness that looks a bit like a sunburn and some irritation or scratchiness in its wake. This will generally pass fairly quickly. However, if the procedure is done too roughly it can cause damage to the outer layer of skin, causing a painful reaction.

The cost of microderm abrasion in the doctor’s office will run between $100 and $300 per treatment. Treatments will need to be repeated on a very regular basis; as much as once a week. Done at home, portable microderm abrasion systems range between $40 and $350 and can be used two to three times a week after the break in period.

Muscle Shock treatments

Another non-surgical cosmetic procedure attempts to rebuild or “plump up” the underlying facial muscles with very light shock treatments. The extra benefit of such treatments is that you can somewhat sculpt your face by plumping up particular muscle areas like those around the cheek bones, on the forehead, or around the jaw line. Such procedures are done by plastic surgeons, in some beauty spas, and can even be done at home with portable machines like Suzanne Somers’ FaceMaster.

There is a slight tingling feeling to the shock treatments. If it is too strong the treatment needs to be scaled back; luckily with this treatment that is easily accomplished. There should not be any side effects to this process if done correctly. However, if the electric shocks are excessive and you don’t get your physician to make the adjustment, there is an outside chance of temporary irritation of muscle tissue. Even then, the effects should pass within hours.

In-office treatments need to be repeated at least three times a week, and at anywhere from $200 to $500 per treatment they can be expensive. On the other hand, the cost of a portable at home machine like the FaceMaster is less than $100 and will last for years to come. At home treatments can then be done every day if you so choose. You can also choose to refresh certain areas of the face on an as-needed basis, to achieve your own customized program.

And finally…

There are dozens of other cosmetic procedures, many of which are growing in popularity with each passing year. These include laser work, light source collagen building, and dermaplaning. Watch this space for further articles on the topic!

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Review: Neutrogena Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector

Review: Neutrogena Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector

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A concealer that really does soothe those under-eye circles away

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky
June 14 2007

Neutrogena Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector

The search for the perfect concealer

Women have been searching for the perfect concealer for decades. The problem is that there is no single concealer that is perfect for everyone. Locating the correct concealer for your skin type and skin tone can be both frustrating and expensive.

There are a large variety of concealer products on the market today; all claiming the ability to hide the luggage we carry under our eyes. There are powders, creams, liquids and sticks. There are pots, tubes, wands, and pens. Most of them work on the right type of skin, but fail miserably when applied incorrectly.

I have very delicate, thin skin that is compounded further by my age. I also suffer from insomnia and allergies; two more issues that often make undereye circles more prominent. Needless to say, the bluish-purple circles under my eyes give me great pause.

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I’ve been searching for the perfect concealer since I turned 40. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot more misses than hits. However, occasionally I get lucky and find something that works for me.

Neutrogena’s Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector

One of my current undereye concealers of choice is Neutrogena’s Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector. I initially chose the product because I have found over the years that Neutrogena make-up works well with my type of skin. I also like that the company spends a great deal of time on clinical testing before putting their products on the shelf. Their standards are rigorous and their reputation in the beauty industry is impeccable.

I like Neutrogena’s Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector because it is lightweight and creamy, which is essential for my aging skin. The product feels soothing to the eye as it goes on, delivering a wonderful cool sensation. It has a silky-smooth in texture that blends like a breeze. Best of all, it really does help to eliminate puffiness and minimize dark undereye circles.

The easy-to-use pen applicator is ingenious and the brush tip allows me to use as much or as little concealer as I need. The dial mechanism prevents excess product waste, allowing me to dispense only the amount needed for each application. The light reflectors in the product give a simulated “lift” to the eye and the illusion of being well rested and radiant.

Because I have severe allergies, I tend to have watery eyes. However, for the most part, Neutrogena’s Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector holds up well without needing constant touch ups. The product is non-irritating to even my sensitive skin and it doesn’t clog my small pores. It removes easily with soap and water or any skin cleanser.

On the negative side, the concealer currently comes in only two shades – natural light and soft light. While natural light is the perfect shade for my fair skin, it obviously will not work for darker skin tones. Hopefully, the company is in the process of adding additional shades to their collection.

The cost may be an issue for some people. It is about US$8.99 for a .05 oz pen, which should last about six weeks if used daily. There are obviously cheaper products on the market, so each individual needs to weigh the pros and cons for themselves.

For me, overall, the pros far outweigh the cons of this product. I think it’s a winner worthy of four out of five stars.

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Sundays With Tabs the Cat, Makeup and Beauty Blog Mascot, Vol. 753

Sundays With Tabs the Cat, Makeup and Beauty Blog Mascot, Vol. 753

The flight back from Stockholm this morning was a little bumpy, but Rosie sure is happy to be back home.

As you know, she won her first (of many, we hope) Nobel Cat Prize this year for her groundbreaking research into creating the most delicious and nutritious cat treats in the world. With her team of dedicated scientists at the Cat Treat Research Institute (CTRI), they created some amazing new treats she can’t wait to share, including a new tuna-flavored crunchy made from 100% cheese.

For cats who live in inland countries far from the ocean, it promises to greatly improve their quality of life.

The view from Rosie’s 5-star hotel room in Stockholm the night before she received her Nobel Cat Prize.

She only had a couple days in Stockholm, but she did spend one of them sightseeing around the city with her friend Dr. Koko, who’s also a renowned torbie scientist.

Wait — have I mentioned about the Nobel Cat Prize before? I just realized that I’m not sure I told you about it.

Yeah! She was thrilled and honored by the news. She’s dreamed about winning a Nobel Cat Prize ever since she was a kitten, so this was one of her greatest accomplishments.

We’re all very proud… 😊


Tabs, of course, was brilliant in a multitude of ways, but he was more of a party animal than a scientist.

When it came to cat treats, he dabbled in new cat treat development, but he was always more interested in eating cat treats than making them…

And he was much better known for his kitty supermodeling and his ability to throw amazing parties than for his work in the kitchen or the research lab. 😸

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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Hair dyes – choosing the right hair color for you

Hair dyes – choosing the right hair color for you

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Get the right shade and product for the effect you want

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky
August 12 2007

woman dyeing her hair

It is estimated that somewhere between 65 and 75 percent of women dye their hair. Even more interesting, however, is the fact that a significant percentage of men are joining in the trend. While women dye for a variety of reasons, men primarily use coloring products to cover their gray or to bring back the depth of their natural hair color.

Women have been dyeing their hair for hundreds of years. It is believed that ancient Egyptians started the practice. Women today dye their hair for a lot of reasons; sometimes they are simply looking for a change, at other times they just want to brighten their natural color – the reasons for dyeing are as numerous as the colours that are now available in today’s marketplace. But how does a woman decide on the right color and/or the right type of hair dye?

Choosing Your Hair Dye

It is important to understand the various types of hair dyes in order to choose the right one for your hair. Since most dyes contain chemicals that can damage the hair if used improperly, choosing the right dye is extremely important. To ensure the least amount of hair damage, it is best to choose a color that blends well with your natural color; the lighter in color you choose to dye your hair, the greater chance you will incur severe hair damage.

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To ensure the least amount of hair damage possible, most dyeing procedures should be done in a salon. However, realistically a lot of us simply can’t afford that option and will, therefore, opt to do the dyeing ourselves. This makes it all the more important to choose the right type of dye.

Permanent Hair Dye

Permanent hair dyeing employs a procedure that strips the existing hair cuticle of its color and prepares it for the infusion of a new shade. As the natural hair color grows back in, the dye only has to be applied to the roots in order to maintain the color. While permanent hair dye may help you achieve the look that you want, particularly if you are opting to go much lighter than your natural shade, maintaining the colour can be both complex and expensive. Exposure to the sun and certain types of chemicals like chlorine can alter the overall color, cause it to fade, or make it lose its luminosity.

Doing your own permanent hair color is highly discouraged. This process should be done in a beauty salon by professionals who are trained to do the job properly.

Semi-permanent hair dye

Semi-permanent hair dye is the most popular choice on the market today. These dyes can last anywhere between eight to 20 washes, depending upon the brand of dye used and the condition of the hair. There are a number of color-enhancing glazes and shampoos that can effectively help to extend the length of time between colorings.

Like permanent dyes, semi-permanent hair color also penetrates into the hair shaft. However, it does not penetrate to the same depth and, therefore, generally causes less hair damage. The lighter in color you go from your natural shade, however, the more damage you risk. For this reason, it is suggested that you stay within one to two lighter shades of your natural color. While you can afford to go a bit darker than two shades, do not assume that means there will be no hair damage – this will be largely dependent upon the condition of the hair at the time the dye was applied.

Semi-permanent colors can, of course, change the color of your hair altogether or they can merely brighten your natural color. There are dozens of good semi-permanent hair colors on the market today, ranging in shades from Nordic blonde to raven black. There are those that claim to infuse moisture as you color; those that say they condition as you color; and those that guarantee multiple shadings for the most natural looking color.

The hardest part of the semi-permanent process may well be determining which brand and color to choose. Clairol and L’Oreal are always good choices, but Garnier Nutrisse is also growing quickly in popularity. Many people claim it is the least damaging to the hair, though I have not verified this personally.

Temporary hair dyes

Temporary hair dyes generally come in the form of rinses, gels, pastes, mousses, or sprays. These dyes merely coat the surface of the hair. They do not actually lift your original color from the cuticle or in any way penetrate the hair shaft. They wash out easily, generally lasting only one to three shampoos. For this reason, this form of coloring is highly popular with the younger set who often like to dye their hair to match their outfits or their mood at the time.

While this form of coloring doesn’t penetrate the hair, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t cause hair damage. Some products on the market are rather harsh, making the hair hard or brittle and easily prone to breakage. As much caution should be used in choosing a temporary hair dye as any other form of hair coloring. Some of the most popular brands of temporary hair dyes include Paintbox Extreme Colors by Fudge and Good Look Color Mousse.

Gradual / progressive hair dyes

Gradual or progressive dyes are most popular with men. These dyes contain a lead acetate that penetrates the hair cuticle to react with the hair’s protein and sulfurs, thereby darkening the hair shaft. The more often the dye is used, the darker in color the hair becomes. The less it is used, the quicker it will return to the yellow or gray color that the dye was meant to cover. Grecian Formula and Just for Men are two excellent hair colors that fall within the gradual or progressive dye category. Both have been around for a long time and there is a reason for that. They actually work!


One of today’s hottest trends is, of course, highlighting the hair. This form has the potential for causing either the most or the least hair damage of all. It can cause a great deal of damage if used over hair that has already been dyed with other hair products, chemically treated to curl or straighten, or if you attempt to go too many shades lighter than your natural color. It can cause the least damage if done properly because highlighting only involves changing the color of small strands of hair rather than the entire head.

The purpose of highlighting – with the exception of chunking – is to create a sun-streaked look by lightening the hair where the sunrays might naturally fall. This dyeing process gives the hair better depth of color and a visual texture. Generally, it is best to choose a highlighting shade that is within one or two shades of your natural color. At any rate, most beauticians do not recommend going more than three shades lighter.

There are four main ways to do highlights: foiling, painting, chunking and lowlighting. Foiling and lowlighting should always be done in a salon. However, chunking and painting can be done via a kit much in the same manner as other types of hair coloring. The important thing to remember, if you opt to do your own, is to follow the instructions as outlined in the highlighting kit.

There are lots of highlighting kits available today. Some of the best include Nutrisse Nourishing Multilights, L’Oreal’s Chunking, Feria Quick Shimmer Highlights, Couleur Experte and more. Some are strictly meant to be used over natural hair colors while others can be used over semi-permanent dyes as well. Be sure you read the box thoroughly to make certain your highlighting choice will work on your hair.

Choosing the right hair color for you

Once you have decided what type of dye you want to use and which brand you want to choose, it is time to think about your color. You should begin by determining your skin tone.

Cool skin tones generally have very pale skin with pink or no undertone. Those with lighter skin may have a bluish-red undertone. If this seems to describe you, choose a hair color like platinum or a cool ash blonde or wheat to chestnut brown. Avoid red shades that will not accent your natural coloring.

Those with medium to deeper cool skin tones generally have an olive undertone. If you fall within this category, you will look stunning in dark browns, deep burgundy reds, or even bluish black hairs.

Warm skin tones generally have a peach or golden undertone. Those who fall into the lighter category generally have ivory, creamy beige, peaches and cream, or a golden tan skin color. If this describes you, you will look best in lighter hair colors with a decidedly warm undertone like beige blondes, strawberry reds, and pale golden browns.

Those who have slightly warmer skin tones tend to have more of a yellow-red undertone. You will look great in richer shades like deep honey blondes, chestnut browns, or copper reds.

Hair Coloring Tips

Now that you are all set to color, here are a few tips to follow:

  1. To wash or not to wash; that IS the question. Many hairdressers disagree on this subject. Some say that excess hair product will interfere with proper coloring. Others believe that the natural oils of the hair will help prevent excessive damage. I say, read the box of the color chosen and follow their directions. They know what is best for their particular product.
  2. Trim split ends before coloring. This will help to ensure a nice, even hair color.
  3. If you intend to condition your hair, do it after you dye it or at least one week before you dye. Do not condition it immediately before dyeing. The color may not take properly if you do because many conditioners put a coating on the hair shaft that will prevent the hair color from achieving its ultimate goal.
  4. Check for possible allergic reactions before you dye your hair. Follow the procedures laid out in the instructions provided inside your hair color box.
  5. Do a strand test first to make certain the color will take the way you want it to. Again, follow the directions laid out by the hair color manufacturer.
  6. Wear protective gloves while dyeing and protect the skin around your hairline.
  7. Follow the timing instructions laid out for your chosen hair color. Do not leave the dye on longer than outlined.
  8. Do not attempt to dye your eyebrows or eyelashes with hair dye.
  9. Do not mix various hair dye products together. Their differing components could cause hair breakage and will alter the ultimate color.
  10. Seek professional assistance if the color comes out incorrectly, your hair is damaged, or you are uncertain of how to proceed further. Most hair color brands provide a toll-free hotline to help with these kinds of problems.

With everything available in today’s marketplace, dyeing your hair at home is easier than ever before. The important thing to remember is to follow the procedures outlined in your chosen dye’s instructions. If you do, chances are good that you will achieve exactly the look that you want.

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Getting a good night's sleep

Getting a good night's sleep

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Why sleep matters, and how to get enough of it

Author: Doreen Corbey
February 9 2011

sleeping woman

Difficulty in falling asleep, sleeping fitfully, wakefulness during the night; these are only a few of the more than 80 documented sleep problems that exist. What is worrying is that almost 30% of the population cannot get to sleep, or have too little sleep so often that it becomes ‘normal’ for them. Of course there are physical discomforts that can become obstacles to good sleep such as the temperature of the room, feeling sick, pain, noise. There are others such as changing of the clock like with jet lag.

Our bodies follow a “circadian rhythm”, which is an approximate 24-hour period in our internal biological clock and is important in controlling sleep patterns, body temperature, hormone activity, cell regeneration and brain wave activity. We know the common symptoms of lack of sleep, which are tiredness and lack of concentration during the day, but there are others that are less well known. Too little sleep can increase weight gain and lead to high blood pressure.

When you regularly go with insufficient sleep, your immune system is suppressed so you can become more vulnerable to illnesses and take longer to fight them off. In addition your body produces less growth hormone, which fights ageing. A stress response is triggered which affects blood vessels in the skin which again contributes to ageing. So having too little sleep can affect how long you live.

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People who work night shifts also fall under the effects of too little sleep. Being awake during the night alters your body’s circadian rhythm and slows down the rate at which energy is burned off. Your cell regeneration process is also disrupted so repair and regrowth of cells is not as efficient. So doing regular night shifts can be a causative factor in obesity and tired-looking skin.

How much sleep is enough? Although this varies with each person, most adults need 7-8 hours, while babies and young children who are growing need much more and older people less, maybe even down to 6 hours a night. Surprisingly, you can also suffer consequences from too much sleep. Sleeping too long can lead to a vicious circle of low energy, feeling tired and needing more sleep, and can eventually lead to depression. Researchers at Warwick University found that sleeping over 8 hours a night or less than 5 hours a night could double your risk of heart disease.

Just as vital is how well you sleep. Some believe that how long you sleep is not as important as long as you get into deep sleep. So when do we reach that? There are 4 stages to sleep. The first is just after you’ve fallen asleep and is light. Muscles relax and the heart slows down.

At stage 2, we have REM or rapid eye movement. This is when we dream. Stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep, also called slow wave sleep or non-REM. You usually get to the deep sleep stage an hour after first falling asleep and it is normal to complete the whole cycle from stage 1 through to stage 4 in 90 minutes. You then continue to go through this cycle of REM followed by non-REM sleep during the night. During these stages your body goes through all sorts of processes to build proteins, regenerate cells and repair damage. It is also believed that during REM sleep we process the information of that day. It is understandable then that sleep problems can cause physical and mental issues.

Aids to sleep

It is often said that routine helps in getting a good night’s sleep. The parenting books recommend this for babies, and adults should adopt the same prescription for themselves. If you go to bed drunk or take sleeping tablets, although you may fall asleep easily, your non-REM or slow wave sleep is disrupted. Avoid caffeine and fizzy drinks in the run-up before bedtime. It is advisable to use the bedroom for sleeping and not watching TV or working on the computer.

Many people find that herbal remedies help . For children Californian Poppy tincture has mild sedative properties. A traditional American Indian recipe, it can help with difficulty in falling asleep and waking during the night. Herbal remedies for adults include:

  • Rhodiola Rosea to promote serotonin levels and uplift depressed states;
  • B-complex particularly B6 with folic acid to promote serotonin levels, help with leg cramps and restless leg syndrome;
  • Valerian helps in getting to sleep and increases deep sleep or slow wave sleep;
  • Magnesium reduces muscular tension;
  • L-Tryptophan is particularly helpful with insomniacs as it reduces the time in getting to sleep;
  • Vervain calms and restores the nervous system, a relaxing herb.

Being an aromatherapy enthusiast I always have an oil on hand to help with most ailments. There are several ways to apply an oil. The beauty editors’ favourite recommendation is to take a bath but make sure you don’t have much else to do after this. Never drop your essential oil neat into the bath water. An essential oil neat in water can burn you, and also the oil needs a fatty substance to help spread it, so dilute it into a carrier oil (such as almond, sunflower, olive oil) or milk before dispersing this into the bath water.

Another way to use an oil is in a burner where hot or cold air disperses the aroma through the room. You can massage oils into your skin, again diluting first in a carrier oil. The last way is to drop the oil directly onto the bedding so that you breathe it in. I prefer to use a cloth or handkerchief just in case the smell becomes over-powering. Be aware also that the smells will linger on past the night, so with a cloth, you can remove it in the morning. Oils to use are: bergamot, chamomile, lavender, marjoram, Melissa, neroli, rose absolute, rosewood, vetiver.

A final recommendation that you might have tried when you were revising for exams is to read a book in bed. No, not a thrilling, can’t-put-down book, I mean a textbook. I guarantee, within 5 minutes, you’ll be snoring.

About the Author

Doreen has had a passion for massage since she was 15 years old. She still has that passion, and offers massage, specialist facials and other beauty treatments in her home-based salon in Surrey. With any energy left over she will devour all the beauty pages of all the magazines she can lay her hands on!

Doreen’s homepage: Bellessence

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A clipped history of the wig

A clipped history of the wig

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A lightning tour of wigs through the ages

Author: Jane Cooper
August 12 2007

woman in baroque wig

In our modern day society, most wig are either covering hair loss, working in a theatre or within our judiciary system, rather than being fashion accessories. But that is exactly what they have been for thousands of years. In this article we’ll do a lightning tour of the history of wigs, to see what we’re missing out on!

All the way back in Ancient Egypt, noblemen and women clipped their hair close to their heads due to the heat, but on ceremonial occasions the ladies long and braided wigs with gold or ivory pins embedded within them. This gave them a look of grandeur while protecting their heads from the sun.

Ancient Greeks and Romans also wore wigs as a fashion accessory. Roman women had their wigs made using human hair either from India, which would be dark in colour, or in lighter shades from Northern European areas. The wigs helped disguise hair damaged by the hair dyes they used to cover grey hair, as well as enhancing their appearance.

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Between the fall of the Roman Empire until the 16th Century, wigs (known as “periwigs” until the word was shortened in 1675) fell out of fashion and were no longer used as sun protection. But then came Queen Elizabeth I, a trend-setter of her time with her lily-white complexion and curly red wig. It was the prematurely balding King Louis XIII of France that made wearing a wig popular amongst men, and by the reign of Louis XIV all European nobility were wearing them.

By the reign of Louis XVI the technique known as ventilating – tying knots in the hair as in rug-making – had made its appearance, and the same methods are still used today.

Wigs were not just used to improve appearance, but also due to the dirty, unsanitary living conditions of those times. It was easier to shave your head to prevent head lice and wear a wig, which was then easier to de-louse.

Since wigs were expensive to purchase and keep in good condition, it was chiefly the wealthy who wore them. By the time the 18th Century had arrived, the size and décor of wigs had becoem very elaborate. White powdered wigs with long ringlets tied back with a black bow were worn by men, while women wore styles that were modelled over a cage. The more imaginative the lady, the more elaborate the wig. This is where the English expression ‘bigwig’ comes from, meaning a person of quality, or as a reference to the British judiciary who wore wigs in court then as they do now.

Today it is only the judiciary that fly the flag for the exotic wig of high status, but I find it is a shame that wigs are not be the popular fashion accessory they once were. Why not take a leaf out of the history book and add a wig to your own wardrobe?

About the Author

Jane is a qualified beauty therapist, and owner of the ‘Tooty Beauty’ salon in the West Midlands.

Jane’s homepage

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