Sometimes, on my photographic walks, I felt very surprised by unusual haircuts and barbershops as well as the places where they took place.

Hairdressing as an occupation dates back thousands of years. Ancient art drawings and paintings have been discovered depicting people working on another person's hair.

In Africa, it was believed in some cultures that a person's spirit occupied his or her hair, giving hairdressers high status within these communities. The status of hairdressing encouraged many to develop their skills, and close relationships were built between hairdressers and their clients. Hours would be spent washing, combing, oiling, styling and ornamenting their hair. Men would work specifically on men and women on other women. Before a master hairdresser died, they would give their combs and tools to a chosen successor during a special ceremony.

In ancient Egypt, hairdressers had specially decorated cases to hold their tools, including lotions, scissors and styling materials. Barbers also worked as hairdressers, and wealthy men often had personal barbers within their homes. With the standard of wig wearing within the culture, wigmakers were also trained as hairdressers.

In ancient Rome and Greece household slaves and servants took on the role of hairdressers, including dyeing and shaving. Men who did not have their own private hair or shaving services would visit the local barbershop. Women had their hair maintained and groomed at their homes. Historical documentation is lacking regarding hairstylists from the 5th century until the 14th century. Hair care service grew in demand after a papal decree in 1092 demanded that all Roman Catholic clergymen remove their facial hair.

Beauty salons became popularized during the 20th century, alongside men's barbershops. These spaces served as social spaces, allowing women to socialize while having their hair did and other services such as facials. Wealthy women still had hairdressers visiting their home, but most of the women visited salons for services including high-end salons such as Elizabeth Arden's Red Door Salon

Source: Victoria Sherrow (2006). Encyclopedia of hair: a cultural history. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 161–164. ISBN 978-0-313-33145-9. Retrieved 15 September 2011.

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