The 5 Hair Books you Need to Read in Lockdown (and After)

by akesha / last updated April 30, 2020

hair books recommendations from the hair historian

If you have more free time on your hands than ever while the salon is closed right now you might be looking for new tasks to occupy your day. If you want to be inspired and are over spending time scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest and Tik Tok, maybe it’s time to add a few more hair books to your pile.

“Books are great escapism during lockdown – and they’re great for giving you a break from obsessive Insta-scrolling or saving your eyes from the screen after a day of Zoom calls,” says The Hair Historian, Rachael Gibson. I love browsing through coffee table-style inspiration books to get new ideas for projects, and history books and biographies are my absolute favourite for reminding myself of why I love this industry and learning about someone new. Creative blocks are normal during times of crisis, when other things feel like a priority, but feeding your creativity and furthering your professional skillset in a low-impact way – even if it’s not something practical and obvious like cutting or colouring – is a really important aspect of self-care for me.”

Last week we welcomed Rachael the to our HJ Goes Live series and she gave us a run through of the top five books she would recommend to hairstylists. She says, “these are a few of my must-have hairdressing books, that provide a combination of inspiration and historical references. There are so many fantastic hairdressing books out there which help us to understand both the creative and cultural context of the industry, but hopefully these give a good spread of all aspects of hair.”

The Hair Historian Essential Book Recommendations

Haircults: Fifty Years of Styles and Cuts, Dylan Jones
Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution, Will Bashor
Hair: Fashion and Fantasy, Laurent Phillippon
Hairstyles: Ancient to Present, Charlotte Fiell and Antony Mascolo
Pretty: The Nylon Book of Beauty, Fiorella Valdesolo

Further Reading…

Photo books

Hair: Guido, Guido
Heads: Hair by Guido, Guido
Hair by Sam McKnight, Sam McKnight and Tim Blanks
Noodled, James Pecis
Hair Heroes, Michael Gordon
Hair’em Scare’em, Robert Klanten
Metamorphosis, Serge Normant
Her Style, Odile Gilbert
Ara Gallant, David Wills
Ladies’ Haircult, Giulia Pivetta

Reference books

Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years, Richard Corson
Encyclopedia of Hair, Victoria Sherrow
Beauty and Cosmetics 1550-1950, Sarah Jane Downing
The Barber Book, Phaidon
Hair Styles Of The World, Pepin Van Roojen

Academic books

Vidal: The Autobiography, Vidal Sassoon
Good Hair Days: A History of British Hairdressing, Caroline Cox
Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair, Emma Tarlo
Red: A History of the Redhead, Jacky Colliss Harvey

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