Coiffures Francaises (or French Hairstyles)

To participate in the first ever Weekly HubMob topic All About Various Popular Hair Styles: Their history and how to create them, I thought it would be fun to explore the French Braid, in honor of my daughter who is now blogging about her efforts to earn money for a trip to France.

I learned to French Braid as a child on a horse's tail. That's right, a horse's tail. My mom taught riding lessons and had us on the 4H circuit where I tried (and mostly failed) to show Hunt Seat.

How To Braid a Horse's Tail

Is a French Braid Really French?

Of course Hunt Seat is an English riding style, not French, and I wondered if French Braids might be kind of like French Fries and not necessarily French at all. I didn't get much help from google, just a couple of smart alec responses on Yahoo Answers with no citations or references.

Coincidentally, I needed to call my daughter's French teacher to discuss some of the details of the upcoming trip to France, so I decided to ask her if she knew if French Braids really originated in France. She said she didn't think so. "What about a French Twist?" I asked. She still didn't think so.

In my searches of "History of French Braid" and "French Hairstyle History" and various other keyword combinations, I discovered a lot of fun information about coiffures francaises.

How to French Braid

How to "do" a French Twist

French Inspired Hairstyles

I learned that Marie Antoinette inspired the Beehive. And then I learned that it was a US invention. I guess it's confused with the fontage. But then the fontage is confusing, too. Some sites say it is a huge, elaborately decorated hair style, often requiring ladders for the hair dressers. Others say it is the hair piece itself, also somewhat large, but worn with a rather closely pinned hairstyle.

And the pompadour, made popular by the likes of Johnny Cash and Elvis, was named for Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of King Louis XV. But apparently Madame inspired a feminine hairstyle. She sounds like quite the influential woman of her time, but did she really influence guys to wear that awful hairdo?

The truth is researching this article left me very confused. I'll be glad when my daughter learns a bit more French and can help me sort out the facts.


My Style


It turns out, I tend to wear somewhat French hairstyles, at least in name. According to Hairstyle, c. 1380-1410, France, "An often overlooked French style consists of very tightly curled, jaw-length hair." Mine is a bit more than jaw-length now, but I found that a curly-curly perm was the only way I could let my thick, course hair grow. I just don't have the patience for styling! After years of frustration, then more years of perming, I now have long curly hair that I can mousse and go. Mousse. I bet that's a french word, right?

When I want my hair off of my neck, I pull it back and twist it from the nape, then clip it. I learned that my "style" is a loose French Twist. And now and then I'll French Braid my hair to get it out of my eyes.


In Conclusion

I apologize. I was the wrong person to write this hub. I have no sense of style. I refuse to spend more than thirty seconds or so "fixiing" my hair. The French deserve better. Maybe my daughter will help me update this hub when she returns from her trip to France.

Anyone think this is a bit overly-promotional? Wait - I only used two links to that domain, so I should be okay, right?

I Almost Forgot!

I can use that "hair dye" tag - French chemist Eugene Schueller invented the first synthetic hair dye in 1907. Schueller was the founder of L'Oreal, the maker of not only my favorite color products, but my very favorite styling products for curls. Scrunch and Go!

French Tidbits from other Hubbers

I'm learning so much about hair from this HubMob! I thought I'd add this section to keep my French theme up-to-date with the latest and greatest related information from my fellow hubbers.

In The Mop Top larryfreeman notes:

"In September, 1961, Paul and John traveled to Paris to visit their friend Jurgen Vollmer whom they had met in Hamburg. The first "Beatle haircut" of Paul and John happened in Paris. George got his haircut when Paul and John returned. "

Shadesbreath notes in Hairstyles of the British Court: Whigs in Wigs:

"Wigs found cosmetic use in 1624 when the French king, Louis the XIII - known as "Louis the Bald" ("Flip Your Wig") - began wearing one to cover up his onset baldness."

By the way, the English peruke is from the French perruque, an adaptation of the Italian perruca or parrucca according to Online Encylopedia.

Rochelle Frank astutely points out that "A lot of salons seem to think that having a French name is classy, or even Klassy." in Harebrained Names for Beauty Salons. I think she is on to something, and perhaps explains the name for French Braid.

Enjoy more hairstyle articles from the HubMob.

Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url:

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Comments 15 comments

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Very well done and informative hub :)

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Very cute and informative, Dineane. Good luck to your daughter and her trip to France!

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you Univited Writer and Shirley :-) It was fun, even if a bit frustrating!

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

Your ending made me laugh. You wrote a really nice hub and then apologized at the end. You should have some French vanilla ice cream and a french roast coffee and enjoy them while you read some hubs. :)

spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA


To hell with the hair...let's grab our fishing poles and go fishing :) I'm like you when it comes to hair fashion. I dunk my head under a sink, toss in some sorta leave-in conditioner or mousse and let my convertible do the blow-drying. :)

Good hub...and I don't understand the French either.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

That kiss they came up with is pretty good though.

spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

Actually, it didn't start off as kissing from what I've heard. Prior to the revolution, when everyone was REAAAAALLLY hungry all the time, it was an accepted method of supplimenting your daily diet by fishing around in other people's mouths for tasty bits of food left behind....

:) Gross, huh?

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

What about french fries, french polish and french skipping? Let's face it. Where would we be without the French and their ingenious inventions?

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, Shades...I'll pass on the ice cream but am enjoying that coffee as I type. Spryte, I could have lived without that kissing is better than history, I think, too. And Amanda, the jury is still out on fries - Belguim claims 'em too. Besides my fishing excuse, I seldom go for a manicure because I can't resist the extra bucks for the french polish! What is french skipping? off to google...thanks, All, for the comments!

Ananta65 8 years ago

Très bien! :)

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

I'll have to share this with my wife, she used to wear a french braid some years back.

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Pretty cool that you learned to french braid on a horse's tail and yes we have the same french braid video. Nice hub dineane

Research Analyst profile image

Research Analyst 8 years ago

my mom used to french braid my hair when I was a little girl.


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

Very interesting! I loved it when my mother french braided my hair. I just cannot seem to master it with my girls.

Meg McNeal profile image

Meg McNeal 7 years ago

Great hubpage. I have very thick hair and always wondered why there wasn't more information on how to manage thick hair. I have my hair braided all the time and love to learn more about braided hair. Here is one site that I have found that I enjoy

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