At the beginning of the century, men hairstyles were more elaborated than women's. Still was in fashion the "Louis XIV style", with great curls and the hair shoulder-length. At the end of the century, the trend is reversed: women used towering masses of hair, rising 1 or more feet above the head. These wigs had some inconveniences: door frames should be elevated for they could pass through, and sometimes the pressure of heavy wigs on their heads caused serious inflammations on their temples.
At the middle of the century, the new king of France, Louis XV, imposed a smaller wig's style for men and the strictly white or grayish powdered hair. Men also wore since the middle of the century a single ponytail on the nape, tied with a bow, a very popular style in every European court at that time. Women continued with their extravagant styles until the French Revolution, when all the luxury and exuberance were vanished into the new republican ideas. Since then, hairstyles were more classic and simples.
Under the reign of Louis XV costumes changed and women's hairstyles became simpler. It was in fashion a hairstyle called "tête de mouton" (sheep head), with short curls and some locks on the nape. Women didn't wear wigs until 1770. Since then, hairstyles became more elaborated.
Philosophic changes, changes of the way of thinking, changed also the hairstyles. Little by little, people stopped to wear wigs, and the hair started to be natural, with no powder. The Revolution and the transformation of the whole system happened suddenly -although it was, in many ways, expected- by a legislative coup of the deputies of the bourgeoisie with the back up of part of the clergy and the nobility, but it was not that fast. All the images we can see today of Robespierre and Danton, chief leaders of the Revolution, show them with powdered wigs, until their death in the guillotine. Jean Paul Marat, however, the other revolutionary leader, already wore the new esthetic. And one of the principal men of the Revolution, the painter Jacques Louis David, was already absolutely inserted in the neo-classic style, in his works and in his personal appearance. As the neo-classicism became more popular, hairstyles changed. At the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte, very few people wore wigs; the Empire style shows all the politicians with their natural hair, combed in an informal way, symbol of a new age of independent thought. Military delayed more time in abandoning the old hairstyles, but in the Napoleon army all of them looked a natural hair. Women, at the end of the Revolution, stopped to use high and complicated hairstyles and wore their hair natural, with no powder, held with tortoise shell combs, pins, or ribbons, instead of elaborate ornaments.
Perhaps, the first people who stopped to use the old style of powdered wigs and much elaborated hairstyles, were, paradoxically, the same aristocrats who formerly started to spread around that fashion. Because of the fear of being recognized, and, furtherly imprisoned and guillotined during the Robespierre’s Reign of Terror (1790-1793) they went out of their houses with plain and simple clothes, and with natural haircuts; with no wigs, short hair, not covered, and, as too much, wearing coiffures of neo-classic style. In fact, they didn’t have too much opportunity to use the old hairstyles; at that time, in all European countries, styles and costumes also had changed. The Romantic Age, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, started with a completely different fashion.