One Thousand Beards

The History of Hair: Fashion and Fantasy Down the Ages

Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years

Women's Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles

Most of the illustrations below are from the story of Samson and Delilah (Judges 16). While I could certainly believe that the artists would be depicting Delilah with whatever ad hoc cutting tool a woman might have been handy – notice their similarity to shears for cutting fabric or shearing sheep – it seems that these spring scissors may have been a standard implement for cutting one's hair, judging by their presence in scenes in which a novice's hair is cut. Knives appear in a few of these illustrations, too. Pivoted scissors appear more frequently in the 16th and 17th century illustrations.

(For more on the subject of the history of scissors, see Medieval Finds from Excavations in London: Knives and Scabbards or Findings: The Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing.)

Some additional links on medieval & Renaissance hairstyles, including hair care recipes.