Comb on over!

Hold the phone, and the comb! 

Most believe that the birth of the head-hider can be traced back to early 1492. Yes, you read that right, we are talking about the comb-over, history’s most deplored (or revered, depending if you’re donning one yourself) hairstyle.

The trendsetter himself, Pope Alexander VI, one day decided to create a do to end all dos; a style that would rid the world of unsightly skull caps, or so he believed, as far too many members of the Catholic church were adorning them to hide their receding hairlines. He sought help from his close companion Charles VIII of France, bestowing his outrageous idea to him one evening over supper.

Unfortunately for Charles, his task was not an easy one because the pope was severely balding, yet refused to have any sort of haircut whatsoever. Charles had a plan however and after many hours of drawings and testings on live models, he secured the final style design and thus, the comb-over came to fruition. Charles pushed, pulled and flipped the kings remaining hair strands and created a “masterpiece” (his words not ours).

The pope was elated and he could not wait to show his cardinals later that evening at mass. Of course the cardinals were not as accepting of this movement as he first assumed they would be; the removing of the skull cap in favour of something that looked like string tied across a grapefruit was blasphemous to all Catholicism, and in the eyes of God, punishable. And, so as the story goes, Pope Alexander VI, amongst thousands of vexed catholics, was flogged to death in the middle of Vatican Square. Fortunately the trend had already been set, and the new style stayed throughout the ages, and now the comb-over is more prevalent than ever, though we cannot say it is any more or less accepted than it was back then (or less punishable).

Of course this isn’t true in any manner, but it does beg the question, who was the first man (or woman, perish the thought) that thought pushing what little hair they had left over their otherwise folicle-less, gleaming skin dome, would be accepted by anyone with the sense of sight, never mind starting a trend to stand the test of time.

Such is a request we hear regularly at Savills: how can I style my hair to make it appear less thin / disguise my hairline? Fortunately we have a repertoire of more stylish (and publicly acceptable) solutions for those with a receding hairline; knowledgeable barbers, clever styling, and the right products, all equate to something our patrons can be proud to exhibit. Our techniques and expertise, like receding hairlines, go well back.

Hair today, gone tomorrow, but meet half way for a comb-over.

(Photo of Savills master barber Joth Davies)
(Words and photo by Dominic Gregory)