22 February 2024

Coiffure Legendaire: the story of Titus haircut, the 1st short hairstyle

With short hair styles being ‘on fire’ thanks to celebrities such as Charlize Theron, Miley Cyrus or Jennifer Lawrence, we take a look back to remember the first short hair cut that became a sensation in Europe at the end of the 18th century… the Titus haircut.

In a period in which customs were agitated, politics and society, created the ideal conditions for the Titus cut style to be born. A bold look that had the honor of going down in history as the first short haircut in Western civilization. The Titus cut marked a relaxed attitude and offered women a hitherto unknown freedom.

The Reign of Terror

However, its origin seemingly were found in a sinister context: in post-revolutionary France, during the Reign of Terror era, executioners cut the hair of those sentenced to death at the height of the neck to be sure that the guillotine did the job. Fashion, always capricious, was responsible for moving these haircuts to society: soon, lots of women in Paris at the time proceeded to adopt this look, leaving long hair in the front and cutting them very short at the height of the neck. For styling they used perfumed pomades to define their curls and locks and create a sophisticated tousled hair effect.

Madame Tallien

One of the most famous people at the time to rock the Titus haircut was Madame Tallien. During the Reign of Terror, it was said she used her own hair, strand by strand, to pass a ticket each day in a clandestine manner to her imprisoned husband.

Madame Tallien

Critics of the Titus hair cut soon appeared, denouncing it as masculine and unnatural. Papers of the time denounced that this haircut could transform “beautiful female hair to look more worse than any deformity a woman may have”, ensuring that “the eyes lose the sense of beauty by dint of seeing unpleasant things”.

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Madame Arnault de Gorse by Louis-Leopold Boilly


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