1920 style hairstyle with title words to describe hairstyles

Over 60 Words to Describe Your Ancestor’s Hair

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the importance of writing about your ancestor’s physical appearance and how to find details about their physique, if you don’t have photos to aid your writing. Today, let’s give you a quick list of adjectives that can help you describe your ancestor’s hair color and style if perhaps you have a photo to draw inspiration from.

Hair color is the easiest to assess in color photographs. It’s more challenging in black and white images. Pick the adjectives that best create a mental picture for you.

Hair Color
Blonde
Strawberry Blonde
Golden Blonde
Mousy
Ash Brown
Brunette
Jet Black
Salt and Pepper
Ebony
Raven
Flaxen
Tawny
Chestnut
Russet
Sandy
Auburn
Copper
Silver
Snowy
Sooty Black

Hair texture is often overlooked but an essential aspect of describing hair. Be sure to use one of these words to narrow down what type of hair your ancestor had, or didn’t have:

Hair Texture
Bald
Wispy
Fuzzy
Wavy
Frizzy
Wild
Untamed
Unmanagable
Straight
Scraggly
Spiky
Stiff
Buzzed
Shaved
Parted
Neatly-combed
Cascading
Close-cropped
Bristly
Receding

Finally, the style in which your ancestor wore their hair is the crowning glory of a physical description. Give these words a try:

Hair Style
Bouffant
Braids
Bun
Twist
Bob
Ringlets
Flip
Cornrows
Buzz
Layered
Feathered
Gelled
Slicked down
5-Point Cut
Pixie
Buster Brown
Mop Tops
Pompadour
Chignons
Bedford Crop

What do you think? Will any of these words fit to describe the locks on your ancestor’s head? Did I miss any words that you’ve used? Let me know in the comments.

The important thing to remember when describing your ancestor is to do your best to help paint a picture for your readers. If someone disagrees with your word choice, tell them to go write their own story!

What great words have you used to describe your ancestors? A few folks have shared so great words. Be sure to add yours in the comments section.

Further Reading – Describing Our Ancestors Series:

1920 style hairstyle with title words to describe hairstyles

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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