This Arty Instagram Account Will Inspire Your Next Haircut

If you're in need of a hairstyle switch-up, rather than trawling through Pinterest for contemporary beachy waves or box braids, why not look back through art history for your take-to-the-hairdresser snap.
Instagram account The Hair Historian – run by London-based hair editor Rachael Gibson, and which currently has 6k followers – is a celebration of art's leading ladies and their absolutely stellar 'dos. From dreamy history paintings from the 19th century to Japanese woodblock prints from the 1800s, one scroll through the account is more than just an art lesson – it's bonafide hair inspiration.
"I've always, always loved art – I was a real pretentious art kid teenager," Rachael tells Refinery29. "I just love everything about imagery, but particularly portraiture; documentary photography of street style, Renaissance paintings of women with mad hair, selfies... the depiction of people fascinates me. My brain is one giant Pinterest board of images and ideas of what to do with them. It's exhausting!"
Having studied fashion in Manchester, then followed up with fashion journalism at London College of Fashion, Rachael found that journalist roles within the industry were few and far between. Turning her hand to beauty, she joined a trade title for hairdressers and found that her favourite aspect of the job was going deep into their archives.
"The magazine is over 130 years old (and weekly) so we had hundreds of old issues, which I just loved poring through and taking pictures of interesting things. After that, I worked for a few years for an education company called Mastered, where I created their courses with sessions stylists like Guido and Sam McKnight," Rachael explains. "All of this experience led to me realising that there was a real problem with young creatives finding interesting, innovative sources of inspiration; I was forever seeing the exact same images on moodboards and being used as references."
With thousands of archival artworks on her Pinterest board, she decided to put them to good use and share them with others who might be as inspired by them as her, and The Hair Historian was born. "I'm not saying everyone has to be inspired by the same artworks or images that I find interesting, but rather to hopefully encourage people to just look harder at sources of inspiration and turn their own passions into ideas for work. I'm not a hairdresser, but when I see the textures, shape and structures in some of the art I share, I'm totally visualising how it could be turned into a hairstyle – and that's what I want others to think too."
Her favourite post so far? "It's always anyone with red hair, because apparently I'm self-obsessed. I absolutely love Lucas Cranach the Elder's depiction of wiggly, snaky, goth hair and this one is probably my favourite."
Ahead, we've rounded up our favourites from the feed, from those red-headed Pre-Raphaelites to pearl-embellished Polish princesses. Click through to mine the archives of The Hair Historian.

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