A wig is a grouping of hair that bald men, and sometimes women, wear on the head for fashion or various other aesthetic and stylistic reasons, including cultural and religious observance. A wig is made up of the hair from humans, horses or can also be synthetic. The word wig is short for periwig and first appeared in the English language around 1675. Some people wear wigs to disguise the fact that they are bald or are balding. Actors, on the other hand often wear wigs so they sport ter resemble the character they are portraying. Wigs are also rather popular on halloween, to help aid the look of a costume.
Wigs have been worn for thousands of years; the ancient Egyptians, for instance, wore them to protect their shaved heads from the sun. Other ancient peoples, including the Assyrians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans also used wigs. Curiously, they are principally a Western form of dress; in the Far East they have rarely been used except in the traditional theatre of China and Japan.
After the fall of the Roman Empire the use of wigs fell out of practice in the west for a thousand years, until revived in the 16th century as a means of compensating for hair loss or improving one's personal appearance. They also served a practical purpose; the unhygenic conditions of the time meant that hair attracted head lice, a problem that could be much reduced if natural hair was shaved and replaced with a wig which could be easily de-loused.