A few studies of Edo hair fashion.
NOTES from Kimono by Liza Dalby:
“In the sixteenth century, the nobility ceased to be the sole source of fashion inspiration. Playgirls (asobime) – multitalented, trendy ladies who led rather public lives (sometimes glossed as ‘courtesans’) – wore their kosode belted with long tasseled silk cords. The cords, called Nogoya obi, were woven according to a style then popular in China, roped about the hips six or seven times, and tied in a looping bow.” (Dalby 37)
“Playgirls also did their hair into Chinese chignons, initiating a fashion for women to put up their hair. In previous ages, men had been the ones to oil and arrange their tresses. Women had favored long straight locks, or perhaps a simple ponytail.” (Dalby 37)
“Late Edo fashion for women was undeniably restrictive. […] Hairstyles for women had developed into the elaborate comb-studded coiffures familiar from woodblock prints. With such a coiled oiled structure on her head, a woman couldn’t even sleep freely. Finally, the practice of applying lead- and mercury-based whitening cosmetics, originally a custom limited to the noblility, had now spread into common popularity. By the nineteenth century, being fashionable was truly hazardous to a Japanese woman’s health.” (Dalby 50)