What is a Towhead?

The term “towhead” is typically applied to young blond children. The word does not carry any negative connotations and is sometimes associated with depictions of angelic figures in religious art.

Towhead refers to fiber for spinning

Towhead refers to any mass of flax, hemp, or jute fiber that has been prepared for spinning into thread or yarn. Due to the light color and tangled nature of its fibers that resemble blonde hair in appearance, its name was given.

Definition of a towhead

As its name implies, a tow head refers to someone with extremely light blond hair. This term is most often applied to young children due to their pale hue; as their pale tresses can help distinguish them from siblings more easily and may resemble the depictions of angels depicted in religious art as having fair-hair. While most children outgrow their towhead qualities by adulthood, some retain these features into adulthood.

The origin of the word “tow”

The word tow comes from Latin touw, or ready-for-spinning fibers. This word probably derives its name from its association with towhead hairstyles which resemble pale and unruly mounds of flax, jute, or hemp that remain after making linen thread is created. As an aside, tow can also refer to sandbars or small islands in rivers – similar to how Isle of Man tows are comprised of low-lying alluvial islands.)

Darkening of the hair as a child

Even children born as platinum blondes (commonly referred to as strawberry or dishwater blondes) will see it gradually darken by puberty. This process is completely normal and may even affect those whose ancestry typically results in blonde locks well into adulthood.

Dissipation of the blonde streaks

Towheads have light blond hair that appears almost white. This trait is most frequently observed among young children and hence the name. Young towheads resemble angelic cherubs depicted in religious art; their light hair color may serve as an indicator of their innocence. As people get older their blond locks typically darken but some individuals continue being towheads into adulthood. Tow is the name given to rough white fibers left behind when flax is transformed into linen through combing and combing again; once these fibers have been processed into usable materials, however, any remaining tangled ones resemble fine blond hair very closely and thus the term towhead may be misunderstood as toe head when used to describe someone blond.

Turning back the clock

If a towhead desires the bright blonde streaks they had as children, foils may be an effective solution to lighten their locks without using bleach, which may damage and break their tresses over time. An alternative may be using an ombre technique as this method allows the desired look without resorting to chemical products.

Author Bio

Michael McElligott is a regular BeautyAnswered contributor who takes great pleasure in writing articles that answer people’s queries on various subjects. Former English teacher turned freelance writer/researcher. Passionate reader with an eye for history he currently lives in New York City; for more information visit his website.