The Hairstyles of Bu Bu Jing Xin

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I am annoyed to no end by the need to find out how the ladies in Bu Bu Jing Xin managed to attach those huge headpieces to their heads.  So I found a site that had a short explanation of how they at least ‘formed’ their hairstyles. For those of you who want to read that particular part, it starts at the 4th picture.  Apparently they used some kind of gel to hold the hair in place, and the huge hairpieces had some sort of frame.  But that still doesn’t explain how they actually attached the frames to their heads.  Seriously, my mind is boggled by how they kept the frames on.

Anyway, the hairstyles are quite important in this time period, as they denote one’s status.  In case you haven’t noticed, the younger and lower rank Ruo Xi was, the simpler the hairstyle, and of course they don’t use very fancy/flashy hair decorations.  Those who are married with a higher status have larger hairpieces, flowers, and more elaborate hairpins. 

Ruo Xi starts out with a simple, smaller hairstyle in the very beginning of BBJX.  [How in the world to they keep the flowers in place?  Do they tie them down or something?]  My favorite is the one she wore for Chinese New Year’s (bottom left pic), when everyone greeted the emperor at the court.  It was really the most striking hairstyle on Ruo Xi, because the red flowers and the beautiful hairpins really stood out.


However my favorite hairstyles overall for Ruo Xi are the ones after she becomes the sort-of-concubine of 4th and later the wife of 14th.  They are more elegant and elaborate than the other ones.  I think it’s also interesting that they have a gold bar at the top of the hairpiece.  Is that really accurate, or is it an addition made by the drama..I don’t know. Anyways, I think it is a bit of a shame that Ruo Xi got to wear a more beautiful hairpiece towards the end, but she never really wore it with any joy.


My favorites are actually Ming Hui, the Empress (4th’s wife), and Lu Wu.  Of course I’m pretty biased because I love the Empress and Ming Hui’s characters, hehe.  However I also think that the Empress & Ming Hui had the most striking hairstyles because they used darker colored flowers that contrasted well with their skin tone.

As for Liu Wu, she had a more conservative hairstyle but I think it’s one of the only ones that actually looks feasible without an extra hairpiece. 


Last but not least, Min’s hairstyles were also wonderful, especially with her ethnic hats.  I loved her long braids along with the beaded strings hanging from her hats.  And of course, her hairstyle during her dance (bottom left pic) was quite beautiful, but I think it was more modernized and not that accurate.

This was pretty much a “how in the world did they do this” post.  And I didn’t really give any answer. T_T  But really, I can’t be the only one fascinated by how they managed to do such hairstyles.

*Update* After watching the Legend of Zhen Huan, I realized that the hairstyles in Bu Bu Jing Xin are not as accurate or elaborate as they could be.  Of course I still think the BBJX hairstyles are beautiful, but the ones in the Legend of Zhen Huan are really something else.  Head on over to Zhen Huan if you want to see some amazing hairstyles. *_*


I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • I absolutely love this post and all the pictures. All the hairdos were so beautiful. I really liked Lu Wu’s because it stood out so much. Thank you for posting this!

  • Really lovely post! I too had marvelled at the drama’s detailed attention to costume and hairstyle…I’m trying to fix my BBJX addiction by reading Pearl Buck’s Imperial Woman, about the last Manchu empress of China, Tsu Hzi…I keep imagining the backdrop and characters of BBJX for the novel!

  • I’ve always admired all the accessories they used to decorate their hairstyles.

    So I did a little research regarding the hairstyles…in regards to the size of the hair, the drama was a bit inaccurate. During Kangxi and Yongzheng’s reign, the actual hairstyle was more like the Ruo Xi ones in your first picture. Because this smaller hairstyle used all real hair, the women used mostly real flowers to decorate their styles and rarely used metal jewel pieces.

    The big ones, like the empress and Ruo Xi’s after 4th became emperor, were used in the late Qing dynasty when Xici was empress dowager. It is said that Xici was losing hair, so she had to use this style which did not require a lot of real hair. The big piece that sits on top of the head is not made from actual hair but is a separate piece that is made with a frame and fabric.

    • 3 years down the track, I think I have your answer just in case you’re still curious. Back then, pins were used to fasten these boards/headpieces into place. Some of them were adorned with flowers and decorative beads. Hair would sometimes take hours to do so it’s not surprising that all the wealthy woman had their servants do their hair.
      The boards are generally wooden, some with fabric sewn around it, but there were some smaller boards that were used to wrap the hair around (kind of like people do with those hair donuts these days). Less wealthy women might use plain wooden boards (ouch, think splinters), or no boards at all, opting for a humbler up-do similar to the Han would.
      If you look up photos taken by westerners during their early visits to China (late Qing), you’ll also note that the updos varied from region to region. Some of those hairdos were ridiculous –one woman looked like she had genitalia on her head. I picked up a book when I last went to Hong Kong that had copies of all these photos (China through the Lens of John Thomson) and highly recommend it.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      • Thanks for the explanation! I think after watching Zhen Huan Zhuan I was more able to see how they put together the hairpieces. The ones in BBJX made it look more like the hairpieces actually used their own hair..which just confused me. O_O And yeah, I have seen some of the old pics of the actual hairstyles and they definitely do not look as glamorous as they do in the dramas, HAHA!

  • i might be all off topic but id you look at crouching tiger hidden dragon , there is a scene where jade fox is helping the young miss to get ready for bed and she is seen taking off the black head piece and just quickly combing a bit of her hair with it .

  • So I watch Legend of Zhen Huan to figure this out.
    First, think of the hairstyle as a crown. You can easily take it on and off. So, in LZH, when they sleep without the frame, they have like a lump of hair on the top of their head. This is so the frame can be placed and it would not fall off. The hair would be gelled so that the lump of hair will stay together and support the frame

    • Interesting, I suppose they had some sort of way to attach the frame to the lump of hair then. I also noticed in LZH they used some hairnetting to keep some of their hairstyles in place.

  • I truly believe that Bu Bu Jing Xin was as accurate and elaborate as they could afford. If they were given the budget, there is no doubt that they would have attempted to be as accurate in the costumes in Legend of Zhen Huan. If that other ripoff time-travel series wasn’t created then Bu Bu Jing Xin wouldn’t have to rush just to compete with them. Bu Bu Jing Xin’s director did not have the budget, and had to borrow money just to to make Bu Bu Jing Xin more accurate and I think there was a lot of pressure involved because of the competition against the ripoff series.

  • I read somewhere that for the really thin frames, they just wrap it around a stick. The hairstyles for the thin ones were easily held up because it was light. For the bigger frames, well metal was invented at that time, but not I’m sure.

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