A Brief Look at Hair Color

Throughout our lives our bodies change, including the texture of our skin and even our hair, but what about those grey hairs that seem to age us, making some people appear older than they are…or even feel; thank goodness for hair dyes. Most people I know color their hair, ranging from tween years to retirees; it’s a monthly habit for many and is a multi-million dollar business today. Hair colors have gained popularity through the years, offering a variety of colors…but what I find fascinating is when it all began.

Dating back to the Egyptians (1500 BC) there was only one color when it came to hair, so as grey strands began to appear throughout their dark hair they decided to experiment with henna, an old shrub (tropical plant) used for coloring hair and, or body art. Following the Egyptians …the Romans and Greeks created a more permanent dye (black), as it would take many more years before they figured out how to create other colors. Long after, it was in the country of Scotland that had its’ first red-head ever born, but this drew suspicion among others; the hair color was so out of the ordinary that these people were thought to be the subject of witchcraft, until Queen Elizabeth came along. As time progressed, it was during the 1800’s that the first synthesized dye (color) came along, by an English chemist named William H. Perkin, while trying to find a cure for malaria.

In 1907 the very first chemical dye was founded by Eugene Schueller; named Aureole, which is now known as L’Oréal. In later years…specifically 1931, it was Jean Harlow’s new film called ‘Platinum Blonde’ that drew a lot of attention, not just to her but her hair color (blonde), and the craze brought about a new interest (in blondes) among Hollywood’s elite. In fact, there was so much enthusiasm that Howard Hughes created Platinum Blonde clubs across the country and offered $10,000 to the first hairdresser that could match Harlow’s’ hair color. Then, in the 1950’s, the company Clairol introduced its one-step color product which lightened hair without the harmful effects of bleach; those that used bleach prior to those years suffered from hair damage, and continues to harm hair, as some products still use bleach (peroxide). Marilyn Monroe became the next famous blonde and Hollywood used her for the film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” which created women everywhere to try out the platinum blonde color, as it was proven to offer a certain kind of sex-appeal, while attracting the opposite sex. According to scientists this color can achieve different kinds of behavior, while more men actually do prefer blondes, it also brings more confidence to the women sporting the color; however being blonde is a whole other subject in itself.

By the late 60’s early 70’s it was common to dye your hair, whether it was to cover the greys or change your color completely. Hollywood celebrities’ joined forces with hair companies in the 80’s, endorsing their products, selling you with words “Because you are worth it!”…One of the best slogans ever created by L’Oréal. Today hair colors range from pink and purples to an array of blondes, red-heads, brunettes and even greys! If those don’t suit you then you can always seek out a color specialist willing to create a new or different one. I’ve seen individuals wear more than one color at a time; it’s all about personal preference. I once tried a red hair color and disliked it so much I called my hairdresser within a week to change it back to blonde; being red didn’t match much of my wardrobe at the time, it’s amazing how it affects what you wear. So next time you decide to change or try a new hair color…take a look at your most worn clothing and stand in the mirror, while imagining what it might look like; it might possibly change your mind. Happy coloring.

 

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