History of Haircolor (2)Previous Page
Because the darkest shades of the brunette range were most commonly found in regions like Asia, South America and Africa, the darkest shades of brunette did develop an exotic allure for many Europeans.
Attitudes toward hair color in modern times have always depended a lot on the passing trends of the day and to a large extent geographical location. For example, in South America, Africa, and Asia, brunette hair color is commonplace. Blondes and redheads were considered exotic and were often emulated. In European nations, the reverse was often true, with darker haircolors being considered more alluring and foreign. Specifically, in areas where blondes are commonplace, such as in Scandinavian countries, being blonde isn’t really that big a deal, and few people make much of a fuss over a redhead in Scotland or Ireland.
Today’s trends and the appeal of certain colors is a result of other forms of adoration. Today’s women (and men) will idolize a haircolor because of its association with a favorite celebrity. The ease with which you can now change your haircolor makes it a simple matter to have the look of the celebrity you favor.
Hair Color Formulas
The first colors for hair were derived from plants and insects. Henna, Chamomile, and Indigo were commonly used in Egypt to color the hair, and in times before, berries were often used to tint the hair as well. Lemon and other citrus juices, black sulphur, alum, and honey mixtures were used to encourage bleaching in the hair to lighten it. These types of “natural” haircolors were predominantly all there and was available until the 19th century when some chemical discoveries were made.
In the early 1800s some men would use silver nitrate to darken the gray hair of their mustaches. This led to the development of a proper haircolor formula being developed. The mixture consisted of silver nitrate, gum water, and distilled water and was referred to as Grecian Water. It was highly popular although it lost some of its appeal when it turned out that repeated usage caused the darkened hair to turn purple.
The use of metallic salts has continued to this day, and there is a slightly comic twist to the fact that today’s metallic-salt-based products for covering gray can have a tendency to turn the hair a slightly green tint if allowed to continue to develop on the hair.
The real breakthrough in coloring, however, came in 1859, when a German student, experimenting with coal tar, diluted it with alcohol and found that he’d created a purple dye. This led to the creation of a synthetic dye for use on fabrics and hair, and later to the development of the dyes we know today.
In fact, two of the most widely-known products brands for hair coloring got their start at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. In 1907, French chemist, Eugene Schueller developed a hair dye based on a synthetic formulation of paraphenylenadiamine, which he called Aureole. This was later changed to ‘L’Oreal’. A few decades later, New York chemist, Lawrence Geld developed a haircolor that penetrated the hair shaft and started a company to produce and sell it. This was the birth of ‘Clairol’. In 1950 he further revolutionized the haircolor industry by creating and introducing a single-step hair color product called Miss Clairol Hair Color Bath, which was the first color product that could lighten and tint the hair (without using harsher bleaches) in one process.
The Lasting Effects
The ability to change the color of your hair permanently (until the natural color grows out enough to show) and easily changed the attitudes many women had about hair color. In the 1920s young women were changing their haircolor to suit their sense of style and flash as the Flapper Age burst forth. This was followed by the inevitable backlash of dramatic changes in society, and hair coloring was stigmatized in the early 1930s as something only “loose girls” did.