Vintage Salon Waving Lotion

Vintage hair products bottles
Photo: Dreamstime
Q: Hi, I just bought a house with a vintage salon setup in the basement. I found some glass bottles of LaMaur Duo-Curl Waving Lotion.
Can someone tell me what this is exactly? Is it a perm solution or a comb through for finger-waves and setting styles? These look like very old products.

A: Well, I wasn’t able to find any reference to “Duo-Curl Waving Lotion” by Lamaur in any of my resources, although the Lamaur Company is still doing business manufacturing hair care and styling products.
I can make an educated guess (given the packaging you describe) that what you’ve found is likely a “permanent wave” solution that would have been used with peroxide as a neutralizer or in an “air neutralizing” process.
In days prior to the permanent wave kits, many salons purchased and kept such chemical supplies in bulk since it was more economical to do so. One way to confirm that this is indeed a permanent waving solution is to look at the ingredient list for ingredients like ammonium thioglycolate or similar items.
Of course, under no circumstances should you consider using these products, even if they prove to be simply a setting lotion for roller sets. When chemicals age they can often breakdown and in some cases have unpredictable results. Some chemicals become inert, while others become volatile or caustic.
Personally, I would consult your local waste management authority about the ways to legally and properly dispose of the contents and if you want, to keep the bottles for decorative purposes after you’ve cleaned them out. You might even be able to sell the bottles to a collector of hairstyling memorabilia.
See also:
Perms and perming hair
Do hair products expire?
Does hairspray go bad?