In 1907 a French chemist, Eugene Schueller began manufacturing hair colour in his Paris apartment, the main chemical ingredient was called paraphenylenediamine he called his company L’Oreal and the story continues today. The process to become a blonde at this time was dangerous and painful with the chemicals inflicting headaches and burns, it was not unusual for the hair to break off during the procedure .
In 1931 an American chemist, Lawrence Gelb introduced the first oil shampoo tint and within eight years had established the first home purchased hair dye – he named the company Clairol
The story of the blonde goes back much further in time with women going to great lengths to become blonde. It has been recorded that high alkaline soaps where added to the
hair and then baked in the sun for hours, Lemon juice applied – easier ways where to powder wigs with pollen and crushed yellow flower petals. More costly where wigs made and imported from the Netherlands.
In ancient Rome women stole the flaxen locks of northern tribes and wore them, or Roman women used a concoction of quicklime,wood ash and old wine to compete with the German slaves their husbands brought back. Whist the ancient Greeks Gods hair was blonde.
Hollywood soon saw that blondes looked good on screen and went about turning its stars into blondes and perceived bad girls and dumb girls, that story still plays out today in the 21st century, but up until World War 2 a woman who dyed her hair was considered cheap and it was Clairol that worked on changing that perception, the story of the blonde being, dumb, sexually free and the gold digger, somehow still plays out now, sometimes in a very underhand way other times in a very blatant one.
For me as a colourist I love blondes, but not in a Playboy kind of way, no I don’t like a fake looking blonde as much as I don’t like a fake looking red head. I like to see the blondes I make look natural and soft with the baby blonde pieces coming from a technique called Balayage this allows for a darker neutral blonde base rather then a bleached blonde or even worse an orange one and the lightness comes form the balayage -always soft at the root with the
thickness of the pieces along the mid shaft and ends – just like a child’s hair.
Jacks tip – If you are not a natural blonde you can be lighter but my personal taste level would suggest that we take it easy and don’t end up looking cheap.
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