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Although hair has been an important feature of fashion and style throughout history, there hasn’t always been the variety of fabulous products to choose. Hair shampoo as we know it today, was not invented until the late 1920’s, and incredibly, wash off conditioner wasn’t available until the 1970’s! Before liquid shampoo emerged, people would wash their hair around once a month using castile, tar or lye-based soaps. These substances dried out the hair significantly and resulted in dry, out of condition hair. A New York article printed in 1908 advised that “…specialists recommend the shampooing of the hair as often as every two weeks, but from a month to six weeks should be a better interval if the hair is in fairly good condition.” [can you imagine?] Daily brushing was recommended for removal of old oils, dirt and debris, and split ends were singed or clipped.
Hair conditioning in 14th century Europe consisted of concoctions derived from processes like boiling dead lizards in olive oil. Filipino women soaked aloe in water to make conditioner, while Chinese women made a finishing rinse with seeds from the Chinese cedar or fermented rice water. Oil mixed with eggs was applied to the hair of American women in the 1600’s, and in ancient Egypt, women used animal and plant fats to keep their locks under control. In ancient India, conditioning blends included coconut, almond and neem oils, along with Henna for strength and shine.
The first shampoo to be sold commercially was developed in 1898, by German chemist Hans Schwarzkopf, and came in the form of a water soluble powder. It took off in a big way and liquid shampoos followed in 1927, with the first pH-balanced version arriving in the 1930’s. Synthetic shampoos arrived in 1950 and anti-dandruff shampoos in 1963. As for conditioner, Parisian perfumer Edouard Pinaud presented ‘Brilliantine’, a formula to soften men’s hair in 1900.
We have come a long way since dead lizards and animal fat, with an impressive range of conditioning products and techniques. Visit the Trimmers Hair Salon website to find out more about what they offer or call on 01695 721414.
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