“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” - Coco Chanel
While corsets were drawn tighter than ever, chignon fillers like braids and swatches were wrapped around thin hair coils to resemble fuller heads of hair. Creative invention didn't stop there; it only flourished.
The socio /economic changes that occurred and were accepted during 1914-18, changed the role of women much more than the small amount of campaigning liberated ladies could ever have achieved.
As in many other fields, the 20th century brought invention to the hair and fashion industry that dramatically changed everything.
In 1907, the first chemical hair color formula was born—named Aureole by its originator, Eugene Schueller, and then later renamed L'Oreal. Charles Nestle invented the first permanent-wave machine in 1905. Madame CJ. Walker began selling hair care products for African-Americans in 1906, which later became a multimillion-dollar business.
In 1917, the double-process blonding technique was invented, giving blondes worldwide more fun than ever! Inspired by the vacuum-cleaner hose, the first hair dryer was invented in 1920, blowing away the old air-drying methods. By 1925, there were already 25,000 beauty parlors in the United States! Breck International set up shop in the 1930s.
Sisters Maria and Rosie Carita opened a beauty salon in Paris in the 1940S.
Present-day conditioner was created in the 1950s, when chemists discovered that ingredients used in fabric softeners could also soften hair. The aerosol spray can was invented in 1956, making hair spray possible—and, therefore, probable. Redken popularized pH-balanced and protein-enriched shampoos for better conditioning in the 1960s.
In 1971, the first hand-held blow-dryer limited trips to the salon by making it easy to simply "blow and go," and a special iron was invented in 1972 by Geri Cusenza that crimped.
Hairstyles underwent rapid changes in the 20th century as well. Styles of the times reflected what was happening socially and were most often worn by icons of popular culture, which epitomized our ideals and our dreams. Until, and through, the early i90os, wealthy women had set the standard, donning hair jewels, bone combs, and veiled hats with lace, flowers, and feathers by day, and dusting their hair with silver and gold powders by night. A new look, created by Antoine of Paris, showcased hair parted in the middle and swept back in smooth bands over the ears. Edith Wharton sported a loose, wavy, puffy feminine look that also turned heads. In 1907, Josephine Baker's sleek style and the Marcel wave cascaded over the United States and Europe.
By 1910, American nurses in Europe had fed a copycat trend back home. They had cut their hair short to protect themselves from flea infestation and women in America began to do the same for fashion. Louise Brooks's 1917 bob became the most popular hair trend of the 1920S as women strove to express their freedom, shedding their corsets and entering the work force.
The 1920s saw a universal fashion for short hair a more radical move beyond the curtain styles of the war era. Hair was first bobbed and then shingled. The Eton crop became popular 1926-7. An Eton crop was considered daring and shocked older citizens, since hair had always been thought a woman's crowning glory. Only maiden aunts and elderly dowagers avoided the severe shorter styles, but by the 1930s softer waved hairstyles were a refreshing change.
The costume history image in our minds of a woman of the 'Roaring Twenties' is actually likely to be the image of a flapper. “Flappers” embraced all things and styles viewed as modern. A fashionable flapper had short sleek hair, a shorter than average dress, flat chest, applied make-up in public, smoked with a long cigarette holder, exposed her limbs and epitomized the spirit of a reckless rebel who danced away the night in jazz clubs. So well known was this image that the French named it the “garçonne”. Even the great fashion designer Gabrielle Chanel (Coco Chanel) promoted the styles we associate with flappers.
The 1930s and 1940S found wartime citizens ogling the glamorous life. In 1931, Jean Harlow starred in Platinum Blonde and a hair color craze soon swept the nation and beyond. Also in the 1930S, child star Shirley Temple's tight curls had grown women pinning their hair into ringlets. During the war, when the feminine ideal was largely expressed through movies and film magazines, women copied Hollywood hairdos. In the 1940s, Rita Hayworth made side-parted finger waves the sexiest style of her time, and Veronica Lake's cascading blond hair redefined glamour.
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