The Evolution of Hair Color The Evolution of Hair Color
Becoming a Cosmetologist Includes a Deep Dive into Styles through the Ages
Attending a cosmetology school near you isn’t just about learning the latest trends and styles. As we know, all things come full circle, and what was hot in the early 2000s is already starting to surface again on runways, in fashion magazines, celebrity red carpets, and TikTok. It’s just as important to know the history of style, and how past trends influence or depart from present trends.
Let’s explore the evolution of hair color up to the present moment, see how much has changed, and find out what retro styles are making a comeback.
The Earliest Hair Coloring Techniques
Most histories of hair coloring cite the Egyptians as the founders of hair dye. If you can build a pyramid, you can most certainly figure out how to color a Pharaoh’s hair! And that’s exactly what happened. According to many accounts, a certain Pharaoh wanted to hide his gray hair. Using henna and cow’s blood, the Egyptians developed red and black hues for hair coloring.
Additionally, the Romans tried coloring with fermented leeches, and distastefully required certain members of society to dye their hair blonde (you can look this up for yourself), but key developments outside of these sometimes toxic solutions, didn’t arrive until Englishman William Henry Perkin made the very first synthetic dye.
A New Age for Hair Coloring
Perkin’s mauve dye, called Mauveine, was discovered while he was researching a cure for malaria in 1863. Soon after, a molecule from Mauveine was isolated by another scientist, and it is still an ingredient in modern hair dyes: paraphenylenediamine, or PPD.
When you consider the alternative – say, fermented leeches – PPD is an effective ingredient for keeping hair dye permanent. Today, of course, a market has grown for PPD-free hair coloring products along with other chemicals – but we’re not there yet: let’s move on to the 20th century.
The Rise of the Platinum Blonde
The emergence of blonde hair coloring, arguably the most popular hair dye, was featured in the movie Platinum Blonde, where Jean Harlow wore this now iconic color. Influencing a legion of fans to do the same, the actress set off what we would now call a viral craze over platinum blonde hair, culminating in the most famous platinum blonde on the silver screen, Marilyn Monroe.
It could be argued, too, that this trend has never left us, as modern performers and celebrities including Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Beyoncé have fully embraced this look. If you’re like us, part of the fun of becoming a cosmetologist, or going to esthetician school, is trying to name all the celebrities over time who have played a role in creating a long-lasting trend.
Advertising and Hair Color
By the 70s and 80s, most print ads and television commercial breaks included one actress or another selling a hair dye product. Bringing home a box of dye from the store became as common as buying any other household item. Pharmacy aisles were overflowing with new products, and musicians – both men and women – experimented with wild colors, bleach blonde hair, and everything in between (think David Bowie and Cyndy Lauper). The accessibility of hair coloring products let us change our hair on a whim, leading to generations of teenagers who found a new way to mortify their parents with an impulsive decision.
Hair color has made a huge leap forward, and the products – from traditional, to all-natural and organic – are wide-ranging. Everyone and anyone from kids to adults can color their hair just how they want it, whether it’s for the weekend, or for a more permanent look. Celebrities, models, influencers, and TikTokers continue to show off the latest trends, which always seem to be changing – from ombré, to reverse ombré, to copper tones, to greens and blues.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for hair color in 2023. When you go to school to become a cosmetologist or esthetician, one of the best parts of your education is strategizing – and even trying to predict – what customers will want next.
Take a Deep Dive into Your Learning at Eric Fisher Academy
If you’re passionate about beauty, hair, skin, and learning timeless and trendy techniques, cosmetology school may be for you.
At our cosmetology and esthetician schools, we teach all aspects of the business, from hair and makeup artistry, to bookings and social media marketing.
Our award-winning esthetics and cosmetology school is right near you, located in Wichita, Kansas. Our school, founded and led by Eric Fisher – an industry leader and world-renowned stylist, educator, and entrepreneur – boasts such accolades as “Best School Culture in the Country” and “Best Facilities in the Country” from Modern Salon magazine.
Our Admissions department is accepting new enrollees now! Get in touch by phone or text at (316) 440-4782 to schedule an appointment with our team. We can’t wait to help you take the next step forward in this industry we love.