Some of the things women have been willing to risk for the perfect hair color throughout history included injury and exposure to toxic chemicals. In 1926, hair coloring was banned in New York City because of the dangers. In the 1930s when bleached blonde hair started gaining popularity, the chemical treatments gave women severe headaches, as well as swollen eyelids and blisters. The formula for lightening hair often consisted of hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and sometimes actual bleach. The combination of ammonia and bleach creates hydrochloric acid, which can lead to kidney damage when inhaled. By 1950, formulas had been developed to lighten hair safely without the need for dangerous chemicals.
More about hair color:
- One of the first records of dying hair a color outside of nature was in 1914, when US writer Margaret Mason published a piece about coloring her hair pink with henna dye.
- 1930s Hollywood actress Jean Harlowe, among the first celebrities to have bleached blonde hair, died at age 26 of kidney failure, which some have attributed to her toxic hair dye.
- Ancient Egyptians in 1200 BC used natural dyes from kohl and henna to color their hair, as well as wearing wigs.