What Were Some Women Willing to Risk for the Perfect Hair Color?

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.

Discussion Comments


Even though some people, especially men, might find the risks that women were willing to endure, rather crazy (to say the least), I actually find it interesting.

In a way, it really shows just how different women are from men, especially when it comes to their hair, and the lengths they'll go to take care of it.

Although many men do make sure to wash and take care of their hair on a daily basis, it doesn't take that long, especially when compared to women.

Not only are their hairstyles different from ours, but unless one is a woman (which I'm not), it would be difficult to see how the shoe fits, figuratively speaking.

My point is that while many men do try to make themselves look good in the morning, women take it to an entirely different level. After all, why do you think they spend so much time in the bathroom in the morning?

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