Monday, June 8, 2009

Hair's Colorful Past 100 Years

(NAPSI)-Whether you perceive beauty as an art or a science, you might be surprised to learn that modern hair coloring can trace its roots back to a young French inventor and chemist, Eugène Schueller.

In 1909, Schueller founded "The Safe Hair Dye Company of France"-later renamed L'Oréal. With this in mind, here's a look back at some of the biggest milestones in hair trends over the past 100 years:

1900-1909--During this time, hair was worn under hats by most women, and styles were simple. In 1907, Mr. Schueller launched "Auréale," the first safe hair dye. With this revolutionary invention, a new chapter in beauty began. For the first time, women could color their hair with consistent and safe results.

1910-1919--This decade welcomed the birth of modern hairdressing. Women began working in the industrial sector and the war imposed a somber style. In 1918, the number of hair salons in Paris-the epicenter of fashion and beauty-more than quintupled, from about 300 to more than 2,000.

1920-1929--Short hairstyles were still in vogue. In 1925, multiple coloring products became available, allowing men and women to change their hair color on a whim. Some favorites of the decade included L'Oréal D'Or, the first bleaching product designed to give hair a sun-kissed look, and lmédia, an ultrafast hair dye.

1930-1939--Supershort cuts were quickly replaced with long, luxurious hairstyles, and Hollywood stars like Jean Harlow influenced millions of brunettes to change their shade to glamorous blond. Hair coloring became a true mark of glamour, and the introduction of the first modern-day shampoo, which L'Oréal introduced under the DOP brand, allowed women to keep their tresses looking lovely.

1950-1959--Without the constraints of war, glamour became popular again and women wanted their hair to look stylish even while completing household chores. Hair was teased, sculpted, waved and set. In 1952, another revolutionizing product, L'Oréal's Régé Color, became the first hair dye to be used in hair salons and sold to the public for at-home use, dramatically expanding the hair color market.

1960-1969--ANYTHING went when it came to hair: long, short, styled, rebellious and beyond. To keep any hairstyle in place without a stiff and sticky finish, L'Oréal's Elnett fine mist hair spray-a favorite still today-became available for sale in 1960.

1980-1989--Women's lives became increasingly active, as more women entered the workforce than ever before. Hairstyles reflected the control of their busy work life and social schedule. Cuts were precise and grooming followed the "power" culture. The L'Oréal-Stu Stu Stu-Studio Line was at the forefront of hair-styling and introduced the first aerosol hair mousse. Sales of styling products rose dramatically as men and women looked to create their own individual style.

1990-1999--This era welcomed a more natural-looking hair color and products attempted to match the highlights and low lights that nature provided. Diacolor, tone-on-tone, covered the gray with a shade that was closer to the natural hair color.

2000 and beyond-Hairstyles today reflect a desire for individuality. There are more styling tools, gels, waxes, pastes, sprays, mousses and products formulated specifically for curly, straight, frizzy, wavy, dry, color-treated or damaged hair to help people achieve a desired look. Since the turn of the century, L'Oréal has developed products for use in salons or at home to help men and women achieve the style they want. This year, the company celebrates its 100th anniversary, and has come a long way from the first permanent hair dye to a range of hair care, hair color, cosmetics, skin care and fragrance products. To mark this milestone, the company has launched a limited edition 100th anniversary Elnett hair spray, available exclusively at Target while supplies last. For more information about L'Oréal, visit

© L'Oréal DR

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