A Liquid Chemical Discovery

Who wouldn’t want to rush right out and buy this amazing concoction to put on your hair? Right on your head, where it will soak into your defenseless scalp, why not! An ad tells me about a new liquid chemical discovery, and I immediately think: you know, I could probably wave and curl my hair with that…not.

This lovely ad is from 1962. The things women did back then to their hair in the name of a good wave or curl! Or to straighten it out. We still do, even though the products are a little bit better. At least we’ve moved on from those huge cans of mousse from the 1980s – chocolate for brunettes, lemon for blondes. I think the redheads got strawberry. The concept: associate the hair goop with dessert (although this does imply that the manufacturers thought that women liked to put dessert on their heads).

But back in 1962, the brilliant marketing plan was to get women to associate hair goop with – what? High school lab experiments and exploding test tubes? Pharmaceutical nirvana (hmm, maybe not, a bit early in the decade for that)?

No – I’ve got it: being a scientist experimenting with your own head. Oh, that does sound fun!

But it sold, because whatever kind of hair you have got, you probably want the opposite kind.

My mother had very straight hair and she spent a full day every week trying to get it to curl. And then several times a year off she went to the beauty parlor to have them do unspeakable things with chemicals (no juniper berries involved though) to make it stay slightly wavy for a month or two.

Now I have the opposite situation. My hair is very wavy and curly. This is a polite way of putting it. On a low-humidity day everything’s cool. But when it is humid out, forget about it. Even with anti-humidity hairspray and products and whatnot. It’s going to do what it will. And not even a whole can of lemon mousse is going to stand in its way (trust me).

Now I know that hair products do, by their nature, contain chemicals. Unless they are from the health food store and all organic. However, there is no need to tell everyone straight out about your “liquid chemical discoveries.”

Not unless you are mixing us some delicious cocktails. In which case, please carry on! How about something from Cocktails By Jimmy, circa 1929 (I will have a link to my earlier Jimmy’s post later today) :

HOULA-HOULA: 2 parts dry gin, 1 part orange juice, 1 part Curacao.

LEAVE-IT-TO-ME: 4 parts dry gin, 1 part lemon juice, 1 part grenadine.

COWBOY: 2 parts Scotch whiskey, 1 part cream [that's a mighty fancy cowboy!]

Nothing themed to hair products though. That’s probably a good thing, though.

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