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Hair history: the evolution of hair colour

Although hair colouring is the number one requested treatment in salons, this hasn’t always been the case. Discover anecdotes, key points in history, celebrity fans and how colouring first came about...thousands of years ago!
Hair colouring first appeared way back when, around 4000 years AD. Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II was an avid fan of hair colouring: he wanted to hide his white hair in order to appear eternally young. To perform his hair colour, the Egyptian people used a blend of henna and dried cow’s blood. Thanks to this revolutionary technique, red and black shades were discovered by this civilisation.
During the Middle Ages, blonde and red were considered very fashionable. Back then, the renaissance period made strawberry blonde the new IT colour. The reason behind this? (Natural) orange tones that matched Queen Elisabeth’s hair colour. That’s the time there, was no better way to remain on-trend than copying royalty. Women everywhere started colouring the hair the same strawberry blonde shade by covering their locks in honey and sulphur, then exposing it to the sun to create a chemical reaction.
Back in the 19th century, wearing a wig was commonplace and hair colouring was no longer a hit with the masses. To be considered beautiful and modern, white hair was the epitome of chic and class. Wigs were therefore powdered using rice powder or starch on a daily basis. Whereas almost a whole century later, the discovery of oxygenated water would revolutionise the hair world thanks to a new colour stripping formula.
The year 1909 marked a special date for the hair world: chemist Eugène Schueller created the very first permanent hair colour. Then came the roaring 20s when chemical colouring treatments found widespread popularity and their success grew and grew from decade to decade. Today, we change our hair colour as often as we cut our hair...let’s just say we like variety! Not forgetting the vast amount of alternative colouring options available on the market, we’re predicting the future has a lot to hold for the world of hair colour.
© Fotolia /  Vadymvdrobot
Hair history: the evolution of hair colour
Hair history: the evolution of hair colour
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