As one of the leading hair salons in Birmingham, Michigan, we take hair coloring very seriously. Our hair salon specializes in balayage, and each of our hair stylists have been highly trained in this art. However, dying your hair hasn’t always been as safe or easy as it is now. Keep reading to learn a little bit about the history of hair dye!

Ancient Roots To Cover Gray Roots

The history of hair dye spans all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Evidence shows that since at least 1500 BC, people have been dying their hair. The ancient Egyptians used henna to cover up gray hair. Eventually, the Greeks and Romans developed means to dye hair permanently, opting for a formula made from fermented leeches.

Hair Color Becomes A Status Symbol

During the early stages of the Roman Empire, prostitutes were required to have blonde or yellow hair to symbolize their profession. This was achieved in a number of ways, from wigs to using early hair dyes made from the ashes of burned nuts or plants. Women who were naturally blonde would use other plant extracts to darken their hair, as to seem more respectable. The Greeks, on the other hand, viewed blonde hair as a sign of innocence and was seen as angelic, and soon chemical hair bleaches were used.

Witchcraft Or Royalty?

By the middle ages, red hair, caused by a genetic mutation, was believed to be a sign of witchcraft and having ginger locks was incredibly taboo. It wasn’t until Queen Elizabeth I and her auburn hair took the throne that being a redhead became more acceptable. People even began to dye their hair to emulate the Queen.

Chemical Hair Dye Is Accidentally Created

In an attempt to find a cure for malaria in the 1800s, English chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally created a permanent synthetic hair dye called para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is still a common base in hair dyes today. In 1907, the PPD base was used in the first ever commercial hair dye by the same man who would go on to create the L’Oreal beauty company. In 1931, a movie by the name of Platinum Blonde was released that would change the hair salon and dying industry forever. The movie starred Jean Harlow, an actress known for her bleached blond curls (which, she swears, are natural). The movie team organized “Platinum Blonde Clubs” across the country and even offered a $10,000 prize to any local hair stylist who could recreate the look.

Blondes Have More Fun

Up until the 1950s, going full-blonde could not be achieved without the use of bleach, which often lead to damaged hair and irritated scalps. However, around this time the company Clairol created a one-step hair dye that lightened hair without using bleach. This new process, in combination with the then-new blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe, meant more and more women were going blonde.

Balayage Becomes The Biggest Hair Trend

While the formula of hair dye has not changed much, the trends certainly have. These days, everyone is looking for “salons that do balayage near me” on their smartphones – something women of the past could never have dreamed of. Thankfully, you have access to amazing hair stylists right here in Birmingham, Michigan. Our hair salon specializes in balayage, and we’d love to help you get this look that has been the predominant hair color trend for years, and will be for many more to come. Schedule an appointment today!

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