Getting your hair dyed bright pink? Requesting some blonde highlights? Perhaps black is more your style! These days you can change your hair color to any shade you can imaging, at the drop of a hat. And you will want to drop that hat to show off your awesome new Hairdo. When you sit in the salon chair you might be wondering, where did this idea of altering our natural hair color come from? How was hair dying first achieved and with what resources?
Hair dyeing can be traced back to the Ancient Saxons, Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians. The common method was to paint extract from plants such as sage or chamomile into an individual’s hair and allow the concoction to soak in. For light hair, ancients would sit out in the sun to take advantage of its natural bleaching properties. Individuals might dye their hair to flaunt their social rank, scare attackers, or strictly for beauty. Bleaching was particularly common in Rome. In fact, Roman prostitutes were required to bleach their tresses. The stigma on this began to change in the 11th century. By the time of the Renaissance, many women were attempting to lighten their hair. In the Renaissance era, bleached hair was, perceived as gentle and angelic. By this time substances like alkaline were being used with a mix of other ingredients to achieve that perfect shade of gold. However, alkaline is a harsh chemical and could cause burns and swollen eyes on use.
Today our permanent hair dye consists of a chemical formula that puts ammonia, peroxide, and colorantat work together. Modern hair dye is completely safe, and almost ridiculously common. Woman and men, from teenagers to great-great-grandparents visit hair salons to have their hair dyed. It’s amazing what a few hundred years of development can do!