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The History of Hair Color

We often take for granted how easy it is these days to change our hair color. Whether you want to add highlights, go blonde, or even color your hair bright pink, the availability of quality at-home hair coloring kits makes it easier than ever to achieve your desired results. However, it’s worth noting that changing the color of our hair hasn’t always been so easy. By discovering the history of hair color, perhaps we can better appreciate the ability to easily change up our hair color today.

The History of Hair Color

Earliest Records of Hair Coloring

It’s actually believed that as far back as the time of ancient Egypt, hair coloring has been performed—albeit in a much different method than it is today! Specifically, archeologists have found evidence that suggests ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used plants and animal matter to color their hair. These techniques were typically used to darken the hair, although they also discovered that exposing the hair to the sun for prolonged periods of time would achieve a lighter color.


The History of Hair Color

Development of the First Hair Color Products

Interestingly enough, the development of the first synthetic hair color first occurred in in the mid 1800s, when an English professor was attempting to create the cure for malaria. What he ended up with was a dye made of tar and coal; it didn’t cure malaria, but it later went on to become the base for many hair coloring products for the next several decades.


The History of Hair Color

Emergence of Commercial Hair Color

It wasn’t until around the early 1900s that hair coloring products began to be commercially produced and sold in the United States. In fact, 1907 was the year that the company that later went on to become “L’Oreal” first launched, selling the first bottles of commercial hair color. At this time, hair coloring products weren’t permanent by any means because manufacturers hadn’t found a way to develop a formula that would reach to the hair shaft. That changed in the 1930s when the first semi-permanent hair coloring debuted.

Since the 1930s, there have been many developments and advancements in hair coloring formulas as we know it. For instance, in the 1950s, the first hair coloring product to not use hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair before coloring was released. And beginning in the 1970s, hair coloring became less of a taboo subject and much more widely accepted throughout society.


The History of Hair Color

Types of Color Available Today

Today, it’s difficult to find a woman in the United States who hasn’t altered the color of her hair at some point! Many women change the color of their hair about as often as they change purses. And thanks to advancements in hair-coloring technology, women can achieve reliable, beautiful hair color from the convenience of their own homes. They can also choose how permanent they’d like their color to be based on the type of coloring they purchase, such as:

Hair coloring products are also less damaging than ever, leaving hair looking not only vibrant in color, but shiny and healthy as well.


Now that you have a better understanding of the history of hair color, perhaps we can all come to appreciate the products we have available to us even more today. Now, what will your next hair color be? Thanks to advancements over the years, your options are truly limitless!


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