Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How Hairspray Has Evolved

by Melissa L. White
Licensed Hair Stylist
Certified Hair Extension Artist

I'm too young to remember the hairspray hysteria of the 50's and 60's, but I remember stories my mom told me about how her mother and all the other mom's of that era dosed on the hairspray in order to achieve the beehive hairstyles so popular back then. It actually sounds comical until you do a little research into the phenomenon.

Modern Beehive
 The beehive hairdo has actually made a comeback, with several celebrities including Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce giving a fresh new look to the 1950's craze. Jacqueline Kennedy's fashion sense certainly sparked a generation of women who became addicted to the use of a marvelous spray which could flawlessly keep your hairdo in place for an entire day (and made the beehive possible at all). Hairspray allowed stylists (then known as hairdressers) to create incredible height and body with styles that were as big as they were elaborate.

So, exactly how did hairspray get it's start?

Hairspray was first used by Helene Curtis in 1950 for its new product they called Spray Net. Aerosol sprays were actually invented during World War II when they were used to kill insects. After the war ended, the beauty industry discovered the benefit of pressurized spray for its products.

By the mid 1950's, hairspray had caught on like wildfire and competition to Helene Curtis products flourished. Floors in every home and hair salon soon had the tell-tale sticky residue covering them. The use of pressurized sprays also caught on with antiperspirants and other personal care products as well until the 1970's when chloroflurorocarbon aerosols were found to be harmful to the ozone. As these products were phased out, hairspray manufacturers found alternative "aerosol-free" methods to deliver products, and most of the products used today are environmentally much safer.

One thing that has changed over the decades since hairspray was invented is the wide variety of sprays from ones that leave your hair very manageable and "touchable" to heavy-hold sprays that lock your hair tightly in place until it is washed out. Even men have gotten into the act and are enjoying the use of hairsprays and other hair care products that women have been using for decades. Hairstyles along the way have certainly influenced the popularity of certain sprays, and this leaves us with an incredible array of choices. From long and natural to spiked mohawks, hairspray has a purpose in our daily haircare routines.

Hairspray can even be extremely helpful to those who wear hair extensions. Today's products are far less sticky and are no where near as harmful as the early sprays. What is a challenge, however, is determining which product is best for your hair and the hair style that you are trying to create. While you might have been able to get away with a single can of your preferred spray back in the 60's, your beauty arsenal probably has at least several different hair sprays now.  I recommend reviewing your products with your stylist to help determine what product(s) are best for your hair and the hairstyles you prefer to wear.

Google Books - book excerpt: Hair Styling/Fixative Products in Hair and Hair - The History of Hairspray Products - Hairsproy - The Story Behind Hairspray

Melissa White is an experienced, licensed hair extension artist and stylist whose passion is to bring out the natural beauty in everyone by enhancing their own individual features with the use of exquisite hair extensions. Melissa has over 10 years of extensive training with the industries top hair extension companies in the newest techniques. Melissa is also a certified Brazilian Blowout stylist. Originally from Boston, Melissa has been in San Antonio for the past 8 years. She believes that everyone should be able to access and afford the hair of their dreams . . . thus the creation of Extensions of Yourself, San Antonio's first salon which specializes exclusively in quality hair extensions.