The Great Hair Colouring History

The Great Hair Colouring History

From Kylie Jenner to Adah Sharma, a huge chain of celebrities has taken the plunge to colour their hair more than once. The bottom line is, hair colours are hot. Be it flaming hot and commitment-free temporary hair colours, permanent hair colours or any other kind! Be it the early 90s or the 21st century, hair colours have always made their presence felt. Some happy tales of how tress tinting turned out picture-perfect are always sprinkled with traumatic incidents of burns and tacky hair colours. To the fortunate few, who have never had a bad hair colouring story to share, we say mazel tov!

Hair colouring revolves around our constant drive to alter ourselves, especially the way we look. Fashion changes over time, and so do hair colouring trends. In the ’90s, Indian celebrities mostly stuck to a variety of safe brown hair colours. (light brown hair colour, dark brown hair colour, chocolate brown hair colour and more.)

At present, people are moving past natural hair colours and choosing among a bold red hair colour, passionate blue hair colour, aesthetically pleasing blonde hair colour, fun burgundy hair colour, poppy purple hair colour or unusual grey hair colour.

While you’re running behind scorching summer trends, monsoon arrives with its romance and swipes you off your feet with its subtle and dreamy set of trends. Everybody’s eyes are glued to the fast-changing hair colouring trends of temporary hair colours and they’re keeping up with the best hair colour sets of each season with all their heart.

Have you ever wondered how temporary hair colours, permanent hair colours and the others become the craze they are today? Where was the beginning? Why did we begin to colour our hair and when did the wide-ranging categories of hair colours for men and hair colours for women flourish? We’ve found answers to a few of these questions and the answers are everything.

Origin: From where it all began

Precisely, hair colouring goes back to the stone age. Yes, you heard that right. Archaeological evidence suggests that millions of years ago, humans used to dye their hair using reddish iron oxide which is found in dirt.

Since then, the journey of hair colours to modern-day India has been revolutionary. The only thing that didn’t change about hair colours despite everything? The fascination for it.

People of ancient Egypt are said to be the first ones to use henna. They applied henna to get rid of their greys. In Ancient Greece and Rome, people often utilized plant extracts to colour their tresses naturally. The first ever permanent hair colour was jet black. (Laughing in Indian.) It was also developed in Ancient Rome. Black remained the go-to hair colour for a long time.

It was during the Roman Empire that prostitutes were expected to colour their hair blonde. Some of them depended on a mixture made out of plants to lighten their hair. In some other civilizations, people sported coloured hair on the battlefield to flaunt their ranks and hopefully scare the opponent.

Little did people know that the funniest and the craziest discovery the world of hair colours had ever seen was yet to occur. Remarkably, in the year 1863, an English professor named William Henry Perkin began with coal tar to develop the cure for Malaria. However, his attempts took a turn for good, and the world got its first ever synthesized dye in the colour purply pink.

From where it all began

Later Mr Perkin’s Chemistry professor August Wilhelm Von Hoffman improvised the discovery and created para-phenylenediamine or PPD. PPD became the base for hair colouring. It continues to be the base for several permanent hair colours to this day. It was in 1907 that the French chemist Eugene Schueller developed the first ever hair colour suitable for commercial purposes using PPD.

Hair Colour

The formula of Hair Colours kept advancing over the years throughout the early and mid-90s.

Interestingly in the 1930s, actress Jean Harlow ignited the sensation of Platinum Blonde with her role in a Howard Hughes film. By the 1980s several hair colour brands began to hire actresses to market their colour collections to the target audience. Since then, celebs have played a major role in making hair colours acceptable to the rather conservative society in India as well. You’d have noticed Karishma Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit and more celebrities carrying iconic coloured locks in the 90s Bollywood films.

The art of hair colouring: Present

The art of hair colouring

Fast forward to the 21st century. Over the years, hair colour has evidently become a staple in the current beauty industry. However, the chemical composition of the colours has remained the same since its introduction as a commercial product over a hundred years ago.

Uncountable brands in the market have launched a wide range of hair colours for men and hair colours for women. Temporary hair colours or instant hair colours are worn and washed off in a day. Permanent hair colours require bleaching and lightening of hair. Then there are semi-permanent hair colours, demi-permanent hair colours and more hair colouring techniques that you and I haven’t even heard of. The hair colouring trends are everywhere. Soft balayage, highlights, lowlights, money pieces, global hair colours, ombre hair colours or rainbow tresses, over the last decade, people have increasingly gone for daring colours and styles.

Hair colours have become a form of self-expression for the young and the old alike. Age is just a number when it comes to hair colouring.

You may not get to choose your family, but you get to choose your hair colour multiple times in a single lifetime. When are you hopping on the colouring bandwagon?

Fun Fact :“Black hair is the most common colour of them all.”




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