Who said that when you grow old, you will turn ugly with grey hair, wrinkles and all? Today, with so many advancements in the cosmetic industry, you can actually look beautiful even if you grow old. You can actually stay as 18 till you die. When hair turns grey, people dye their hair with the shades of their preference. But have you wondered how this hair dye made a debut.
How it all started?
Since ages, people have been colouring their hair using extracts from plants and minerals. Some of these natural agents contain pigments like those of henna, black walnut shells while others contained natural bleaching agents. It was later discovered that these agents caused reactions that changed the colour of the hair.
Archaeologists found evidence that in places like Neanderthals, people used various things to change the colour of both hair and skin. Ancient Gauls and Saxons dyed their hair with different vibrant colours to show rank and to instil fear in enemies on the battlefield. Babylonian men sprinkled gold dust on their hair. The very first mixtures could only darken the hair, but later different methods were found to bleach the hair blonde, often by exposing the painted hair to sunlight for hours. Throughout history, various means were used to produce a full spectrum of hair dye colours.
Discovery of hair dye
In the 1800s, chemists found a substance called as para-phenylenediamine (PPD, the CAS number is 106-50-3) and discovered its use in the creation of a synthetic dye. At the same time, it was found that hydrogen peroxide was a gentler and safer chemical as compared to the other chemicals for hair bleaching. These two discoveries paved way for chemist Eugene Schueller, who created the first commercial chemical hair dye, which he called as “Aureole.” This product was later known as “L’Oreal.”
The double-process for dying hair blonde soon followed, and in 1932 hair dye was refined by chemist Lawrence Gelb who created a hair dye that actually penetrated in the shaft of the hair. His company was called as “Clairol.” Later, in 1950, he introduced the first one-step hair dye product that actually lightened the hair without bleaching it. This became a huge hit in the modern era of hair dye and brought in the ability for hair to be coloured at home.
Since then people have been colouring their hair and the demand for a good hair dye hasn’t diminished. Today, we have a galore of hair colour options and different companies offering different products. Truly, today we are definitely spoiled for choice.