If your mom was born in the forties or fifties, she may have pressed the humble clothes iron into as a second “off-label” use as a styling tool. “Back in the day” our moms may have used this simple household equipment as a styling tool. But the ladies in the distant past began to use makeup centuries ago; so vanity and judging people by how they look is nothing new.
The History of Makeup
Scholars widely agree that the origin of cosmetics dates back to the ancient Egyptians where both men and women used things like burnt matches to darken the eyes, berries as lipstick, the urine taken from a young boy to fade freckles, and drinking ox blood to improve the complexion! That is dedication to the power of vanity. The Egyptians also formulated copper, lead ore and more for the first beauty treatments; thereby, creating the first cosmetics, and the world has never stopped the flooding the market with “new and improved” in a pill, young in a bottle, and “ageless so you ‘age less.’”
Throughout the ages, women, predominately, pursue beauty at any cost, both monetarily and sometimes dangerously by using substances such as arsenic and leeches to enhance the pale complexions favored in the medieval times by draining the body of blood just to look pale. There are many of these things that are deemed “safe” now, like Botox, but may wind up on the next personal injury law firm’s commercial lauding your claim to millions if you were injured.
Her Crowning Glory
Over time the fashion of hair changes according to what is fashionable at the time. The same with clothes and other items; the internet makes it much faster to see what is in and what is out. For example, skinny and boot cut jeans are the current fashion, but high-waisted pants are making a comeback, much to the dismay of my twenty-something daughter. However, it won’t be long until one of her friends take the plunge and she will too.
So, with the issue of hair, some will choose to go short, some shorter, and even some of the very daring you know - even if it’s only one – will boldly go where grown men fear to tread – bald headed. When thinking of the issue of baldness, I usually think of men only; however, women make up to 40 percent of Americans who suffer from thinning hair, with the scalp almost fully exposed through the hair and the balance of these women are completely bald.
That percentage shocks me, but it is nothing compared what these ladies may feel. You may think men shouldn’t be so bothered about hair loss because other men suffer from it too. Vanity affects everyone; therefore, most men don’t want to be bald anymore than a woman does. And any women who say bald is sexy, ought to shave off that hair that she tries so much to show off with coloring, cutting, curling and, of course, can’t keep her hands off it she loves it so much.
Preening and Primping
Women everywhere with straight hair long for curly locks; while the curly-haired long to be straight. No matter the style, the cut, or the type of appliance, the hair heating continues. You may think the precursor to the modern hair iron is the clothes iron, but you will miss the mark by a mile and a few centuries.
You may also think that women are the sole users of hair straighteners, not to mention blow dryers, hot rollers, and the flat iron, but remember that the boys are just as vain as the girls. The desire to appear more attractive is deeply ingrained in all animals, humans included, for the purpose of finding and wooing a partner for the purpose of procreation.
The Evolution of the Hair Straightener
Necessity is the mother of invention, but not all inventions are necessarily safe or successful, at least on the first try. Just as we desire to look good today, it didn’t start with us; hundreds of years ago people used various homemade heated tools to remove what was deemed undesirable, but playing with fire is never a good idea, especially when it involves your hair and a heated piece of metal. Just as with makeup, the concept of the straightener was born in Egypt where straight hair was the popular style of the day.
So those who did not possess straight hair by birth would use two heated plates to remove any curls or waves, but this left behind serious burns. By the 1800s the flat iron had progressed to long arms attached to two metal plates, meaning the risk for burns was exponentially decreased. The 1950s issued in the practice of pressing the clothes iron into service for straightening hair as well as clothes, but this method of ironing hair was just as damaging as the other irons.
Flat irons did not actually come to the market until the trend for big hair in the 1980s went out of style, making a gap in the beauty industry with regards to a heated hair styling tools and the flat iron took off, some with additional plates to make crimps or waves, all of this for a reasonable cost. As time has gone on, flat irons have evolved with new technology, such as the ceramic flat iron and hair straighteners with auto shut off and titanium for less damage to hair, but it is always good advice to research and know which iron is right for you, along with products that can help minimize damage.