Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Color Bright Anxiety

It's never too late to start your daughter on the road to anxiety over her hair, mothers! And if you have to start by turning her into a bizarre Mini-Me at the age of 8, well, so be it.

I have seen ads from the 1940s urging mothers to perm their daughters' hair, which is ghastly enough. But why stop at curls? Why not start coloring their hair, too? Colorinse, the stuff being lauded in verse by the elderly-looking girl on the right, does wash out, to be fair. But "if daughter wants still more color, she can use Colortint." That is, if Mom hasn't used it all already. Poor kid, already worrying about "drab" hair. Looks like she's wearing lipstick, too. Ugh.

You can thank late Victorian German inventor Karl Nessler, aka Charles Nestle (it sounded more French and hence more glam than Nessler) for this one. He invented artificial eyebrows in 1902 and the permanent wave in 1909, before coming to the US and creating Nestle Hair Salons which were in several major cities in the 1920s.

Nestlé chocolate powder, on the other hand (complete with accent) was named for another innovative German, confectioner Heinrich Nestle, who Frenchified his name to Henry Nestlé when he moved to Switzerland in the 1860s and invented condensed milk. His company went on to make other food products including the instant coffee Nescafé. You can start the kid on that after you dye her hair, Mom. Caffeine and anxiety go together like - like a face and artificial eyebrows, right?

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