December 17, 2016

The woman who invented the blow-drying method of hairstyling.

You used to "set" the wet hair in rollers and sit under a big hair-drying dome...



... but Rose Evansky — who has just died at age 94 — figured out the new way:
“I’d been wandering past a barbershop in Brook Street around the corner from our salon in North Audley Street, and I saw the barber drying the front of a man’s hair with a brush and a hand-held dryer,” she told W magazine in 2012. “And this image — of the barber with the dryer — flashed through my mind and I thought, ‘Why not for women?’”....

“I picked up a spiky plastic hairbrush and a hand dryer and started rolling a wet section of her hair around the brush, followed by warm air from the hand dryer held in my left hand,” she wrote in a memoir, “In Paris We Sang” (2013). “The more sections of wet hair I rolled over the brush, the easier it became, and soon part of [the customer's] curly hair looked smooth, as if it had been brushed through from a set. Exciting!”

One day by chance, Lady Clare Rendlesham, the editor of the British edition of Vogue, dropped by the salon and, witnessing a blow-dry in progress, stopped dead in her tracks. “What are you doing, Rose?” Mrs. Evansky recalled her shouting....
I'm sure blow-drying makes more sense than the rollers-under-the-dome approach, but I'm in love with the photos of women sitting under those absurd things. Here's an excellent collection — "a moment of reflection on our cultural loss: the importance of hair dryers in mid-20th century american life" from a blog called "finding jackie." In addition to pictures of ordinary women, we see Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Sophia Loren — each of whom reacts to the experience of going under the dome in precisely the manner we expect from her.

I couldn't figure out the name of the "finding jackie" blogger, but I got obsessed with finding a book I read long ago that I thought might have that title. Searching for a book on your shelves might be as passé as setting your hair in rollers and sitting under a dome dryer, but I discovered I am still able to do it....

P1110980

37 comments:

mockturtle said...

I remember actually sleeping in hair rollers when in my early teens. Ugh!

Kate said...

My mother in the 70's had a home dryer -- pink -- with a hose out the front attached to the motor. The smell, not unpleasant, of the warm air is a great memory. I love that tradition of a woman sitting at the table, reading the paper and drinking coffee, while her hair set.

mikee said...

Growing up in the TV era where the better off suburbanite housewives went to a beauty parlor once or twice a month, or weekly, to have their hair done and hear all the gossip, and yet having a mother whose trips to the parlor were semiannual at most, I realized that there was an economic force at work in the hair drying business.

Now I realize it also included social signals of wealth and probably signals some self righteous virtue, as well, taking such expensive care of the coif. Other than the neighborhood gossip, of course, which is also used for a different kind of virtue signalling.

virgil xenophon said...

LOL Jackie and her pink pill-box hat were on the cover of magazines everywhere. I remember my Mother saying at the time: "If I see one more photo of Jackie wearing that damn pink pill-box hat on one more magazine cover I'm going to throw up!" (And pink was he favorite color, so you had to go some to tick my Mom off...of course she was a Republican..)

virgil xenophon said...

PS: And yes, my mom was one of those who went to the "beauty parlor" weekly to get her hair done. In later years the gal who "did" her hair was a girl I had gone to HS with, lol

Marc Puckett said...

The blogger's name is Oline Eaton. I thought that had to be a nom de plume but, no. [https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/oline-eaton(4712733c-2f0a-4f3a-b9db-3ce9d126ca42)/biography.html]

Bill said...

I remember my shock when I watched the 1931 so-bad-it's-good Joan Crawford/Clark Gable movie Dance, Fools, Dance. A scene early in the movie shows Joan with blow-dryer in hand -- and it's nearly identical to the kind I used in college, ca. 1980.

buwaya puti said...

Whatever the qualities of hair dryers, or of women reading - this is a superb display of classic black&white photography, the real old school 35mm-120 stuff with that curious combination of dramatic snap and delicate rendering.
Its a great medium for the candid portrait, and back then it seems that people, including the leading ladies of the cinema, were far more "candid".

YoungHegelian said...

Hey, my 89 year-old mother still gets a wash & set!

Once, some years ago, when she came up for an extended visit where social necessity dictated a trip top the beauty parlor, my poor wife had to get on the phone & find a beauty salon that still offered a "wash & set". She found one, & everyone was happy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

I remember using THIS in my ancient youth. Like a big balloon on your head. And that tortured flip that was popularized ala Leslie Gore.

Why do we do this stuff to ourselves?

Like Mockturtle, I also remember sleeping in curlers. Thank goodness for the hippie dippie days if only for the style of long natural, unstyled hair. We could, literally, let our hair down.

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer

Dust Bunny Queen said...

oops. Bad link. THIS hairdryer

Linda said...

I remember sitting under hair dryers at the "beauty parlor" when I was young. My mother got her hair washed, set and combed out every week. On a daily basis another layer of hairspray was added, but her hair was never brushed or combed during the week . . . how weird that sounds now. As I recall, the noise of the dryer made talking (or rather hearing) pretty difficult. The beauty parlor always had so many magazines to look at, it was great to keep up on the Hollywood gossip.

mockturtle said...

DustBunny reflects: Like Mockturtle, I also remember sleeping in curlers. Thank goodness for the hippie dippie days if only for the style of long natural, unstyled hair. We could, literally, let our hair down.

Oh, yes! The late 60's revolution was liberating in SO many ways. The most I did with my hair, except wash it, was to sometimes braid it and let it dry, creating a kinky-wavy look. No makeup. And, most liberating of all, I never carried a handbag!.

John said...

Jackie onassis has really creepy eyes. She looks like a bad b horror flick.

Why do women put up with crap. Oh, yeah, now I remember. To look good.

For men.

Thanks, suckers.

I do appreciate it but it is still silly. Along with makeup, obsession with shoes, fashion and so on

John Henry

mockturtle said...

John surmises: Why do women put up with crap. Oh, yeah, now I remember. To look good.

For men.


Not really, John. We do it for ourselves and to impress each other. If women dressed to please men, the 'sack' would never have become popular.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Mockturtle. No makeup was awesome. Even today I only wear a bit of eyeliner and mascara because as Welsh/Iris gal, my eyelashes are pale. My hair was very very long then, also sometimes in a braid, actually to tame the curly waviness. Or coiled up on top of my head with some chopsticks to keep it in place.

Remember when we got pantyhose!!!! No more of those awful nylon hose rubber/metal tab-like holders that hurt like Hell to sit on. Of course...again thanks to the hippies, no more nylons, girdles (which, as teens, we wore for no discernible reason. We weren't fat....why girdles????). No more rocket ship pointy metal reinforced industrial strength bras either.

Not everything the hippie culture did was good. The release from the prison of 50's 60's fashion WAS....great!



Original Mike said...

Audrey Hepburn looks great in anything. Even a big metal conehead.

walter said...

I like to think of those things as mental programming stations.

fivewheels said...

So if a woman uses a technique after seeing a man do it, that counts as "inventing" it?

The Cracker Emcee said...

My Mom had one of the portable bag-over-the-hair hair dryers and I remember the warm smell emanating from it. Funny, but I'm sure I haven't thought of it even once in the last 35 years until today. The jackie link was a striking reminder of how many profoundly different worlds you live in within the span of a life. Other than some music, thrift store knick-knacks, and ideological echoes, the early '70's seem to have vanished without a trace, the early '60's are a golden fabled past, and the '40's of my parent's youth a different planet altogether, inhabited by a markedly superior species.

Quaestor said...

I wonder if Meade ever thought of Dr. Althouse as Dr. Girlfriend?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Oh, dear God, I remember having a sleepless night of agony before my first Communion because my mother put curlers in my hair - the gray, spiky, hair brush-like ones as opposed to the pink ones with foam rollers which were much more comfortable but didn't curl as well and were apt to leave weird bends in your hair. It was torment and made me wonder if my mother's scalp was made out of leather, since she seemed to have no problems sleeping with curlers. I never considered how my dad felt about what must have surely put a damper on the libidos of millions of men. (On second thought, it didn't stop them, since they did produce a baby boom. I guess curlers and a face covered with Pond's cold cream didn't daunt the generation which stormed Omaha Beach and Imo Jima.)

My older sister went to the same all girl's hs I did and it was actually a status symbol to wear curlers (with a headscarf over them) to school on Fridays, since it showed you were going out on a date that evening.

By the time I got there, we were all using blow dryers and curling irons to achieve the correct Farah Fawcett look.

mockturtle said...

I never considered how my dad felt about what must have surely put a damper on the libidos of millions of men. (On second thought, it didn't stop them, since they did produce a baby boom. I guess curlers and a face covered with Pond's cold cream didn't daunt the generation which stormed Omaha Beach and Imo Jima.)

Exiled, I think men had stronger sex drives back then and weren't so dependent upon visual stimulation as they are today. Or maybe it's because there is so MUCH of it now that their senses are blunted.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"On a daily basis another layer of hairspray was added, but her hair was never brushed or combed during the week . . . how weird that sounds now."

And that Aqua Net stuff was industrial strength glue. It didn't matter how windy it was, your hair did not budge. I remember repeatedly touching my hair and marveling after my mother had shellacked my hair with a coating of that stuff. I think if I had taken a tumble and hit my head, my hair would have shattered.

Mac McConnell said...

Neighborhood bars of America are full of retired men waiting to pick up their wives from the salon. Salons are good for the bar business.

I have five sisters, the only thing worst than the drone of portable hair dryers in the 1960s was when one sister practiced her clarinet.

exiledonmainstreet said...

mockturtle and Dust Bunny Queen, although I agree wholeheartedly that it's great to be free of curlers and girdles and cone bras - thank god, I missed the girdles and cone bras, dressing up for me in the teen years was putting on my David Bowie glitter t shirt - I do miss the camaraderie. I think - think - my mother's generation had.

She did the weekly beauty shop thing; plus coffee klatches and a Thursday bowling league and she did volunteer work at our church and our grade school library. (Well, actually, that last rather sucked as far as my brother and I were concerned, since when we got into trouble, she found out about it very quickly. And no goofing off in the library for me!)

My dad had poker parties and the Knights of Columbus and hunting and the corner bar.

The sexes were separate socially much of the time and it was simply accepted that guys needed time to sit around and be with guys and the women needed that time away from spouse and children.

I remember Althouse posting a picture (or was it a video) of a party at her parents' home back in the 1950's and commenting that those people seemed like they had more fun. It seems like all that away time from each other gave the time the sexes spent together that much more zest.


walter said...

mockturtle said...Exiled, I think men ..
--
Sounds like the kind of speculative chatter that would be overheard at these salons ;)

SukieTawdry said...

Who's old enough to remember the portable home hairdryers with hoses and big shower cap hoods? Or going to bed every night with a head full of curlers?

mockturtle said...

Or going to bed every night with a head full of curlers?

I think I mentioned that in the first post. ;-) It was seconded by DBQ.

Robert said...

So did Audrey Hepburn just ash on the floor?

Quaestor said...

So did Audrey Hepburn just ash on the floor?

I didn't know she was cremated. Live and learn...

coupe said...

The women that bugged me, were the ones who went everywhere with curlers and a head scarf.

Trailer park look.

oline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
oline said...

thank you for the shout out xx

Sammy Finkelman said...

The title was somewhat different than what you remembered. That's what often is the case when there's something you're trying hard to remember, and you are having trouble - some detail is wrong.

What was that book about?

Sammy Finkelman said...

virgil xenophon said...12/17/16, 10:05 AM

(And pink was her favorite color, so you had to go some to tick my Mom off...of course she was a Republican..)

Pink was a female color then, and blue male.

Red only became a Republican color in the year 2000, because of the long undecided election, which caused state coloring to be seen for many days. NBC chose red for the Republicans and blue for the Democrats becaus ethe Dempcrats objected to red.


Peviously, going to at least 1976 and probably the beginning of color television being the standard, around 1965, all sorts of different color schemes had been used in Electoral vote maps, but 2000 fixed the colors.