I was intrigued on visiting Lee Stafford’s website to see that one of his offerings is dry shampoo. This seems to be some kind of powder that is applied from an aerosol. There are rave reviews of it on the website from satisfied users, but I suppose there would be wouldn’t there. They seemed pleased that they had a product to keep their hair in tip top condition without all that tedious washing and blow drying. The only downside would seem to be that it makes the ‘I’m washing my hair’ excuse for turning down a date a bit redundant.
As a gnarled old chemist long past his dating days, I was a bit surprised to see it there at all. To me, dry shampoos were something I only heard about many years ago when I first started in cosmetic labs. There were some old formulations in old lab books and some of the raw materials in old jars in the backs of cupboards.
When I asked old hands about it they would smile wistfully and shake their heads.
It seems that dry shampoo was a big line in the forties and fifties. It is hard to imagine now, but in those days having running water in a hotel room was quite rare. Commercial travellers, as sales representatives were known in those days, would tend to go for the cheaper hotels and so could not rely on having the best facilities available to them when they had to spruce themselves up for an important and hopefully lucrative meeting. It wasn’t that complicated – just a powder that you dusted into your hair then combed off. It was a bit like Shake’n’Vac for the hair. I suspect that it probably didn’t do very much other than give the salesmen a psychological boost.
What a different world it was back then. The idea of a celebrity hairdresser selling dry shampoo as a glamorous aid to a teenagers busy lifestyle would have seemed like science fiction fifty years ago.