Powder Wigs to Dry Shampoo: A Trip Through Hair Care History

Hair care has evolved significantly over the centuries. Each era brings new trends and more innovations. One lesser well known evolution is the transition from wig powders in the 17th century to modern-day convenient dry shampoo. Let’s take a closer look!

dry shampoo product from the 1940s.

In the 17th century, the European nobility and upper classes wore wigs. Why? To set them apart from the peasantry ( at least in their own snobbish minds.) Maintaining these powder wigs was somewhat of a challenge.

powdered wig 17th century
Powdered Wigs of the 17th century. Image ©DepositPhotos

Enter wig powders! These were a mixture of starch, scented herbs, and spices. Used daily, they could freshen up and style even the dowdiest of wigs. These powders also helped to absorb excess oils and odors while also adding volume and fragrance to the wigs.

Evolution of Dry Shampoo

As personal hair hygiene practices evolved, so did hair care products. By the 19th century, powdered wigs pretty much fell out of fashion. But the idea of dry shampoo powders remained. Typically composed again of starch or talc, fry shampoo was infused with fragrances and comprised baking soda and/ or herbs.

dry shampoo

They offered a quick and easy way to cleanse the hair without the need for water. In the Edwardian era, dry shampoo powders were particularly favored among women for maintaining their intricate updos and elaborate curls

Nowadays life in the 21st century has got itself in quite a rush. With all the running around we do, our hair can accumulate oil and sweat throughout the day. Using a recommended dry shampoo perk up, many reviewers have found it absorbs all that the excess oil. In otherwards, no residue! If you have particularly oily hair, a dry shampoo like this prevents oil from overwhelming one’s hair. If you have sensitive skin, the natural rice starch it is comprised of is a lot less harsh than the usual aluminum starch.
The result is blow-out bouncy locks even on the dirtiest strands!

The Consumer Age: 1930s, 1940s Onward

1930s shampoo powder

One significant advance in hair care technology during the 20th century, was soap to liquid shampoos and conditioners. However, the convenience of dry shampoo continued to appeal to consumers.

1970s shampoo spray advert

Dry shampoo can be a quick fix for greasy hair. No need for water. It was a staple in many households. Over the decades, dry shampoo formulations have changed. Now incorporating less toxic ingredients which cater to a variety of hair types and needs.

1970s advert for dry shampoo spray

From the opulent courts of the 17th century to modern-day bathrooms, the journey of hair powder to dry shampoo is a testament to human ingenuity.
Not to mention the constant quest for convenience as well as beauty. While  powdered wigs are only seen in period dramas now, their legacy lives on in the handy aerosol cans and powder puffs of today’s dry shampoo market. Once again roving that sometimes, the best solutions are the ones that truly stand the test of time.

That’s all ! ©Glamourdaze

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