Home Hair care Washing hair then and now

Washing hair then and now


Most of us can not imagine not washing your hair at least every other day. Formerly washing hair was not so frequent and widespread. It was only in 1933 that the first non-alkaline shampoo accured. So how did  our grandmothers and great-grandmothers deled with it?


Article which encouraged to wash your hair twice a week, appeared in the New York Times in 1908. In the first half of the twentieth century, it was a  custom to wash your hair no more often than once a month. Trend of regular hair care  , applying cosmetics such as hair spray and styling hair at the hairdresser’s appeared only in 50’s.

Soap, rainwater and sauerkraut juice, what was used to wash hair?

Popular product used for washing hair was soap. Because of its alkaline pH, the hair became dull, porous and difficult to comb. This was due to rising cuticle scales, making the hair not cling smoothly to the scalp, swirled and tangled. People were looking for a solution that would neutralize matt effect. One of the ideas was to rinse hair after washing with substance of acid solution. The most popular were: sauerkraut juice, vinegar and lemon juice. It was very popular to use rainwater for washing hair, which was softer than water from wells.

First shampoos

Initially, shampoos which appeared on the market contained soap, sometimes perborates (designed to lighten the shade of hair), and water softeners. Shampoos were  produced in two forms – loose and fluid. Before applying the product on the hair, one had to dissolve it in water. In addition to loose shampoo soluble in water, there  were also dry shampoos. After sprinkling powder, hair needed to be neatly combed. The effect of this shampoo was based on the sorption – absorption of a substance (sebum) by the other(sodium carbonate mixture and bromine). The first non-alkaline shampoo appeared in 1933 and was introduced by Schwarzkopf.

Today’s edition of shampoos

With time, shampoos completely replaced the soap. The composition of shampoos that we find today in stationary drugstores or online stores, for example Superkoszyk.pl, have mainly detergents, fragrances, conditioning and therapeutic substances. The most commonly used detergent is an ammonium or potassium soap, which is completely soluble in water and does not deposit on hair. Detergent is the component responsible for foaming and washing  hair. The purpose of using other substances is e.x. flavoring the product, giving it the properties of polishing, antifungal, anti-dandruff and preventing frizz.

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