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The History Of The Most Popular Hair Color, Blonde!

As we look back through time one can’t help but notice that apart from some brief moments in human history there is one group of prominent people that have stayed vigorously in vogue….. blondes!!

Now we are not nattering on about population percentages and the petite little followers of fleeting little fashion trends, we are talking about Aphrodite sized significance.
Which brings us to our starting point in ancient Greece where they prized blonde hair as it was a symbol of both beauty (as shown by their blonde gods Aphrodite, Athena and Hera) and bravery (as most of their heroes of Iliad including Achilles were blondes). In face, various Greek populations were blonde, including the legendary Spartans.

Venus_botticelli Aphrodite

Moving on to ancient Rome the most popular hair coloring was blonde, which was associated with the exotic and foreign appearance of people from Gaul, (present-day France) and Germany. Ladies of the night were required by law to dye their hair blonde in order to set themselves apart, but many Roman women and men followed suit. The very wealthiest Romans would dust their hair with gold dust to appear more blonde and emperor Commodus (161–192 C.E.) was especially famous for powdering his snow-white hair with gold.

So as we can see even back then people were going out of their way to obtain Leucous locks.

During the Renaissance, women favored golden and blonde hair because it carried an angelic connotation. Venetian women were known to wear crownless hats with wide brims and to pull their hair through the top to be splayed evenly around the brim. The hair was then plied with a mixture of alum, honey, and black sulfur to encourage sun bleaching.

In Northern European folklore, Elves and fairies were often portrayed with blonde hair in illustrations in children’s books and fairy tales. Blonde hair was associated with beauty and goodness which is a theme that continues in most animated Disney stories today from Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty. Of course, we all know of the fascination with Hollywood’s blonde bombshells who defined “sexy” for an entire era of men (and women).

legolas lord of the rings elves

In the 1930’s Jean Harlow’s platinum hair inspired generations of women to douse their heads in ammonia and peroxide. Her pure monochrome of depigmented hair translated beautifully onto black and white film. Jean’s hair color started a craze across the US where rabid fans bleached their hair to look like hers. Howard Hughes even offered $10,000 to the beautician who could match Jean’s hair color.

Then came the 1950’s and Marilyn Monroe took the dumb blonde stereotype and made it something altogether more complex. Her “dumb” characters were actually quite cunning, using their soft voices, big eyes, and fluffy white hair to bilk men out of fortunes and get whatever they wanted whenever they wanted it.
In an America where women were still second-class citizens, Marilyn’s trickster blondes were emblematic of a significant women’s issue: how to get what you want without making men feel threatened.

marilyn-monroe-Alfred-Eisenstaedt

After women’s lib, in the 1970’s the dumb blonde stereotype continued to hang around, remaining popular in Hollywood. But with the premiere of Charlie’s Angels, blondes became associated with sexy, crime fighter roles. Farrah Fawcett’s blonde character was the muscle. What her character lacked in intelligence, she made up for with skilled gunplay. The hot blonde with a bloodlust has become a different kind of Hollywood trope, inspiring characters like Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill.

Today

These days, blond hair hasn’t escaped its historical associations with sexiness or stupidity, but there’s a general awareness that the stereotypes are outdated. Legally Blonde and movies of its ilk have successfully turned the trope on its head.

legally-blonde-reese-witherspoon-as-elle-woods

So as we see down our little adventure through Blonde history blondes have always been the most sought after and revered, overcoming controversy and sometimes using it to its cunning advantage and this reign of platinum power will continue as it has been predicted that blonde hair colors will be a dominant trend through 2016. As a fellow blonde, I say with extreme confidence;

 

”Accuse us of stupidity,
we will overcome any and all conspiracy.
Nothing can get in our way.
Blonde is here to stay!!”