Blue rinse

As people get old, their hair starts to go grey but there’s also a yellowing.

That’s because with pigments in hair follicles dying with old age, the melanin levels decrease and they become transparent, giving a silvery-grey colour. But then water containing minerals like calcium and magnesium (what you may call tap water in the UK) turns it yellow. So how can this be combatted? A blue rinse.

A blue rinse involves washing the yellow-grey hair with blue shampoo which replaces the yellow (fortunately not making green if you remember your colour wheel). The trend of blue rinse grew in the 30s thanks to the movie, Hell’s Angels, staring Jean Harlow who used it.

“Some women, having observed the lavender effect and decided that it heightens rather than lowers their standing in the beauty scale, go in for it deliberately,” a columnist wrote in The Baltimore Sun in 1939. “At this particular moment, it appears, the ladies are on the verge of forgetting the original intention of the blue rinse and are using it for its own sake.”

via Mental Floss

Some of the most famous people to give their locks a blue rinse include The Queen Mother and allegedly Benjamin Netanyahu, according to some Israeli hairdressers. Nowadays, blue rinses are more colloquially associated with old Conservatives, perhaps due to the colour (the Conservative Party in the UK uses blue as its primary colour) and the notion of vanity and looking more respectable.

More on blue rinse

Blue related: the blue cows of Latvia, the Ancient Greeks and their relationship with the colour blue, and Easy Klein: an ‘Incredibly Kleinish Blue’ paint for everyone to use

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