Hair styling has never been exactly easy. Most people spend about 30 minutes of their day styling their hair, and use a variety of electrical tools and tech to accomplish the task. It can feel incredibly time-consuming, but compared to our ancestors, styling our hair is a breeze!
Hair Gadgets Through the Ages
Before electricity and the various heat tools that make the taming of our locks easier, our ancestors went through a lot. They invented a vast array of rudimentary hair styling tools to make the job easier, although it may have seemed absolutely crazy to someone whose familiar the tech tools of our day.
Here are some of the gadgets once used to tame hair:
- Curling Tongs and Trimmer: Researchers discovered a very old tool from 575 BC Egypt that they believe was used for both curling and trimming hair. It’s shaped like a pair of scissors: one end features a razor and the other a pair of tongs that could clamp hair and curl it. This was a tool of the elite and would never have been found in the hands of a common person.
- Hair Hygrometer: This fancy tool from 1783 was invented for the express purpose of measuring humidity in human hair. It seems pretty random, but at the time, they believed knowing the humidity could help you style your hair the way you wanted. It’s not too far from the truth, since higher humidity within hair causes it to straighten and relax while low humidity can increase curl. This is something we’ve never had to know based on our modern tech tools.
- Thermicon Hair Dryer: In the 1880s, a scientist developed a pair of glazed stoneware tools that looked similar to a stunted hairbrush. After filling the stoneware with boiling water, the gadgets promised the ability to dry wet hair in just a few minutes. It doesn’t seem likely, but people were desperate for a better way to dry hair at the time.
- Fire-Heated Irons: If you’ve ever wondered why your curling iron is called “iron,” though it’s usually made of ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium, it’s because all curling irons were once heavy irons heated over the fire. As far back as 500 BC, women placed actual cylindrical irons over a fire to curl their hair with heat. Over time, many different irons were developed, including curling, waving, and straight irons. But they haven’t been made of iron for at least 50 years.
- Curling Tongs: Women have used tongs as a method for curling their hair for centuries, although it wasn’t terribly popular until the late 19th century, when tight curls on the top of the head became really popular. At that time, Crompton developed the first electric curling heater. You placed the tongs inside the heater rather than the fire to heat them up.
- Electric Hairbrush: Around the same time, a scientist named Charles Klein invented an electric hairbrush that had magnetized iron rods. It was supposed not only to tame the hair better than a regular hairbrush, but also to relieve headaches and stop baldness. We now know this notion is utterly inaccurate.
- Massive Hair Dryers: In the early 1900s, women visited a salon if they wanted to blow-dry their hair. The devices were too large to keep in their homes then. The dryer looked similar to a large fan with a helmet to lower onto the scalp and dry it faster. Different variations of this style of dryer developed over time, but it remained huge and uncomfortable for some 50 years before smaller, at-home models were invented.
Today’s Electric Heat Tools
Now, we would never recognize the hours it took to get ready for a party. Since the 1970s, we’ve been able to plug in hair dryers, straighteners, and curling irons, and finish with a sleek, attractive look in less than an hour.
What’s more, these tools continue to advance and improve. Thirty years ago, plugging in a hair dryer while other appliances were running could cut the power to your entire house, and straight irons pulled and broke stands of hair when you smoothed it over your locks. Built-in fail safes and smoother tourmaline technology in our devices make those former problems a non-issue.
New tools are being developed constantly as well; for example, hair brushes that are reported to straighten your hair with a single stroke, and blow dryers with a built-in color LCD touch screen. Tools are getting smarter, so it’s only a matter of time before smart hair tools become the standard on the market.
Video and Online Content
Some fancy hairstyles were made exclusively for the elite, who had the tools and servants to do their hair for them. Today, anyone can learn new styles, thanks to the modern media. Hundreds of thousands of video tutorials on YouTube show how to do unique and stunning hairstyles.
Hair companies take advantage of this content to promote their products and educate the masses about new hairdos. Tyme, the organization behind the revolutionary flat iron and curling heat tool, uses dozens of videos to showcase the product and make it available to customers.
They, like other hair tool manufacturers, broadcast the content across social media and use it as the center of their marketing campaigns. What’s more, these companies pay YouTubers and bloggers to create tutorials in order to endorse their products, and spread the mass media of hair styling even further.
As a result, content relating to hair styling is everywhere. Thanks to technology, incredible hair is no longer confined to the elite. Given the new gadgets and mass media, everyone has access to the latest trends and hair-styling knowledge.