Up until about 1976, hair dye in any form seemed to be either the domain of the swingingest swingers of swinging London Town, models, glamour girls, and according to legend, sex workers. Or at the other end of the spectrum, it also appealed to the elderly or middle aged presumably in an attempt to “look younger” or to cover up their greying roots.
The only other colouring alternative was Henna, still popular with hippies, which would give the hair a weird orange glow. The process involved mixing the henna powder with hot water and stirring it into a foul smelling, steaming compost of a paste, plastering it onto the head while still warm and then wrapping your entire head in clingfilm while you listened to all four sides of a concept album, cooked some lentils and burnt some joss sticks, to give it time to permeate the hair.
Whatever your natural hair colour, blonde, brunette somewhere in between, then it was there to stay, and teen magazines encouraged us to embrace which ever colour it was, that mother nature had already chosen for us.
To be more precise, they would prefer to have us look like this….. rather than this.
However, by 1977, hair had become something else that Punk felt compelled to change. Natural brown hair was suddenly old fashioned and, probably due to the scarcity of choice, pioneer Punks either went blonde or black. You can practically divide some of the early punks into the relevant camp, like reading the punk hair colour, football results;
Siouxsie – Black, Idol – Blonde, Murray – Black, Harry – Blonde….etc
However, as luck would have it, also in 1977, South Molton Street hairdresser and expert colourist Renato Burns along with his brother Gino launched a brand new range of semi permanent hair dyes called Crazy Color®, whose bold shocking shades were soon adopted by Punk rockers giving them pinks, reds, blues and greens for the first time – or at least since that previous face/clothes/floor/kitchen cabinets, staining experiment with Mum’s food colouring…
4 thoughts on “You’re Not Going Out Like That! #6 – Hair Dye”
Ah, but henna was an insane natural conditioner! I used to use henna to redden up my dull brown hair for something more auburn… until the gray started to go wild around 40. Believe me, you do not want to use henna on gray. It just looks …strange, and I’m not talking Steve. I remember that inside of a Toyah album I have, there’s a sales sheet for Official Toyah Crazy Colour®. Was that ever sold in shops with her name on it? Now there was a hair-color abuse poster child if ever there was one!
Ha! It’s funny that you should mention Toyah…it’s her birthday today. I think loads of us tried henna, tried bleach, tried bleach followed by henna, and then settled for black!!
Black is always in style, it’s true.