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Does She… Or Doesn’t She

-Debbie Shafran, RN

This slogan, written by Shirley Polykoff, for a client called CLAIROL, was a game changer.

Suddenly, the stigma of railing against effects of time on the female person, body and soul, was challenged in print.

Of course, the concept of hair color was hardly novel. The ancient Egyptians used henna to cover gray. The Romans switched between toxic black dye and a concoction made of leeches fermented in a lead vessel. Blonde dye, formulated from ashes of burned plants or nuts was of the French, but mostly used by prostitutes to advertise their services. Red hair has a very unusual history that needs its own post.

Through the years there have been wigs, hats, and other “tricks” used to mask the biggest aging “tell,” gray hair. That changed in the 1800s, when English chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered permanent hair dye while attempting a cure for malaria. He called it Mauveine, and if CVS were open in 1863, that would have been the only color on the shelf.

Eugene Schueller monetized the concept when he created a commercial dye, Aureole, in 1907. It was later renamed L’Oréal. Today, his company is the largest cosmetics company in the world, worth 26.93 billion EUR.

Apparently, she does!!!

Today no one thinks twice about hair “color correction” or ponders the resiliency of grandma’s chestnut tresses with caramel highlights. No one is left questioning their functional memory when the brunette from high school shows up at the 25th reunion as a butter blond. Hair color isn’t an age-related or even blonds have more fun -stereotype. It is an Instagramable, ombre, sombre, rainbow, tortoiseshell, phenomenon. According to The Atlantic, over 70% of women in the US use hair coloring product.

Notice the survey estimates WOMEN. What about men? Has anyone ever said, “Does He…Or Doesn’t He?”

The fact is that the #1 antiaging product in the world is NOT an injectable, or a surgery, or a procedure, or a serum, but is hair dye is surprisingly obvious. Still, the stigma of having “work” or “maintenance” remains. People may assume that celebrities and models have work done, or have magic anti-aging genes, but among neighbors and peers, that subject is often whispered about, deliberated, and avoided.

It’s time to end that nonsense.

Looking one’s best is a commendable goal. We wash our skin, get regular haircuts, manicures and pedicures. We slather on creams and lotions and work out our bodies. We buy a lot of makeup. This is all to the same end.

Social media is definitely helping remove any abashment from injectables and neurotoxins. Yet people will tell you with a straight, a frozen straight face, that they “don’t do it.”

I’d like to tell you that it is ok. The world is granting us permission to look our best, and while we “earn” every wrinkle and droop, we can correct them, too.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time. As a plastic surgery nurse, I’ve learned about the more invasive approach to aesthetics. As an injector, aesthetics service provider, and thread lift expert, I’ve seen an astonishing advance in the effective tools we can use to help rejuvenate and enhance faces using a person’s own unique palette. As an artist, I look for symmetry, angles, contours, and corrections that are subtle but stunning. As a woman of a certain age, I understand how deeply our appearance informs our moods, our state of mind, our validation. To be clear, it is NOT the single most important element to bring happiness. That is much deeper. But we all know how much a great haircut can elevate a mood. When my clients leave, their happiness is tangible and uplifting.

Let’s share that. Let’s start celebrating our own anti-aging campaign.

To quote another ad, “We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby.”

We still have lots more to go. Let’s do it together, with pride and grace.



February 5, 2020

Does She… Or Doesn’t She

January 17, 2020

Debbie’s First Rule

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