Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Hair generations


I've been giving some thought to the way hair styles change from generation to generation. One reason being, I'm an archivist for a church history collection that includes photos. Sometimes, those photos have dates listed on them, such as this cutaway from a larger group shot with the caption: "Epworth League 1892."

(The man's hair is just as carefully composed as the women's, don't you think?)

Other times, photos have no dates, but hair (and hats) can be an indicator of the time period. Take, for instance, this undated photo of an audience of young women. 

Judging by the hair and hats, I'm guesstimating this photo was taken sometime in the early 1930s. Why? A browser search of 1930s hairstyles took me to the website Glamour Daze: A Vintage Fashion and Beauty Archive, after I clicked on this image of Jean Arthur, apparently a style-setter back then. If you want to check it out Glamour Daze is fun resource with a timeline of fashion and beauty starting in the first decade of the 20th century and up through the 1960s. 

Speaking of the 1960s, while many girls of that era got to wear flip hair cuts like Jacqueline Kennedy or Elizabeth Montgomery ("Bewitched"), my parents dragged me to the salon for a "Twiggy" style pixie cut. Was I too much of a tom boy to have long tresses? I do remember being very rambunctious, and climbing lots of trees.

Anyhow, between that pixie haircut and the blue cat-eye glasses that were all the rage, I can definitely date this pic of me on the left to 1967. Besides which, there's a date printed on the side of it. This photo was taken on my 10th birthday.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hair smells, who knew?

I carpooled to book group the other night, and as we climbed in the car one of my friends said, "Do you smell that? Someone's cooking something nearby."

I didn't smell a thing, and said so. The matter dropped, but later I got to thinking.

Years ago, I used to carpool to choir rehearsal with a friend, a Filipino woman and neighbor. Every so often when she got in the car, I'd get a whiff of garlic and other not unpleasant aromas. The smell conjured in my mind the Filipino dish "pancit," one of my friend's specialties, which she made with onions and garlic and spam and soy and peppers and noodles. I used to devour this dish whenever she brought it to our choir potlucks. So when I smelled the garlic, I assumed she'd been cooking pancit again and her hair had absorbed the smell.

Just as my hair did that night of book group. For dinner I'd been making a chicken stir fry with similar ingredients to pancit -- chicken stock with garlic and onions and peppers and soy sauce. I remember the dish had been bubbling away on the stovetop and I'd leaned over it as I reached for a serving spoon. The thought had even occurred to me: My hair will probably smell from this, but oh well. And sure enough, it did.

It turns out hair odor comes in various forms. The most common one is when hair absorbs the smells wafting in the vicinity. According to The List,
Hair is made of protein and is porous and permeable, which means smells are easily absorbed. Some hair types are more susceptible than others. 
At this link, The List offers tips for getting the smell out of your hair.

But there's also a more serious issue involving hair odor, called Smelly Hair Syndrome (SHS) or Smelly Scalp Syndrome. According to Donovan Hair Clinic, there are many potential causes of SSS [SHS]. The most common causes include:
  • Seborrheic dermatitis 
  • Psoriasis
  • Fungal Infections
  • Allergic contact dermatitis 
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Scarring Alopecias
  • Apocrine/Eccrine Gland Overactivity
  • Metabolic Disturbances
  • Infections
  • Skin Cancers
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Infrequent Washing
  • So now I'm wondering, should I let my book group friend know it was my hair she was smelling? Or did she figure it out, and is now embarrassed she brought it up? Oh, I know, I'll send her a link to this blog post.