Although I love natural products, there is one thing I have recently decided to do that involves some serious chemicals– go blonde! I was blonde as a child, and well into my 20s, then got mousier and a bit grey. The last few years I have been using a herbal dye to do brunette. But the time as come to relive my youth and be blonde again. I may have been slightly inspired by Jean Harlow in the 1930 film "Hell’s Angels".
|A young, healthy Jean Harlow|
Jean’s almost white platinum blonde hair and caused quite a stir in 1930 – nice girls did not colour their hair! Although Jean claimed her hair colour was natural, it was rumoured that she used peroxide, ammonia, bleach and soap flakes to get that ‘bombshell’ look. Peroxide sometimes caused burning to the scalp, which could result in hair loss. Alfred Pagano, hairdresser to the stars, once said abut Jean Harlow, "I used to bleach her hair and make it 'platinum blonde, we used peroxide, ammonia, Clorox, and Lux flakes! Can you believe that?" And this process was done weekly. Could this be the reason Jean Harlow died so young, at age 26. Probably not in itself, she reportedly contracted polio, meningitis, and scarlet fever before the age of 16 then had pneumonia, two abortions, an appendectomy, multiple bouts of influenza, and a bad reaction to wisdom teeth extraction. She had eloped when she was 16 with Charles 'Chuck' McGrew who was 20. Two months after their marriage McGrew turned 21 and received a part of his large inheritance. Jean and Charles moved to Los Angeles in 1928, settled in a house in Beverly Hills, where Jean led the life of a wealthy socialite. Neither worked and both were thought to drink heavily.
|Jean Harlow in 1930|
|Paul Bern and Jean Harlow on their wedding day, July 2, 1932|
Her hair did begin to fall out before her death though, and she wore a wig during the filming of China Seas. After this she changed her hair colour. Jean complained about ill health in May, 1937 while filming Saratoga. Her symptoms were fatigue, nausea water weight and abdominal pain, but were not taken serious by her doctor who believed she was suffering from a gall bladder infection and the flu. One month later, she was dead, her body double it’s size because of fluid retention. Officially,Jean died of kidney failure, or "nephritis," caused by a build-up of toxins over time because the body can't process waste. Weekly hair bleaching would not have helped.
|Jean Harlow, studoi portrait|
|Powell and Harlow in 'Reckless'|
|Lilian Harvey, 1933|
|Thelma Todd, 1933|
|Wynne Gibson, 1932|
|Francine Larrimore, 1936|
Not wanting to risk unnecessary toxic exposure or scalp burning, I went to the salon for my blonde transformation and got foils. Not quite movie star locks, or looks, but I'm happy. I may even spend more than five seconds styling it when the weather is cooler!