Monday, September 28, 2015

Washing Her Hair

I was in the shower washing my hair and thinking about the show for this week when the thought crossed my mind that I had seen paintings of women bathing. 

                                                     Women Bathing in the Sauna Anders Zorn
Bathing in lakes, 

                                                              Bathing by Edvard Munch
oceans, bathtubs, 

                                                   "The Morning Bath" by Edgar Degas
communal areas and in basins 

                                             "Woman Bathing"  by Mary Cassatt 
but, I had could not recall seeing  any art dedicated to a woman, washing her hair. Combing her hair,

                                                        "Combing hair" by Osman Hamdi Bey

 adjusting her hair, braiding her hair 

                                                 Woman Plaiting Her Hair by Pablo Picasso  
but not washing. 

Hair produces a natural oil which attracts  dirt, dust and hair product residue. Shampoo is an emulsifier which captures these things and allows you to rinse them from your hair. 


Shampoo comes from a Hindi word that looks like this Śaimpū which comes from a word champi through the Chinese.  It means to coerce, bear down, allay and was more closely related to massage. Women who preformed these massages, where special attention was paid to the hands and wrists were called Shampooers. They were employed to perform this form of massage in the bath houses of London.  Soon it was their skill with scalp massage during the bathing  that had people hooked and the word changed to mean wash hair. The year was 1860.

In 1908 Dr. John Breck introduced Shampoo to his native New England. In 1930 he created a pH balanced shampoo. In 1936 his son Edward took over management and soon partnered with  illustrator  Charles Sheldon the artist responsible for the beautiful pastel portraits of the "Breck Girls". 

                                              The first Breck girl, Olga Armstrong, from 1936 by Charles Sheldon

There are 107 oil and pastel portraits. Roma Whitney being one of the "Breck Girls" and her portrait is the face of Breck. Her profile became the registered trademark on the bottle. Ralph William Williams also painted several portraits that were used in later campaigns. 

                                                                 Ralph Williams 

This week enjoy Washing Her Hair.

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