Before Ginger Rogers, young Bette Davis and later Marilyn Monroe dyed their hair platinum blonde, Jean Harlow was the first. Robert Osborne said in March “Now Playing” article that it’s hard to say anyone is the first:
“Since the movie medium is now well into its second century, it’s virtually impossible for anybody to be “the first” to do something cinematically. Make a 3D movie? Some folks still have aching eyes from when third-dimension movies were a craze fifty-eight years ago. Watch a film on an iPhone? Basically, people were watching movies that size when “flickers” were initially introduced in small machines called Nickelodeons over 100 years ago. Even in the early 1930s, when our TCM Star of the Month Jean Harlow began her spectacular career, it was not easy to do something in the film world no one had done before. But Harlow did have first-time bragging rights on one thing: she was the first in what became a long line of platinum blonde bombshells who have added sizzle, sensuality and sassiness to the film medium ever since.“
Osborne said before Harlow, dark haired vamps were the sex symbols in the 1920s like Theda Bera and Louise Brooks.
In honor of Jean Harlow’s 100th birthday on March 3, I decided to dye my hair platinum blonde. I’ve never dyed my hair before, so I thought “What the heck? I’m about to graduate from college so I might as well do it now.” I wanted my hair to look like a field of silver daisies that someone would want to run barefoot through, like Franchet Tone said in “Bombshell.” I’m also a big Lady Gaga fan, so I wanted to look like her as well.
I used the same recipe studio’s used to dye Harlow’s hair the iconic blond hair, according to the beauty website “Steal Their Style.”
A mixture of:
*They also used Luxe Flakes, but unfortunately those aren’t made anymore so I just omitted it.
There is a reason people don’t use this to dye their hair any more. It smells really horrible and wasn’t very comfortable. I also look horrible with blonde hair since I have fair skin, as you can see in the picture above.
APRIL FOOLS! 🙂
April Fools is really silly but in honor of Jean Harlow’s 100th birthday in March, I thought it would be interesting to look at the dangerous mix of items they used on her hair. I am wearing a horrible blonde wig I bought at Party City to dress up as Lady Gaga for Halloween 2009.
Several actresses who peroxided their hair in the 1930s and 1940s experienced problems with hair loss, brittle hair and thinning hair. Jean Harlow wore a wig in the movie “China Seas” (1935), because she was trying to let it grow back to it’s natural color, according to IMDB. Ginger Rogers also described problems with her hair in her autobiography “Ginger: My Story.”
I probably will never, ever dye my hair, but certainly not platinum blonde. Please, please, please don’t try this. I’ve always been told never to mix clorox and ammonia so don’t you try it either. If you do and you get hurt, don’t send your lawyers to me. If you feel so inclined to dye your hair bleached blond, don’t do it this way. Actually don’t do it at all. I know very few people who look good with peroxide blonde hair and several of them were actresses-not people I know in real life.
Check back in May for the year anniversary beauty tip!
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I’m certainly not suggesting you dye your hair, but how about trying the hairstyle shown on the enclosed entry? It’s called the “Olympic bob,” and Carole Lombard popularized it in the spring of 1932:
It’s an intriguing look, one that would look distinctive (but not ridiculous) in 2011.
I actually wouldn’t mind trying that hair style.
I like it alot!
I’ve always wanted hair like Carol Lombards
She had a great hairline too
I’m hesitant with getting bangs, but it’s worth a shot!
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve already seen at least five April Fools’ pranks online today, none of which fooled me. But somehow I TOTALLY fell for this, even though I thought, “Gosh, that just looks like a bad wig.” Then I thought, “Ick, what a horrible mix of chemicals to put on your head! This girl is really dedicated!” Somehow I was completely duped right up until you said April Fools’! I blame it on not having breakfast yet.
(By the way, LOVE that Gaga costume! 😀 )
Hahah!! I laughed out loud at that. I really didn’t expect to fool anyone at all! I really just wanted to show that terrible mix of chemicals. 🙂
And thanks about the costume. It is a pretty bad wig….sheds alot and gets tangled pretty quick lol
Wow, I never knew about classic stars having trouble with their hair after dying it. Makes sense, though, if that’s what they were putting on their head! Yikes!
I’m so relieved to find out you DIDN’T actually dye your hair. If so, that would be dedication!
I’m pretty dedicated to classic film but not THAT dedicated lol.
It is surprising they went through so much pain since it seems like most of the time they wore wigs.
LOL, you so had me going! I was about ready to leave a comment about how amazed I was by your enthusiasm for Jean Harlow’s 100th birthday, so it’s a good thing I kept reading, lol.
I love Jean, but that would be realyl extreme.
I will say though, when I cut my hair shorter I thought about getting bangs and dying it brown to look like Louise Brooks lol.
Actually, you’d be looking like Colleen Moore, who popularized the page-boy style in the early ’20s (several years before Brooksie) and was a far bigger star than Louise ever was. (And that’s to take nothing away from Brooks’ achievements, simply setting the record straight.)
If you saw “Fragments” on TCM last night, there was a 10-minute segment of what’s left of Moore’s breakout film, “Flaming Youth,” and you could tell why she rivaled Clara Bow as the biggest “flapper” star of the ’20s — both ooze charisma. Pity we don’t have more of Moore’s films (the same applies to Bow and another comedic star of the era, Constance Talmadge).
That’s what wigs are made for!
cool– great stuff, as always— really enjoyed this!