high school friends

To Feather or not to Feather, that was NOT the question

70s hair care

Ahhhhhhh, 1970s hair care products.  The stuff dreams were made of.  This photo represents just a few of the shampoos et al that I was quite sure would change my life when I was a 15-year-old budding beauty. I’m using both of the terms “budding” and “beauty” rather loosely here. Truth is, there was very little budding going on and no one accused me of being beautiful as a freshman in high school.  And yet, my three best friends and I were in hot pursuit of finding THEE perfect shampoo/creme rinse combination that was going to make our hair stop traffic and basically, change the world.

Oh, and, by the way, you read that right: creme rinse.  Not “conditioner.”  When did it go from creme rinse to conditioner?  Doesn’t creme rinse just sound fancier? Anyway . . .

Linda, Andrea, Kathy and I considered it our personal assignment to investigate every possible shampoo and determine what was the most awe-inspiring.  And, lest you think we simply used a product straight from the bottle, let me stop you right there.  We added a whole new dimension: mixing.  Like half “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” with half “Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.”  Or three parts Prell to one part Breck. The possibilities were endless and we were determined to get it just right. The trick was then to remember our “perfect formula” so we could recreate our life-transforming hair.

It was very convenient of Linda’s Mom to have a baby around this time, thus creating a stockpile of baby food jars at her house, the perfect receptacles for our concoctions.  Linda would bring the little jars to school and we gingerly put them in our lockers for safe-keeping. I’m trying to remember if we also mixed creme rinses, but I’m a little foggy there.  I think we left those alone and just concentrated on mixing up the bubblies.

Between the four or us, we had every kind of hair.  Kathy’s blonde hair was silky and straight and fine.  She sported both the popular “Dorothy Hamill wedge” and the “shag” (but not at the same time, obviously). Brunette Andrea’s was super-coarse and thick.  She had a wedge for a time, as well, although her’s was a considerably thicker one than Kathy’s.  Linda’s and mine were the most similar.  Both dark blondes with wavy hair.  Not a single wedge between the two of us, though.  We were so “out of it.”

Wait, is it possible you don’t know what Dorothy Hamill hair looked like?  Let’s fix that right away.

dorothy hamill hair
Isn’t she adorbs?

Here are a few other popular looks in the 70s:

Jane Fonda sporting a shag.
This was the page-boy, but we called it “Toni Tennille” hair. My sister rocked this look!
Susan Dey - The vast majority of us fell into this camp.
Susan Dey – The vast majority of us fell into this camp. Middle part, hair straight down and partially impairing our vision.

 But without a doubt, the hair we ALL wanted, no matter who you were, no matter what color hair you had, no matter what side of town you lived on or what you ate for breakfast that day, every girl worth her weight in shampoo wanted to look like this:

Flawlessly fabulous feathers!
Flawlessly fabulous feathers!

I have no words to describe this.  Well, wait, sure I do: “sheer perfection.”  How did she get her hair, I MEAN, feathers to flip in the perfect direction at just the correct angle all over her head like that??  I’ll never know.  No shampoo/creme rinse combination in the world could’ve gotten my hair to look like that.  Not many girls could achieve this look, not for lack of trying.  There were an elite few, certainly.  If you did, you have my utmost respect and admiration.  (Ummm, if you still do, it might be time to consider a change.)

And here I am now, in bad need of having my roots dyed.  (Apparently I did, indeed,”bud” and am way on the other side of that process.)  I may not have ever had hair that came close to looking like a TV star (unless you consider Lassie to be one, which [s]he most certainly was) but I sure had fun playing “shampoo chemistry” with my friends back then.  And waiting for the world to change simply because our hair smelled terrific!

2 thoughts on “To Feather or not to Feather, that was NOT the question

  1. This brings back so many memories for me too! Although I never thought to mix shampoos – very “science-y” of you! I loved Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo and the coordinating powder and body spray. Also remember indulging in many fruit flavors – especially strawberry. For some reason, pH balance was a big selling point back then and as a middle-schooler, I was highly motivated by that! I had long/straight hair, but attempted Farrah’s famous style to no avail.

    How about the great perfumes of the day?? Love’s Baby Soft, Blue Jeans, Green Apple and my personal favorite, Skin Musk. Did you mix those too?

    1. Well, you know me, science, science, science. (She said sarcastically.) I think my favorite fruit flavor of that era was “green apple,” as you mentioned was a popular perfume scent. Why we’d want our hair to smell like apples, though, I don’t know. Also, remember Protein 21 and its claim to repair split ends? Split ends were a real problem back then, too. You don’t really hear about those so much any more. We’re on to different problems now. Hey – I thought you had lovely feathered bangs back in the day! And regarding the perfumes, no, we didn’t mix any of those. A couple others I recall were Jean Nate and Skinny Dip. Some things are just too sacred to mess with.
      Thanks for the comment, JJ!!

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