I don't know if you have ever heard of the beautiful actress Jean Harlow. Anyone born in the first part of the 20th century will know her. I gather she was a pinup girl in the 30's.
She came to my notice because I've been researching how women with long hair can recreate styles from the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's. I have hair to just below my rear and I do not want to cut it so off to the internet. I discovered tons of videos which will show me how to do it.
In the process, I came across a bit of information on Jean Harlow because it is said she was the first bleached blonde, even before the advent of blonde dye.
She was born Harlean Carpenter in 1911 but she died at the young age of 26 in 1937. She wore the original "Blonde Bombshell" moniker, long before Marilyn Monroe.
Unfortunately, there are many rumors flying around on why she got sick and died at such a young age. One that shows up has to do with becoming ill from bleaching her hair. I know, you are sitting there, wondering how bleaching her hair could have made her sick enough to die. After all, people do it all the time and do not get hurt.
Remember, this is before bottled blonde hair color existed. This was in the days, you had to do it yourself. Before her, there was no "Blonde Bombshell." Although people used hydrogen peroxide to lighten hair, it did not lighten it to a platinum shade. So what did she use to get her hair that light? You are going to cringe. I did when I read the ingredients.
Her stylist used a mixture of bleach (the stuff you use in your laundry), ammonia, peroxide, and Lux flakes. Lux flakes were a brand of soap flakes back in the early 20th century. Imagine, Clorox bleach had the same whitening ingredients then as now. It is not something one would normally use on their hair.
In case your chemistry is a bit rusty, when you mix bleach with ammonia, a horrible gas is produced and the final product is hydrochloric acid. Yeah, the stuff you find in the chemistry lab and have to handle carefully. Apparently, she used it once a week to keep her tresses a beautiful shade. Unfortunately, it caused her hair to start falling out so she had to resort to wigs in the later part of her life.
Understand, they are not saying this was the cause of her death but it could have contributed to it. Jean Harlow was not in the best of health having suffered polio, pneumonia, influenza, and several other medical issues. The official cause of death was listed as kidney failure.
The first safe blond dye did not hit the markets till the 1950's courtesy of Clairol. Have a great day and let me know what you think.