By Mary N. DiZazzo

Hairdressing -- the Beginning

Ciao bella,

Ah, che bella capelli!

In just the last 25 years of the 19th century the hair dressing industry started to realize it must become organized. After all, there were prestigious hairdressers' guilds all over Europe establishing the rules and regulations for training and apprenticeship. The guilds turned out master stylists, who were respected and admired by their peers as true artisans.

Possibly the Puritans' fear of vanity or the country's largely rural population kept American hairdressers from achieving professional status until the late 1800s.

In 1877, a publication called, The American Hairdresser, was started. The limited pages offered hairdressers business tips, and then, in time, the big-city developing trends and education.

The term "salon" only came into use in the 1890s. In 1888 The Hairdealers Association was founded, later to be known as The National Cosmetology Association.

Also, at that time, was an African-American entrepreneur, Annie Malone, who began marketing a product called "Wonderful Hair Grower." Certainly recognized by history as one of the first African-American haircare companies.

Back in France in 1872 a Parisian hairdresser, M. Marcel Grateau, made beauty history with a pair of heated tongs which created temporary waves in the hair. That trend went on for almost half a century. My nana and mom rolled up many a Marcel wave in their years of hairdressing.

Up to that time Victorian women wore their hair parted in the center, and it was never cut except in cases of serious illness.

It wasn't until 1890 that another French hairdresser, Alexander Godefroy, attached a hood to the chimney pipe of a gas stove and the first hair dryer was born.

Stay turned for a future column "When Bigger (Hair) was Better," on women's hairstyles in the late 19th century.

[Source: American Salon Magazine by Wella Corp.]

Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America!

Have you missed any of Mary's columns in the Post-Gazette? Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns on her website She is a third-generation cosmetologist and owner of Mary for Nails, etc. natural nailcare salon in Andover, and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183. She also sees select clients by appointment in Boston at (617) 742-6881.