Monday, February 22, 2016

Jean Harlow's Hair

Jean Harlow, the sultry sex goddess of 1930's Hollywood, is quoted as saying, "If it wasn't for my hair, nobody would know I'm alive." If you've never heard of Jean Harlow, she's the original Platinum Blonde and Blonde Bombshell.

I got to thinking about Jean Harlow yesterday as a used bleach to do a load of laundry. I would never dye my hair, but I did chemically straighten it for decades. For the past year I've "gone natural" because I decided I was sick of chemicals. But check out the toxic regimen Jean Harlow subjected herself to each week to maintain her platinum tresses while a super star at MGM Studios:

"I used to bleach her hair and make it 'platinum blonde,'" Alfred Pagano, hairdresser to the stars, once said. "We used peroxide, ammonia, Chlorox, and Lux flakes! Can you believe that?"

Although I do believe that, it's mighty hard to think that Harlow would subject herself to such a painful process. And Chlorox, when mixed with amonia produces noxious gas and hydrochloric acid. I'm not a chemist, but that sounds pretty deadly to me.  

Jean Harlow was plagued with a multitude of health issues and died in 1937 at twenty-six, while at the peak of her career. That hair regimen certainly didn't do anything to increase her longevity.

Harlow's medical records became unsealed in the late 1990s, so if you care to read up on what actually caused her death, click here.

Had you ever heard of Jean Harlow? If so, what's your favorite Jean Harlow movie? Mine is Dinner at Eight.

Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 


Donna Allen said...

Jean Harlow was an amazing comedienne,who in my opinion never reached her full potential. I knew that bleaching in the thirties was different than the bleaching products used today, but the chemicals that were used on her were horrible. I can't even imagine using a volatile combination like that to clean anything! I surprised she wasn't bald. I'm not a doctor, but I'm sure these constant use of toxins contributed to her early death.

As for a favorite movie, I too am a fan of Dinner at Eight.


Maria McKenzie said...

Hi, Donna! It is rumored that she started losing her hair while in her early 20's and then started to wear wigs. Is it any wonder?

William Kendall said...

For me, Wife Versus Secretary is my favourite.

shelly said...

I loved Jean Harlow.

Norma said...

I've most definitely heard of Jean Harlow.

I dyed my hair for year when I didn't really need it. Now that I'm going gray, I no longer dye it. Yes, I'm backward!

Maria McKenzie said...

@William: That's one I've heard of but never seen;).

@ShellY: Me too! She really was funny:).

@Norma: Hey, your hair is healthier without the dye!

John Spahn said...

Hi Everyone:

If you really want to know about her hair read the chapter on Fan mail in The Girl From Missouri--The True Story of Jean Harlow on Kindle. Any questions you ever had about her as well as gossip is answered in the story/autobiography. It was available free Aug 5-7, 2016 and may again be offered free to Kindle readers.

Best to All friends of Maria.