Gleams & Notions

Rippped from the Headlines: Cosmetics Are in the News

By Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant | May 1, 2009

Occasionally, I look through newspapers and magazines for unusual or humorous mentions related to our industry. The following is the result of my search.

A woman from Miami, FL started growing her hair 20 years ago and now has hair that is longer than she is tall. She has submitted her 8 ft. 9 in. locks to the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest dreadlocks, the first entry in a new category. It takes one bottle of shampoo and one bottle of conditioner every time she washes her hair—that’s good for our industry! But sometimes takes days to fully dry. The 46 year-old woman said that she used to wash it three times a week. “Now I do it once a week. It’s very tiring.Sometimes I don’t have the energy.”

In Bridgeport, CT, a judge dismissed a woman’s 2005 lawsuit that claimed L’Oréal put brown dye in a hair color box labeled as blonde. This former natural blonde was so traumatized that she needed antidepressants. She also claimed to suffer headaches and anxiety, missed the attention that blondes receive, and had to stay home and wear hats most of the time. The headline for the article? “Blonde whose locks turned brown gets no green.”

In an Associated Press article, Dr. William Rassman said that when two men apply for a job, the balding applicant is at a distinct disadvantage. He also points out that most presidents of the U.S., with the exception of Dwight Eisenhower, who was the last bald president, have had hair. Of course, the fact that Dr. Rassman is a hair restoration surgeon and the author of Hair Loss & Replacement for Dummies might have something to do with his opinion. Hair restoration can cost from $3000 to $10,000 depending on the amount of hair that must be transplanted.

Make ’Em Laugh

Cartoonists apparently find hair related products funny too. In recent months, there have been several mentions of our products.

The first example comes from Zits, a daily comic strip about a typical teenage boy. In the first panel, a teenage girl tells her mother that she is out of shampoo. The mother asks “What kind?,” and the response is “Aloe-Based Eucalyptus Scented Microbead Energy-Infused Deeply Moisturizing Clarifying Ultra-Volumizer.”

The final panel shows a teenage boy telling his mother that he is out of shampoo. This mother asks “What kind?” And the answer is “It comes in kinds?” Are we to infer from this that the girl knows all our marketing peoples’ buzzwords, but our advertising is ignored by boys?

Another comic strip, this one Mother Goose & Grimm, the panel has the words “Blackbeard’s Secret” in the upper left hand corner. In the center, the pirate is depicted looking in the mirror and touching up his famous long beard with a brush from a jar labeled “Just For Pirates.”

Hair Today

Here are some more hair related items from newspapers. One article from The Record in New Jersey indicates that wigs are becoming popular again for the following reasons:

Aging baby boomers. Thinning hair and hair loss are common in post-menopausal women. A wig may furnish a more youthful look, and the percentage of women over 55 years old in Bergen County is projected to be more than 30% by 2012.

Growing incidence of female baldness. The American Hair Loss Association estimates that 40% of the 90 million Americans with hair loss are women.

Chemotherapy patients. New Jersey has one of the higher cancer rates among states and Bergen County averages more than 5,000 new cancer cases a year.

Religious wig wearers. Orthodox Jewish women wear them to keep their heads covered.

The fashion customer. Women who can afford high quality wigs use them to change their appearance for special events.

My own observation is that women’s wigs look more natural than men’s toupees. High quality human hair wigs can cost between $1,200 and $5,000.

About the Author
Harvey Fishman has a consulting firm at 34 Chicasaw Drive, Oakland, NJ 07436,, specializing in cosmetic formulations and new product ideas, offering tested finished products. He has more than 30 years of experience and has been director of research at Bonat, Nestlé LeMur and Turner Hall. He welcomes descriptive literature from suppliers and bench chemists and others in the field.
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