The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without Elizabeth Taylor dramatically tossing her (white) diamonds across the table and shrieking, “These have always brought me luck!”
Beauty ads have a long and storied history. But, our favorites are all about hair. The hair product commercials of yore inspired a deep and real commitment to my ever-evolving search for “body” (a very out-of-circulation marketing term of late, no?) and Pantene gleam.
Ahead, see some hilarious, Clio-worthy favorites from the ‘70s through the ‘90s.
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Pert Plus Two-in-ones were all the rage in the late ‘80s. This brand’s pearlescent, seafoam green formula kicked off a nationwide obsession with in-shower efficiency to which many of us (mostly men) probably still subscribe. Alas.
Pantene Pro-V Speaking of two-in-ones, here’s a brand that actually did them well (when paired with an additional conditioner to hydrate your ‘90s spirals pre-Aussie Sprunch shellacking). With top-of-the-Chrysler-Building shine, the Pantene Pro-V commercials of yore set the bar high for gleaming locks for the rest of time. We miss the sublime smell of that specific era of Pantene like nothing else. It smells like homeroom and adolescence, sneaking Jack Daniels to football games, and first kisses. Plus, it made your ‘do look on fleek (or rad, in the parlance of the times), to boot.
Revlon Outrageous Is there anything more quintessentially ‘90s chic than Revlon hair ads? Oh, yeah: Cindy Crawford. Before everyone’s favorite supe was associated with special anti-aging formulations from France, she was the face of Revlon. To this day, few hair-care products smell as sublime as the Outrageous range. Check it out in all its Clinton-administration glory.
Salon Selectives Before women actually, factually stepped out of salons every time they shampooed (thank you, blow-out bars on every corner of New York City), professionally styled hair was a rare, precious thing. Salon Selectives’ ad campaign featured Day-to-Night Barbie-pink packaging and the promise of coiffed locks straight from your own shower. “Select your own combination” was the precursor to brands boasting far too many SKUs for a single collection. But, in the grand tradition of ‘80s and ‘90s hair care, it also smelled divinely...of apples.
Studio Line By L’Oreal L’Oréal Paris’ hairstyling line’s campaign was one part bastardized Genesis lyric, one part D.J. Tanner’s bedroom aesthetic with a serious adherence to primary colors, and three parts deeply nineties. (Like, more nineties than Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.) The Pumping Curls advertisement is a particular favorite, mostly because no word in that product’s name would exist on 2014 packaging.
Vidal Sassoon Architectural cuts and British accents became an official thing when Vidal Sassoon launched in the U.S. "If you don’t look good, we don’t look good," the brand’s official mantra, was moderately ambiguous with regard to its effectiveness. This ad campaign did, however, inspire us to a life-long British pronunciation of the word “salon." We have to wonder: Did one of these commercials inspire Anna Wintour’s famous very Vidal cropped bob?
Herbal Essences This one is a classic for a reason, not the least of which is the fact that this chick had both the room and the flexibility to wash her hair in the non-potable water-flowing sink of an airplane bathroom. Oh, how flying the friendly skies has changed since the ‘90s. Now, your organic experiences are limited to whether Delta has run out of the quinoa and hummus wraps for purchase before they get to your row. Side note: Do you remember Herbal Essences being a Clairol offshoot? Herbal Essences actually remade this commercial a couple years ago starring Nicole Scherzinger.
Glints Color Enhancer Kudos to Clairol’s ‘90s ad agency, because here’s another advertorial slow jam of the decade. 1995 was all about spiral curls, and the most famous owner of those was pre-Mrs. McSteamy Rebecca Gayheart. I don’t know about you, but I rushed the eff out to my local Drug Emporium (RIP) and bought the heck out of some Glints. I’m not sorry, either. Eight IS great. Bonus: A Bob Ross (also RIP) cameo. Bring it back, along with my beloved lighted mirrors, OK, Clairol?
Breck Basic Texturizing Shampoo This ‘70s commercial is straight-up lies, fallacies, and fairytales, to quote Kid Fury. Can you imagine a world where anyone would believe you can change the texture of your hair with just shampoo? No heat tools, no Oribe Dry Texture Spray? Not even conditioner?! It’s safe to say Breck had a casual relationship with the truth four decades ago.
Farrah Fawcett Faberge Shampoo Yes, this was a thing. And, it was brought to you by the egg people. Remember the times before keratin, when people would brag about herbs in their shampoo? That was a fun follicular era where “cream rinse” was part of our vernacular.
GLH GLH stands for “Great Looking Hair,” although how you achieve that with a can of what appears to be spray paint is questionable. Here’s a tip: If “spray paint the bald away” is the tagline, maybe search elsewhere for a thinning hair solution. We recommend Redken Cerafill, BTW.
Hair Club For Men Who could forget Sy Sperling, who’s not only the president of the brand, but also a client? His hair looks like it should be studied in a lab, but let’s be real with each other: If this really worked, why does every guy in his late 30's on OK Cupid still have a comb-over? Riddle us that, Sy.