Think rainbow hair is a new phenomenon? Think again! With rockstars brandishing neon locks while belting out hits from True Colors to Tragic Kingdom and iconic toys like My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake, the decades many of us grew up in were nothing short of Rainbow Bright. The eighties and nineties were colorful to say the least, and if anything can attest to that, let it be our hair. Here are a few of our favorite early hair color products from our childhood and teen years. Do you share any of our multi-colored memories?
After catching a glimpse of Cyndi Lauper in The Goonies, we saved up our allowance for a week to buy a Pretty and Me doll. Not only could you add rainbow colored highlights to her hair, the special temporary color could be used in our strands as well! For years we had been jealous of our Little Miss Makeup doll, whose hair changed neon colors with the special brush—okay it was really just a water-soaked sponge. We wore out the pink clip-in extensions we borrowed from our Beach Blast Barbie doll after our little sis popped her head off. Let’s just say we were playing with our Pretty and Me hair color streaker long after the doll itself.
Colored sprays were the fastest way to spritz our way to totally radical locks. Growing up we made extra sure to incorporate an artificial ‘do into our Halloween costume—just so our mom had to pick up a can. Can you say Barbie and the Rockers? The spray in, wash out color was oh-so-easy to use, giving us the wind tunnel-blowout look so popular in the eighties. Watching the latest episodes of Jem and the Holograms, we certainly got our candy-colored fix.
We thought we had the last laugh dying our hair with 50-cent packets of Kool-Aid when our parents weren’t home, but after our wet hair began reeking of Great Blu-dini we began to feel a little freaky—and not in a Kool way. Though our hair looked just like Kurt Cobain’s new ‘do on Saturday Night Live, the grungy scent left us feeling like the misfits we probably were.
In the late ‘90s we reached for hair mascara when our moms wouldn’t let us go for the real thing. The easiest place to find the stuff was the corner store, at a cheap price and in even cheaper packaging. Hair mascara looked just like its eye-friendly counterpart, making us wish it was lash safe, too. Though the color streaks looked bright and bold in our stick-straight flat-ironed styles, our hair felt decidedly crunchy all day. The only solution was to layer on a glob of L.A. Looks and pretend not to notice.