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Why American Blonde-shell, Jean Harlow, Used Bleach as Hair Dye

Update Date: Feb 22, 2013 11:39 AM EST

One of America's most iconic women before Marilyn Monroe was Jean Harlow, a blonde and sultry actress known for her platinum blond hair. Harlow graced the screen numerous times and was unofficially nicknamed the 'blonde bombshell' before her untimely and unfortunate death at the early age of 26. To this day, there are still rumors circulating what may have caused her early departure from the world. Some believe she died from an abortion gone wrong while others think it was due to excessive binge drinking. More interestingly, maybe it was the combination of all of these factors, plus her excessive use of bleach to achieve that specific platinum color that was never before done until Harlow's stylist introduced it to her and the world.

Before Harlow, no one knew that one could reach an even lighter blonde color. But, due to Harlow's hair stylist and pushy manager who wanted her to be distinctive amongst other rising female stars, they all created the platinum blonde look that is still popular today, displayed by Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus, although their hair coloring processes are a lot easier and pain-free.The means of getting that hair color was, however, definitely not the safest way to go. Harlow's stylist, Alfred Pagano, once described the lengths he would have to go through to get Harlow's hair color. He was quoted as saying to have used "peroxide, ammonia, Clorox, and Lux Flakes" directly on Harlow's head. Although they might not have known that ammonia and bleach causes dangerous gases and hydrochloric acid when mixed together, the amount of pain Harlow must have felt on her head should have stopped the whole hair color fiasco.

However, blinded by the successes and fame, Harlow continued this process until her hair started falling out in her early twenties. It is rumored that Harlow was forced to wear wigs toward the end of her short career. Based on Harlow's medical history, which included scarlet fever, polio, meningitis, pneumonia, appendectomy, and several cases of influenza, adding toxic air was probably not the wisest choice. But till the day of her death, Harlow had always credited her unique hair for keeping her in Hollywood, otherwise, they would have never given her a second look.  

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