7/8/12

Ads #52: Hair Products


I actually remember this product - probably due to its insane name: "Psssssst" (give or take an "s").  Off the cuff, I can't think of any other onomatopoeia brand names (although, isn't there a cleaning product called "Kablam"?) - so that earns it some sort of historic cred.

However, I think the main interest here isn't the name, but the fact that it's an "instant shampoo".  I hope users of this product realized they weren't actually cleaning their hair, just spraying a Febreze type scent to mask the dirty hair odor. Yecch.  A realistic ad would have had the girls hair getting flatter and greasier as the week wore on.



Another theory (as I nor anyone in my family used the stuff) is that it was similar to the Talcum powder used in the fifties and sixties.  Instead of shampooing, you'd rub the powder in your hair and it would get rid of the grease. (Sort of like throwing sawdust on vomit).

I will mention that most people didn't wash their hair every single day back then.  It wasn't till the eighties, I guess, that it became a sign of bad hygiene to skip a day or two. FYI Most homes didn't even have blow driers until well into the seventies.  This image is from 1977 if that gives you an idea of what we were dealing with back then.


This next one is from an 1980 issue of Cosmo.


These man hands don't seem to be doing a good job of touching the hair. They're grabbing for the back of the neck..... like they're pulling the girls heads downward- like they want her to -..........uh, oh.  You, don't think it's the guys saying "Come on, touch it" do you?


"Indola" is Italian for "I hate the ozone layer".  That cloud above her head isn't mist from that high pressure Indola burst she's sending to her head, it's an actual chunk of the ozone layer that's fallen down from above.

And here's a few more vintage hair ads for the road....




Looks like we've come full circle with the Psssssssssssst again.  This is from a 1970 issue of TEEN magazine.  And, yes, that's Susan Dey.

19 comments:

  1. I just looked up Pssssssssssssssssst (that was fun) and it's still made today! It's got some sort of powder in it that is supposed to absorb oils. When I had to go a week without showering (due to a surgery), my mom used some sort of baby powder on my head to do the same thing. I never did look like Susan Dey, though.

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  2. Apparently they still make "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" but lots of 1 and 2 star reviews saying that it dries peoples' hair out terrible.

    I found Tame at Dollar Tree a few years ago. Loved it so much I bought every bottle they had. Get a kick out of the fact it's been "America's favorite" since 1978, but is made in Canada. (Kind of like Deadpool & Wolverine!)

    As for those dry shampoos - those things suck. They're suppose to spray powders that absorb oil so you can just brush it out. Just makes hair look flat and greasy. If I'm forced to go more than 2 days without washing, I use baby powder. Works way better without that nasty lemon grass scent that's in most those dry shampoos.

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  3. Paul DucaJuly 09, 2012

    Do you WANT to see Cybill Shepard with flat, greasy hair?

    And don't forget when Shirley used "Quikipoo" dry shampoo on her hair, and it glued the brush to her scalp?
    (to which she threatened to sue the company and its commercial spokespeople...Kukla, Fran & Ollie--to which Laverne replied "Sue Kukla and Fran, but not Ollie")

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  4. "Gee, your hair smells terrific." I forget the year but one summer I decided to use that line on every woman I met with a Dorothy Hamill looking hairdo. A failed experiment, I went oh for the summer.

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  5. What, no Body on Tap magazine ads to be found?

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    1. Beer makes women look better? Heck, that ain't no rocket science...

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  6. i still think a more effective product name would've been "JESUS, Your Hair Smells Terriffic!"

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  7. Oh wow, I remember using Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific! Loved the bright colors and fonts used on the bottle! Never tried those spray on shampoos though...they sort of scare me!

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  8. There's a YouTube of the "Come on, touch it!" Adorn ad. http://youtu.be/GqKYo8pCtjQ

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  9. I have often thought that the whole concept of washing one's hair EVERY SINGLE DAY was developed by the haircare industry, which had already made a pile of money by adding one single word to the instructions on shampoo bottles: "Lather, rinse, REPEAT." That "repeat" spelled big bucks.

    Which is why I believe that when "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" first came out, it wasn't meant to be used every day. Back then, we simply didn't feel the need for a daily hairwash. 2X a week was more than sufficient, even if you had waist-length hair, as I did, and GYHST was my shampoo of choice. I can see how it would dry out one's hair if used daily.

    And the olfactory combination of GYHST with a spritz or two of "Sweet Honesty" or "Love's Baby Soft" or "Heaven Sent" was Love Potion Number Nine to many young men of the day ... I can attest to this.

    Another great shampoo of the time was Lemon Up, which came in a bottle with a plastic lemon for a cap. It smelled delightful ... almost as good as GYHST. I never cared for Body on Tap, which had a bit of an unpleasant "beery" scent.

    Psssssst did work, but was considered a bit of a luxury when I was a teenager; most of us girls made do with homemade concoctions such as a mixture of baby powder and cornstarch. It was a real problem if you had long, thick hair, because you had to brush the hell out of it to remove all the powder. Failure to do so resulted in a dull, grey scalp.

    I got a Supermax for Christmas when I was a teenager; it was a very big deal in its time. Another nifty must-have was something called a Purrrrrr (can't remember how many R's), an electric detangler with two sets of plastic combs working in tandem to vibrate the snarls out of hair. The Purrrrrr made a lot of noise and was also ideal for scaring cats.

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    1. AnonymousJuly 13, 2012

      I don't wash my hair everyday. I totally agree that the people who sell hair care products push the wash every day and lather-rinse-repeat habits. Shampooing too frequently often causes the scalp to produce oil which makes people think they need to wash it every day. It's one of those vicious cycles.

      Suave makes a dry shampoo that is probably similar to Pssssst. I actually think baking soda works better and is cheaper.

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    2. Some people can skip a few days, like my mom, but she's 69 and doesn't produce oils as much anymore. Then there's people like me who really should wash every day, though I can get away with two days without a wash if my hair has been set in curlers.

      The thing I mentioned about GYHSG making hair break is about the modern day version which is now made in the Philippines. While it still smells the same, the formula itself has been changed with some cheaper ingredients.

      That whole "makes you produce more oil" thing is a myth just like the "if you don't use moisturizer your face will get greasy quicker" nonsense. More people need to go to the website The Beauty Brains.

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  10. AnonymousJuly 10, 2012

    The Indola ad is Spanish, not Italian.

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  11. AnonymousJuly 10, 2012

    70s hair care? Two words: Herbal Essence. http://www.flickr.com/photos/twelvehearts/2584159499/

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  12. i know first hand that they still make that spray shampoo- the girl in the next cubicle over uses it every morning- it smells like lestoil mixed with raid

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  13. in the 70's i washed my hair every day until a hair stylist told me to to stop because i have very dry hair. i wash it twice a week now and it's in way better shape, plus the color stays vibrant longer. yes, i firmly believe that "wash your hair everyday" is rubbish invented by shampoo companies. unless your hair is extremely oily, twice a week is plenty to wash it.

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    1. Unless your hair is half an inch short or you never sleep, it's going to look goofy after the first night's sleep. That's reason enough to wash it. And if you use quality shampoo (hence, nothing made by P&G or any other company that also makes laundry detergent), it won't dry out your hair or remove too much oil from your scalp.

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  14. My favorite shampoo from the era - Head Shampoo - great jingle - "..I know my hairs would rather, have organic lather, so I wash them all with Head Shampoo"

    The company stopped producing it when Head tennis sued.

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  15. Hi there, I check your blog daily. Your writing style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

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