Ernest Hemingway said, “All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” Words are quite literally the language we speak, and my, how some words have evolved over the years.
Here’s a little stroll through the history of the changing hair and makeup lexicon. The “frosting” of the hair that involved pulling tiny sprigs of hair through even tinier holes of a plastic cap was just as common years ago as Coca-Cola in a real glass bottle. Nowadays, that word has been replaced with dimensional color or highlights and lowlights. Today’s stylists incorporate words such as ombre, balayage and glazing into the language of hair. Although each yields a different result, all are just reincarnations of the frosting my mama and yours knew so well.
Much less common are patrons who refer to cosmetologists as “beauty operators” at the “beauty parlor.” Oh, the setting hasn’t changed, but now guests work with stylists and color specialists while at the salon. The times and the words, they are a changing.
We no longer “pluck”; we tweeze. “Bangs” haven’t gone away completely, but more and more they are now called fringe, and we don’t talk about “dying” or “tinting” hair or brows. Instead, we color. Beauty terminology has undergone a makeover. Gone are words like “bouffant,” “backcombing” and “spray net” to make way for voluminous, internal layering and hair spray. Some time ago a client asked me for a cream rinse, but not to worry, I knew she wanted a conditioning treatment.
Makeup is no different. We heard our mothers and grandmothers speak of “rouge,” “base” and “dusting powder.” Today’s modern woman speaks of blush, foundation and translucent finishes — same purpose, different words.
Let’s listen to the words once used by the most fashionable ladies of their time and softly nudge ourselves into the language of today. I saw the most humorous quotation yesterday: “I open my mouth and my mother comes out.” Whether we call it a recollection or a memory really doesn’t matter, I guess. It’s still beautiful.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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