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The Curling Iron Helped Launch Women’s Hair Salons
Heading to the hair salon or beauty parlor is something most women treasure. After all, it offers up a rare hour or two of “me time” to be pampered and get a new hair-do. Many even come out feeling brand new or rejuvenated in spirit. Believe it or not, if it weren’t for the advent of the curling iron, many hair salons probably wouldn’t have existed. Invented by Marcel Grateau, a former horse groomer, the curling iron was seen as a new way to curl hair. With his invention in tow, Grateau opened his own ladies’ salon in Paris.

The curing iron he invented allowed him to create that iconic flat wave that came to mark the entire flapper era. His success not only gave women the curled hair of their dreams, but it legitimized the idea of public hair salons just for women. For much of the 18th century, women were tasked with doing their own hair at home, often to mixed results. With the invention of hair salons, women suddenly had options and styles to choose from. They could truly show who they were through their hair.