June 4, 2007

Modern Beauty Shop

Let me tell you about my biggest thrifting regret. Four years ago, I happened on a garage sale one Saturday morning. I had just begun working for a professional beauty supply store, and, while interested in the beauty industry, I had not yet made the decision to pursue my cosmetology license. As I entered the garage that morning, I immediately recognized the elderly woman whose things were for sale as a retired hairdresser I had seen in the supply store on a few occasions. She was always pleasant and had the kindest face, but her name escapes me now. I got the sense that this was sort of a living estate sale, as she seemed to part with several things very reluctantly, and her daughter seemed to be taking the lead on most of the price negotiations with other customers. I immediately spied a sleek 50's coffee table that had been painted bright orange at some point in the 70s (5 bucks!), and some pretty brass starburst wall sconces. Then a stack of old magazines caught my eye. There were about twenty Modern Beauty Shop issues, a monthly publication aimed at professionals, all dating from the early to mid 1960s. I was struck by their artful cover layouts and black and white pictures of bouffant hair dos. When I discovered they were only ten cents each, I picked out five of them and headed to check out. The elderly lady said if I was interested in more, she had several boxes full in the attic. Now, Dollfaces, you must understand that at the time, I was not as passionate about hairdressing, as I had yet to learn the art, and I was trying to be good and not by tons more old crap I didn't need. I told her no thank you, and paid for my purchases. I saw her one more time, when she came into the store for some supplies, and then I never saw her again. Whether she passed on, became ill, or moved away to live with her daughter, I'll never know. I drove by her house several months later,when the full magnitude of what I had passed up finally sunk in. It was vacant. I treasure each of these magazines now, and the thought of stacks and stacks of them possibly rotting away in a landfill somewhere just kills me. A recent eBay search turned up an issue from 1969 that went for $7.50. To think that I had dozens of even older issues within my grasp for a dime a piece, well, it's almost enough to make a gal sit right down and bawl.
Now that we've all drenched our hankies, would you like to see some looks from 1962?

"Paris Does the Chou!" Only the 1960s could bring us a coiffure named for the cabbage.

The magazine still exists, now renamed Modern Salon. Apparently "beauty shop" was deemed too old fashioned. I will be sharing more from these, including some great vintage ads, salon decor tips, and, of course, the artful covers that first called my name.


jungle dream pagoda said...

These images are amazing ! have you framed any? I totally understand about leaving those mags behind.My great regret is only buying a couple of dollars worth of penny vintage cards. You would think 200 would be enough!

Anonymous said...

I found you through google and I have several of the old magazines you described. They belong to my elderly mother who used to be a beautician in her younger days. The pictures and ads are wonderful! I have seven copies of Modern Beauty Shop dated 1954-1957 and 4 copies of another publication dated 1956 & 1957. She asked me to sell them for her and I don't know where to start. any ideas? jnjrichardson@sbcglobal.net

Ricki said...

I saw this post and I just had to put a link to it in my blog. (It's here if you're interested.) I have some scans up from Modern Beauty Shop and American Hairdresser magazines. It's really neat to see all the different setting patterns.