There are so many people who are said to be inventors of the hair straightener. I’m curious who was the first one?
I believe it was Marcel Grateau indeed, although he became especially famous for inventing so-called marcelling. It’s a hair styling technique for making curly waves by applying hot curling tongs on long hair. Later, he improved this technique to curl even short hair in a similar way. Funny thing is that his first clients were basically prostitutes, and then marcelling became very popular among high life women.
However, Marcel Grateau was an inventor of an appliance for making hair straight, too. In 1872, he introduced a hot comb which could straighten hear by heating. It wasn’t very convenient and fully safe, but as women in all time want to style their hair, this invention became quite popular. Other hairdressers improved his invention, and that’s why we have the modern flat iron which is safe and easy to use.
Along with Marcel Grateau, there were other well-known stylists who used a little different straightening tools made by their own. For example, the flat iron presented in 1882 by Erica Feldman was a lot of modern straightening irons.
Simon Monroe was the first one to patent his device for straightening hair. It was a mix of a comb and a flat iron which was pretty hard to use but paved the way for further improvements.
Later on, there were Isaac K. Shero and Jennifer Bell Schofield who developed the idea of the flat iron, and their inventions were a lot like modern one.
Two African American hair experts, Madam C.J. Walker and Annie Turnbo Malone, sometimes are mistakenly considered to be inventors of the straightening brush. Even though they didn’t invent this appliance, these women came up with an idea of using straightening tools combined with special lotions. Their system became pretty popular, and Madam C.J. Walker is claimed to be the first woman in the USA who earned 1 million dollars. Since then, crèmes, oils, and lotions have become a common means for styling and straightening hair. For example, Japanese hair expert Yoko Yamashita is known as an inventor of Japanese Hair Straightening technique to permanently straighten hair with chemical goods.
Gradually, hair straighteners have become more convenient and less harmful. An iron surface was replaced by a ceramic one which is way better for hair health. The temperature settings and control buttons have become available. Later on, the hair straightening brush and the hot air brush were invented. Today these are considered to be the most effective, safest and easiest tools to make hair straight.