10 Wacky Grooming Products from the 1970s

I’d like to say that we Baby Boomers were savvy shoppers in our youth—that we never fell for fancy packaging or seductive advertisements. I’d like to say that, but I’d be lying. Why else would we have slapped down our hard-earned baby-sitting money on products like these in the eternal quest to look and smell our best?

1. Lemon Up

Vermont Country Store

Each bottle of Lemon Up shampoo purportedly contained the juice of one whole lemon along with its other ingredients. Rinsing your hair with lemon juice after shampooing was one of those beauty tips advice columnists used to hand out—it helped to rinse all the detergent-y buildup out of your hair and make it shiny. Of course, mixing the lemon juice right in with the detergent sounds like it defeats the purpose… 

2. Body on Tap

Beer was another home remedy to make your tresses shiny (reflective hair was big in the 1970s), and Body on Tap shampoo contained a whole cup o’suds. 

3. Dry Look

Men were beginning to ditch their Brylcreem and discover the wonders of the blow dryer in the early 1970s. But how to hold those flyaway hairs in place in a manly fashion? The Dry Look, a hairspray designed especially for males, to the rescue!

4. Tickle deodorant

The, er, unusual shape of the Tickle bottle invited all sorts of rude comments about what was really making those women in the TV commercials giggle uncontrollably.

5. Love’s Baby Soft

Was Love’s Baby Soft fragrance line deliberately sexualizing children in their ads…? To add to the “ick” factor of the ad campaign, the stuff actually smelled like baby powder!

6. Short ‘n Sassy

Flickr: Twitchery

Short hair probably didn’t require a different formulation of shampoo in order to maintain its shape and bounce. In fact, anyone who took the time to read the “ingredients” panel would probably discover that Short & Sassy was made up of the same stuff as every other shampoo on the shelf. Really picky consumers could even argue that gold medal skater Dorothy Hamill sported her trademark wedge haircut long before this shampoo hit the shelves.

7. Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific

Jergens Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific from Robert Burton on Vimeo.

This floral-fragranced shampoo is one of the brands most often mentioned on Internet message boards frequented by women who grew up in the 1970s and early '80s. Perhaps Madison Avenue advertising types should take note—products whose names are rejoinders make an impression with consumers.

8. Earth Born Shampoo

Flickr: Twitchery

Between Lemon Up and Earth Born, it seems like women in the '70s wore more fruit in their hair than Carmen Miranda. I did, in fact, use the apricot version of this shampoo back when I was in the eighth grade, and while I didn’t notice any appreciable difference in my hair quality, I can report that when I got caught in the rain my hair reeked of a fruity aroma.

9. Blue Jeans Cologne

Cleopatra's Boudoir

This was one of those fragrances that apparently pinned its success on the package design. I mean, who wants to actually smell like a pair of denim pants?

10. Skinny Dip Cologne

To go “skinny dipping” means to swim in the raw, so this fragrance had a semi-naughty vibe from the get-go. Add to that advertisements featuring Plain Everygirl Sandy Duncan, who gets no attention from men until she daubs Skinny Dip behind her ears (suddenly she’s surrounded by suitors), and you’ve got a best-seller.

Were you a Breck girl? Did you use Psssst on your hair in between shampoos? Share your favorite grooming products of yesteryear with the rest of us!

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August 20, 2013 - 11:00am
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