Shampoos made with detergents, which, unlike soap, rinse completely away, began making an appearance in continental Europe in the 1800s.
But in the United States and England, we owe a big thank you to a balding fire chief named John Breck.
Breck was 21 in 1898 when he began losing his hair. This disturbed him and he sought medical advice to no avail.
Desperate, he enrolled in chemistry classes at Amherst College in an effort to understand how he might stop his hair loss.
This was where he learned about the shampoos used in European beauty salons, and he began to experiment with his own mixtures of oils and detergents.
After receiving his doctorate, he ran a scalp treatment center, then teamed up with a beauty supply dealer and launched the John H. Breck Corporation in 1929.
Breck never did discover a cure for baldness, but he did introduce shampoo to the United States.
In 1930, he introduced ph-balanced shampoo, which helps prevent hair and scalp damage, and in 1933, he created different shampoos to meet the specific needs of oily and dry hair.
In 1946, his company began a long-running ad campaign featuring “Breck Girls”, pretty women with beautiful hair.