Skull Busters, Dippity Do, and Suffer to Be Beautiful

The topic for Sunday Scribblings this week is hair. I am going to date myself tonight as I think back to what we did to have beautiful hair before the time of curling irons, electric curlers, blow dryers, or those crimping irons. What I know for sure is that we suffered. Women in my age group and older may recall having their hair done up in bobby pins, clippies, brush curlers, multicolored plastic curlers or pink sponge curlers. We then slept on them. Who had time to sit under a hair dryer like the ladies at the beauty shop? Besides, not too many of us in my neighborhood had those fancy portable Sunbeam Hair Dryers at home.

When my mom moved from brush curlers to the plastic ones with a thing that snapped each of them in place, my dad called them skull busters. We laughed recently when we found a picture of Mom in her famous curlers. I didn't think she would appreciate that picture on my blog tonight! For me the ritual was washing my hair on Saturday night and Mom "doing up my hair" in bobby pins. Later I think they fell out too easily so she used silver clippies. If I had a home perm I think the curl lasted quite a few nights. I guess I only had to suffer to be beautiful on Saturday night before Sunday School the next day.
All this hair care required tools. We had to have curler bags, clippie and bobby pin boxes, pink picks to hold brush rollers in place,hair nets to keep our styles intact, and fancy, lacy roller caps. We took our hair styling serious. The worst nightmare at our house often times wasn't the "sleeping with curlers in your hair" torture. It

was the moment my dad was barefoot and stepped on a clippie, a brush curler, or a bag of plastic curlers in the bathroom. We brought out the Cuss Box when that happened. My brother probably had his moments of annoyance as a bobby pin had to be fished out of the toilet or curlers fell in the bathtub. They always seems to be where they didn't belong.

When I was older suddenly everyone wanted just body in their hair. Dippity Do was the product that helped when we rolled our long hair in orange juice cans or huge plastic rollers. We kept our bangs straight with pink hair tape. I remember not having pink hair tape one time and using scotch tape. Not a good idea! The pink mark across my forehead took days to fade away. Then we ratted our hair, smoothed our hair, lightened our hair with lemon juice, and grew out our bangs. It was amazing the rituals we suffered through in becoming a woman just to be beautiful. I laugh now when I hear someone say, " I am having a bad hair day." Try having a bad hair decade! There was relief when it was cool and hip to wear bandannas over your hair and it didn't mean you were in some gang!

Today I'll take an occasional curling iron burn or hair that needs a trim over bobby pins, skull busters, and Dippity Do! To find other Sunday Scribbling posts on hair go here.


  1. Great post... what a hoot... ;)

  2. Your siblings love the new layout. RP forgot to let you know before he took Snug for a walk. Boy does your post bring back HAIR memories. Remember that straw basket full of different sizes of curler and roller? They were probably yours. I think I just used the pink sponge rollers in my hair. No skull busters for me!!

  3. Thanks for the feedback. I have obsessed about the changes all day. I do know I need to find a picture less busy so I can put more on the header. The basket you are referring to is in the right side storage closet. I spotted it there when I was attempting to get back out of the closet looking for pictures. Also, you were spared. I had a pink sponge roller picture of you I could have posted. lol

  4. Hi Rob... I am glad you enjoyed the post. It was amazing what I remembered once I started writing.

  5. Well, you've dated us now! I remember all the items you talked about tonight! The pink tape, the Sunbeam hair dryer (I had one; a prize for selling enough Tupperware), and the clip-on pink curlers! Midweek prayer meeting was a place where you could see older ladies in curlers and one of those fluffy caps that were supposed to cover them up! Oh, and the dippity do! How I would slather it on, trying to keep my 'flip' flipping all day long!

    :) LaTeaDah

  6. Yes indeed, I do remember all these instruments of hair torture. As a matter of fact, the pink setting tape will feature prominently in my own Sunday Scribblings (if I get around to writing it - my son and daughter in law are visiting this weekend :)

    Loved this, and these memories made me smile!

    BTW, I like your new blog look!

  7. I am visiting from Pamela's Dust Can Wait. You have written a fun post about hair. As I am sixty, I remember all of those torturous devices. I am not sure if a I ever slept a whole night on the brush rollers; usually I tore them out before morning, I do confess to sporting a pixie-cut, a page-boy, a bubble-cut, a flip, and a shag hair cut. In the sixties, I ironed (with a clothing iron) my hair to make my long hair stick-straight. I also tried setting my hair with orange juice cans and used liquid fabric softener as a conditioner. Finally, I think that a paste of Ivory Snow and sitting in the sun was supposed to lighten your hair.

  8. Anonymous15.7.07

    My mom still uses the brush rollers and pink picks!! I'm forever picking up the picks from the carpet before I step on them in my bare feet. This post brings back memories! I remember the pink tape, the oversize rollers, the orange juice cans-my sister did those, and I remember the most beautiful girl on the street casually walking outside her house with her long hair rolled up on an orange juice can-we'd know she had a date that night, as if she was ever without a date.

    And my mom used to give me Toni home perms. They didn't last long at all, but I desperately wanted curly hair, never did get it. And I remember seeing women doing the shopping with their curlers "hidden" under bandannas or scarves. You don't see that very often now, I don't know if I miss it or if it's a blessing!

  9. Hair Set Tape? Dippity Do?
    Oh my goodness, that was very entertaining! I remember my mother in curlers and had that dreaded cloth wrapped around her head and aspirin for the headache on the night stand....LOL

  10. You brought back wonderful but painful memories. Creative and wonderful post! LOL

  11. La Tea Dah: You know... I don't think my flip ever flipped the way I wanted it to. That Girl Marlo Thomas was my idol. I wonder how she did it?:)

  12. Excellent post. I escaped most hair torture when I was young. I remember once as a student a group of friends deciding they were going to give me a home perm. Why did that happen? It looked awful but didn't last long!

  13. Dippity Do? Too funny. I always fancied myself more of a Dapper Dan man.

    Who tapes their hair? Seriously. Great post!

  14. Becca: I am looking forward to your post also! Thanks for the feedback also on the blog look.
    Welcome mjd: I think it is amazing we have any hair left! The liquid fabric softner and Ivory Snow were new ones. :)
    Janet: I think our memories match pretty close. Unfortunately my mom lost most of her hair in her cancer battle and now wears a wig otherwise she would still be wearing her skull busters!
    Jennifer: I have to wonder how much sleep women did get during that time! lol
    Tammy: I think this hair prompt reminded all of us of how important our hair is and how we suffer to be beautiful. Now both of us have moved to simpler styles. Whew!
    Hi crafty: I remember when my friends used Frost and Tip on my hair. Not good... not good!
    Hi Herb... girls that wanted spit curls and perfect bangs were the fools that taped their hair! Thanks for visiting.

  15. What a history we all tell with the stories of our hair. I enjoyed your trip down memory lane and the accompanying photos!

  16. Anonymous15.7.07

    Spoolies! As a teenager I thought the invention of hot curlers were more important than walking on the moon!

  17. Tori: I love these prompts because they take us to so many different directions. I loved yours and can't even imagine you in long hair. Isn't that funny?
    Colleen : Oh my gosh... I forgot about those pink spoolies. For some reason I don't think I had to use those, but I think I had a cousin that did. I agree about the hot curlers. If I had to sleep on brush rollers I would probably go back to my pixie cut.. see picture to the right where I am holding my sister.

  18. Anonymous15.7.07

    I'm still bitter over the fact that I can't grow an afro. (sigh)

  19. Otis: Then there was the phase when many guys got perms to have afros...whether they had the hair for it or not. In north Idaho that came before the mullet! :(

  20. And don't forget the days before curling irons...and using the clothing iron. My naturally curly hair never did become manageable, no matter what torture device I used. Now, at 50+ I've given myself over to the natural look and this hair with a mind of its own =)

  21. I loved reading this post. It is just a few years before my teen years, so I didn't really suffer many of the indignities, although I do remember my mom trying to do my hair up and making me sit under the hair dryer. Yuck.

  22. Anonymous15.7.07

    DEspite not likeing my poker straight hair, I never once thouht of perming it. I simply had no interest how I looked.

    All I wanted to do was to emulate my brothers.

    That photo of curlers is very beautiful.

  23. Anonymous15.7.07

    Oh, yeah, this brought back the memories. It took alot of 'pain' to be beautiful back then! LOL

  24. Rondi... I am now amazed how many women ironed their hair. I would have probably fried it then my face before a big evening!
    patois... aw yes, the hair dryer!
    gt: I think I should have emulated my brother. His hair looked much better.
    jackie: you are right about the pain. I didn't even get into tangles before the No Tears Stuff! lol

  25. I remember taping my bangs. I got kicked out of church choir because my bangs were "too worldly". :)

    But did you ever iron your hair to get it extra-straight?

  26. Molly: My hair was so straight I never had the pleasure of doing the ironing thing. I knew lots of friends who did though. I would love to see bangs that are "too worldly"! lol


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