Beauty school drop out – the Lamoureaux Mannequin

Often mis-identified as a store window mannequin head or dating much older than they are, the Lamoureaux mannequin head was produced, with no change in design, from about the late 1930s to the mid 1960s. Made in a small factory in New York by Gloria and Leon Lamoureaux, the heads had real human hair, set in place with shellac insider the head. Purchased by beauty-school students to practice hairstyles, the heads went through “shampooing, curling, waving, combing, brushing, permanent waving, blocking and drying.” By the time the student had graduated, most of the hair was dried and fried on these poor old heads. The originals were made of latex, which hardens and cracks with age, causing paint to flake from the surface. By the late 1960s cutting and teasing was more important than setting and waving, and plastic rubber heads became more useful for teaching hairstylists than these Lamoureaux versions.

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