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Hairdressing Icons: Marcel Grateau

by rachael / last updated January 3, 2012

Marcel Grateau revolutionised hair styling in 1872 when, while styling the hair of prostitutes in the slums of Paris, he invented the Marcel Wave. 
Most women wore their hair long at the time, and Marcel used heated irons to produce a stylish wave as an alternative to the curls which were in trend at the time. 
The tongs he invented were heated over gas burners, and so could only be used by trained operators. The resulting look remained in vogue for the next 50 years, earning Marcel a fortune and many high-profile clients. 
It also marked the beginning of hairdressing taking on its contemporary shape, with women flocking to salons in unparalleled numbers and creating a huge new source of revenue. 

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