Dippity Do

Remember—a little Dippity-do gives you a lot of hold.

In the beginning, there was wax.

Not the modern-day waxes found in hip tins stacked on salon shelves. These were waxy, soap-like substances invented thousands of years ago by the ancient Gauls to style their hair.

People have been experimenting with natural compounds to hold their hair in place since antiquity. Thanks to technology, the offerings available today are dramatically different than the gums, clays and shellacs once used to hold hair in place.

"Now, with products like Hercut Curly Catalyst, there's a lot of movement, softer hair and more control," says Maria Laguardia, senior vice president of product development of Hercut, who has spent more than a decade developing products for haircare and skincare companies. "The raw material companies come up with new polymers, and it's our job as product developers to design technologies that are new and different and do what they say they'll do."

At Hercut, the motto is "if it's not innovative, it's not launching."

"We think long and hard about every new product, with lots of testing," she says. "If it's been done, we're not going to make it."

Laguardia reflected on some of the most significant innovations in styling products—from film-formers to macromolecules.

"Innovation is available to all of us," Laguardia says. "The mastery of your chemist is knowing how to put all the right ingredients together."