Glamour Heads

Glamour Heads

For years, little girls rummaged through Mom’s makeup bag, anxious to delve into a world of lipstick, eyeliner, blush – pretty much anything else that would give them that look of stylish sophistication that all the older girls possessed. Therefore, moms everywhere rejoiced at the introduction of the Glamour Head series of styling centers, allowing little girls to practice their beauty secrets to their little heart’s content. Mom could relax knowing that little Mary was tarting up a plastic head, rather than making herself look like an up-and-coming circus performer for all the neighbors to see. More importantly, mom no longer had to worry about her makeup stash being prematurely depleted.

The era of the plastic heads – sitting as smiling, motionless victims while extensive makeup and hairstyling experimentation was conducted – was kicked off in the mid-70s by none other than the beauty queen herself (yep, you guessed it) Barbie. Her Superstar Barbie Fashion Face gave you the opportunity of a lifetime, a canvas consisting of a life-size Barbie’s dismembered plastic head to transform to your heart’s content.

At the bottom of her neck was a base that contained all of the beauty supplies one would ever need to give her a complete makeover and hairstyle. Lipstick, blush, hair curlers, barrettes – all ready to alter her delicate features and bring out her hidden beauty, or beast – if your sadistic little brother managed to get a few minutes alone with her. Luckily, Barbie was easily cleaned up with nothing more than some water and a washcloth and the damage was easily undone.

Other celebrities soon offered up their own beautiful faces and bangs for which burgeoning fashion consultants could master their makeup skills. The first was Marie Osmond’s head, introduced by Mattel in 1976 as the Marie Osmond TV Makeup Center. It was up to you to get Marie ready for a prime time appearance while she sat patiently, in apparent deep thought and offering little conversation (those TV stars can be so stuck up sometimes).

Mego Toys countered with iconic poster girl and Charlie’s Angels star, Farrah Fawcett – in all her feathered hair glory. The Farrah Glamour Center and Styling Center offered the usual assortment of hair and makeup accessories and the added bonus of “growing hair!” Soon to follow were the decapitated noggins of The Bionic Woman, popular model Brooke Shields, and for a little old-school princess makeover, Cinderella. With a little touch-up work and a few squirts of hairspray, Prince Charming would never know what hit him.

In terms of longevity, most of these famous plastic heads were relatively short-lived. Of course, the one exception (isn’t it always that way) was the iconic Barbie, who managed to remain poised on her pedestal and ever popular for decades to come. Along with her African-American counterpart, Chrissie, she displayed the virtue of patience that only plastic can provide, gazing mindlessly into space while little girls gussied her up to their heart’s content. Meanwhile, Mom was finally able to rest easy, knowing that she would still have some lipstick left for a night on the town, rather than being used to turn her daughter into a circus clown.

Did you practice your makeup skills on one of these Glamour Heads as a child? We’re sure you have some stories to tell and we’d love to hear them in our comments section below, as we tip our hats to these memorable toys.

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