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Surfer hair is a tousled type of hairstyle, popularized by surfers from the 1950s onwards, traditionally long, thick and naturally bleached from high exposure to the sun and salt water of the sea. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the long hair and general lack of personal grooming was closely associated with hippie culture. Today, hairstyling companies brand their own hair gels, shampoos and hair wax to achieve the "surfer look", with hairstyles, often shorter than traditionally, which often require more grooming to achieve the permanent hair lift or intentional windswept look. Amongst women, fashion magazines have referred to "sun streaked surfer hair" as a desirable look for women, although genuine surfer hair is often heavily damaged by the elements.
As early as 1950, Life magazine referred to the "beach bum" surfers of southern California. In 1963, Billboard described the emerging cultural "uniform" of the surfer with bleached blond hair and white Levi jeans, cut off at the knee. In 1965, Life magazine noted that the long surfer hair style and clothing (Levis) of surfers also transcended into skiing fashion. From the late 1960s to the 1980s in particular, especially at the time of the hippy, the surfer style was characterized by thick, long, bleached, often curly blond hair, bleached intensively by the sun and the saltwater. The hair of surfers is often damaged and bleached, brought about by frequent exposure to sunlight, humidity and salty water. Blonder or red headed individuals tend to be more affected, given that their pheomelanin is more sensitive.
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the long haired surfer had become heavily stereotyped in the media (referred to as a "beach bum" or "surfer dude") as having a lack of discipline and self-indulgence and were described in an April 1971 issue of The Sun-Herald in Sydney as "jobless junkies". On the contrary, the modern surfer image has been described as rather less primitive in appearance, with many surfers now having jobs, driving posh cars and spending more time on personal grooming.
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