Breck Shampoo

Are you a Breck Girl?

Shiny, lustrous, fragrant hair is an obvious tip-off that you've been using Breck shampoo. The legendary hair care line has enjoyed decades of popularity, earned itself legions of followers and maintaining a stronghold in the beauty annals of history.

About Breck Shampoo

Created in 1930 by Dr. John H. Breck, Sr., Breck shampoo originated in Springfield, Massachusetts. Thought to be the first pH-balanced shampoo in history, Breck was initially sold only in local New England beauty salons. As such, its advertising was limited solely to publications that catered to salons.

Eventually, Breck's ownership was passed on to his son, Edward, in 1936. It's noteworthy that Breck is recognized almost immediately for its "Breck Girls" advertising campaign. The unique concept can be credited to Edward, who collaborated with portrait painter Charles Sheldon to bring a new form of advertising to the company. The first images Breck utilized were pastel portraits, which started running in 1936 and eventually became one of the country's longest-running advertising campaigns.

Of course, no company could leave a lasting historical impression without a logo or trademark of some kind. Breck's choice was a painting of Roma Whitney, a 17 year old teenager painted by Sheldon in 1937. The blonde profile was just the iconic, classic look the brand needed to establish a proper trademark for itself. The Whitney painting was registered in 1951 as the company's official logo.

While the shampoo itself was no slouch - it enjoyed incredible success and held a roughly 20 percent share of the market during the 1960s - it was the advertising that became the company's heart and soul. Sheldon's timeless artistry resonated with generations of women who felt they could relate to the Breck Girl persona as she changed with the times. This is thanks in great part to Sheldon's preference for the average, everyday woman over models. In fact, many Breck Girls were people in Sheldon's own circle, ranging from family members and neighbors to community members and employees.

Big Changes

Later years saw the Breck Girl graduate to a more glamorous, celebrity role. The company was a key sponsor of America's Junior Miss competitions, and many pastel Breck Girls depicted various Junior Miss winners over the years, including Cybil Shepherd, Cheryl Tiegs, Jaclyn Smith, Kim Basinger and Brooke Shields. Of course, these young women were merely getting their start in the industry back then, but their elegant, model-worthy looks brought a change to the look of the traditional Breck Girl. Despite its success, the company's ownership did change hands several times over the years. In 1963, American Cyanamid, a chemical company, assumed ownership. They were followed many years later by the Dial Corporation in 1990. Though the Breck Girls were certainly popular and made a formidable impression not just on the beauty industry but also on advertising in general, they could not maintain their status as years passed. The final Breck Girls campaign ran in 1978, and the company saw its products eventually decrease in popularity.

Modern Breck

Today's generation may be most familiar with Breck shampoo for its recent revival in 2001. Acquired by Himmel Hair Care, a part of The Himmel Group from the Dial Corporation, the brand was reintroduced with great fanfare. This time, the concept followed the old adage that everything old is new again. Himmel sought to bring back the Breck of old, and touted the "new" Breck as the very same version that stole women's hearts back in the '30s. This new version was packaged in the same bottle, featured the same clean scent and even boasted a near replica of the original formula. However, the revival was short-lived. In 2006, Breck was assumed by Dollar Tree, a dollar store based out of Chesapeake, Virginia. The store carries a complete line of Breck products, including shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, body washes and bubble baths. Dollar Tree also introduced a Breck for Kids line, which includes antibacterial soaps, flushable wipes, bath sponges, and other fun items to make bath time just a bit more appealing for the little ones.

Where to Purchase

Breck shampoo and other products can be found in Dollar Tree stores across the country. You may also find certain products on eBay.

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