Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vidal Sassoon Explosion

If there's one thing you've learned by now, it's that my Mom doesn't throw anything out. She is very attached to her possessions and is convinced that no new product could ever take the place of the old one. She will use things until they fall apart -- and even when they break, she gives them to my Dad to fix -- he takes things down to his workshop like Victor Frankenstein and brings them back to life!

This mentality has passed down through the family over generations (even I have a bit of the gene). Some may call it hoarding -- or maybe it's an inability to spend money on something "new" when there is already a "perfectly good one" at home that "works fine."

The Explosion

My Mom was the proud owner of an ancient, brown Vidal Sassoon hairdryer, since the early 1980's -- you know the ones: with the metal coils on the tip, recalled off the shelves because they were catching fire and exploding in people's faces. This particular hair dryer was the "1500" model. She has been using this thing for the past 30 years and it is older than I am (it looks the first hair dryer ever invented).

Check this thing out . . .

Notice it only has three settings: Hot, Warm, and Cold. And only 2 "speeds" (High and Low)

When I asked my Mom why she still uses it, and why she doesn't just buy a new one (after all, they have made some amazing enhancements in the world of hair-drying since the 80's), she claimed: "Because mine works fine and has the perfect temperature." 

So, we put her to the test . . .

When my fiance and I stayed at her house, my fiance asked if she could use said hair dryer. After about 10 minutes, I heard her screaming from the bathroom. Sparks flew out of the handle and the darn thing caught fire! The smell of burning hair hit the air. Luckily, my fiance escaped with no major burns and her pretty face intact.

When we presented my mother with the charred evidence, she said: "You can't bend the cord -- you have to hold it straight. Last time it went on fire your Dad had to replace the wire."

I couldn't believe my ears.

After almost setting the house ablaze (twice) and nearly turning my fiance into a Pop Tart, my Mom was holding onto this thing for dear life. She gave it to my Father to see what could be done. He took it down to his workshop, laid it out on the dissection table, and surveyed the damage . . .

It looks like a science project I made in grade school using an old remote control car motor and some electrical wires. Needless to say, the hair dryer was beyond repair. My Mother had no choice but to throw it away. It was a sad, sad day. But I like to think it had a good run: over 30 years of drying hair and no fatalities.

Moral of the story: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it -- unless you catch on fire."


  1. LOL!! I myself have an "old brown" Vidal Sassoon hairdryer and mine just caught fire yesterday! Too funny, I am at a loss now. I grew up with 5 sibs and this is the only hairdryer we used. It worked so well I brought it with me when I moved out.
    Okay, now I'm 40 and I have to buy my first hairdryer. Wow.

  2. We had a brown one from the 90s that caught fire in the sink a couple years back!!!!

  3. I am still using my little brown Vidal Sassoon hairdryer purchased in the early 1980's. Thanks for all the comments. I'll watch for sparks or check out the smell of burning hair. Otherwise, it may outlive me.

  4. OMG I have that very dryer, and I am still using it. My future DIL just sent be a new blow dryer, she thought it was time I had a new one. So I decided to look up my old one. I knew I have had it for at least 35 years, but wasn't sure. And I found your story, sounds just like me....only my Vidal Sassson 1500 has never needed repairing. A couple of times it would not heat, so I smacked it on the side with my hand, and it was back to heating again.
    I will be keeping my Vidal, for a back up just in case my new hair dryer (not a Vidal)does not survive. Thanks for this article I am still laughing.

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  6. Wow! I have this same hair dryer. My grandmother bought it for me from Family Dollar when I was 12 and I'm 37 now. It just caught fire a couple of days ago and I'm devastated. I didn't realize these were so popular back in the day. I salute my little brown Vidal Sassoon hair dryer for all of its years of service!



About The Author

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Long Island, NY, United States
I am 33 years old and grew up in a very small town on the South Shore of Long Island, NY. I am a writer, collector, and artist working in online advertising. This collection of notes is respectfully dedicated to one of the most unique, eccentric women I have ever known -- my mother. Thanks for reading!