This picture may look like a scene from Dr Who, but in fact the woman perched on the table, is having her hair dried. The date is 1928, and the photograph is from the Australian Woman’s Mirror  for May 8 of that year.
The caption reads: “Beauty parlors these days use electric blowers to dry milady’s hair after a shampoo. In this picture a little woman in a hurry is facing a young tornado, a battery of five blowers being brought to bear upon her.”
On the same page (p 28), under the heading, The health of girls, are tips for ensuring beautiful hair. One such tip advises daily massaging of the scalp for two minutes, beginning at the ears and going over the whole head. Another warns against the wearing of tight-fitting stuffy hats as these “will tend to cause baldness in women.”
By 1933, salon hair drying techniques have improved. This photograph from page 28 of the June 13th issue of the Australian Woman’s Mirror, shows the first woman to be awarded a professorship in hairdressing by the Société du Progrès de la Coiffure, of France. Naturellement.
Still, even though this machine looks non-threatening, there are dangers for the hair. In the book, The art and craft of hairdressing  page 152 notes, “Drying the hair means more than merely removing the moisture in the shortest possible time without regard to the means used. The drying of hair by a mechanical blower, whether heated by gas or electricity, or both, seems to have been the acme of perfection.”
However, the writer goes on to say – and note the italics, “…the effects upon the hair and scalp are, to put it mildly, most harmful.”
Not to mention the effect of this method of hair drying on the operator. Apparently after drying the hair of a client, “many operators become fatigued and listless, a condition due to the effects of a poisonous gas, carbon monoxide, which is one of the products of a gas-heated dryer.”
 Australian Woman’s Mirror Sydney: The Bulletin Newspaper, 1924 – Held at Powerhouse Museum Research Library: v.1, no.1-v.36,no.31 ; Nov 1924 – June 1960 : incomplete
The art and craft of hairdressing: a standard and complete guide to the technique of modern hairdressing, manicure, massage and beauty culture. (Edited by) Gilbert A Foan. Pitman, London, 1931. Held at Powerhouse Museum Research Library.