What brought the baby name Shasta back?

A jar of Shasta cream shampoo, from a 1953 commercial for the product.
Shasta cream shampoo (in 1953)

The name Shasta returned to the U.S. baby name data (after more than two decades of absence) in 1948, and began appearing regularly in the data in the 1950s:

  • 1954: 14 baby girls named Shasta
  • 1953: 10 baby girls named Shasta
  • 1952: 6 baby girls named Shasta
  • 1951: 9 baby girls named Shasta
  • 1950: 5 baby girls named Shasta
  • 1949: unlisted
  • 1948: 8 baby girls named Shasta
  • 1947: unlisted


Because Procter & Gamble (makers of Drene) introduced Shasta Cream Shampoo to the market in 1948 and promoted it heavily throughout the 1950s.

Shasta print ads claimed Shasta “spark[ed] your hair with brighter, richer color,” and Shasta television commercials promised Shasta was the “softest of the cream shampoos,” and would provide “oceans of luxury lather.” (In the commercials, the brand name is pronounced SHAS-tah — the first a as in “apple,” the second a as in “about.”)

A Shasta display, from a 1953 commercial for the product.
Shasta shampoo display

But sales must have been unimpressive, as P&G stopped selling Shasta Shampoo at end of the ’50s.

The baby name remained in use, though. It even became moderately trendy in the late ’70s.

(Another product named “Shasta,” Shasta Soda, also existed during the 1950s. But I think it’s far more likely that the pretty women in the Shasta Shampoo ads were a bigger influence on ’50s parents than a line of soft drinks.)

What do you think of Shasta as a baby name?


2 thoughts on “What brought the baby name Shasta back?

  1. There’s also Mt. Shasta in California. I know a thirty-something woman who was named after it. She wasn’t a big fan of the soda…

  2. Yes, that’s true! And many of the Shastas born in the late ’70s and early ’80s were from California specifically.

    (This isn’t saying much, as CA was has been the biggest state in the Union for some time now, but I do think it’s interesting that New York — the 2nd-most-populous state during that period — had very few Shastas in comparison.)

    Yeah, I can imagine someone named “Shasta” not being a fan of the soda. :) Reminds me of all the people named Zoe who got mad about the Renault Zoe.

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