Columns

2012.06.20 Sham+poo=oddities

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

My brother Dan once took pity upon my busy soul and offered to write a By the Way column for me. I think it came during some particularly busy times, but it never made it into print.

Here’s what he wrote, and I’ll explain later why it wasn’t printed.

From Dan Green:

<I hate buying shampoo, and not just because the word is constructed of “sham” and “poo.” When you think about it, however, that’s about the worst word combination possible. I hate shopping for the stuff because all I really want is a big cheap generic bucket of hair soap. But no one sells that.

Instead there are a million weird bottles with ingredients like fruits, vegetables and herbal “essences,” whatever that really means. I don’t want fruit salad on my head. I don’t want formulations that allegedly make my hairs bounce, shine or vibrate.

Check the ingredients and they all seem to have sodium lauryl sulphate (“A molecule with a tail of 12 carbon atoms,” says Wikipedia) as the primary cleansing agent. I suspect the rest is just window dressing.

Time before last when I had to make this purchase, I found “Mane ’n Tail” shampoo, which was good for both people and horses. I’m not kidding. I bought it immediately. They don’t waste a lot of herbs and fruits on horses. “Add a liberal amount of Mane ’n Tail to a bucket of water...” it says on the label. It worked fine.

My most recent purchase was based on the large quantity in the bottle so I could avoid buying it again for a long time. It’s called “Aussie” and it has an image of a kangaroo on the label.

Though it wasn’t advertised for animal use, the idea of holding down a ’roo and washing its pelt is more entertaining than shampooing a horse.

This authentic Aussie hair soap comes from Ohio, but is imported from Canada. The actual relationship to Australia is a bit of a stretch, except that both Canada and Australia give allegiance to the Queen. Which brings up the subject of the Queen’s hair. OK. Enough said about that.>

There you have it, the end of Dan’s column. He sent 1,691 characters of type out of a typical 4,000 character length. He closed with “enough said about that,” but in reality it was less than half of enough said. That’s why I never used his column.

I thought about it recently when I noticed a new bottle of sham-and-poo in our shower. I thought I had seen all the oddities with brands that our kids bought over the years, but how foolish to think that. There always has to be something new in order to make a consumer choose your brand.

This is Garnier Fructis shampoo and the bottle proclaims in bold type “PURE CLEAN.” Even though the shampoo has no color, it comes in a translucent green bottle and contains acerola berries. I’m reading an article about the rise and fall of acai fruit; now it must be acerola’s turn to shine.

The main ingredient is water, and, as required by any reputable shampoo company, water is listed in three languages. We have an empty bottle of a Matrix brand that lists the instructions for use in three languages. Appliquer sur les cheveux mouillés, faire mousser et rincer. It’s always the same, but in case you’re a recent arrival to planet Earth: Apply to wet hair, lather and rinse.

Aside from its greenness, the big sell with Fructis Pure Clean is weightlessness. Use of this shampoo leaves no weigh down on your hair. This might be the result of Garnier’s “advanced fruit science,” but I think people suffering from weigh down omitted step three: rinse. Garnier even takes it a step further and instructs users to rinse thoroughly.

Nature’s Gate brand takes fruit science much further and even adds the vegetables. If you’re wondering why my hair looks so lovely, it’s undoubtedly because of the jojoba, borage, barley, pansy, radish root and equisetum arvense. If you’re wondering why my hair looks so weird, same thing.

Equisetum. We used to pick this stuff when walking the path along Bean Creek. You’re going to love this one, Dan. Equisetum is commonly known as horsetail. I’m sure it’s fit for a queen.

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