For Fine, Lifeless Hair

Whenever I’m in the bath (for we don’t have a working shower) I often consider which of the plethora of shampoos I would like to use today to wash my hair. When I lived on my own there was, of course, no choice. I would buy shampoo, invariably Tesco’s own brand, and the rest is history.

But living in a house with shared resources the decision becomes much more difficult. For starters, the addition of women means at least a quadrupling of the choice – because, for some reason, women seem to need lots of different shampoos. One for frizzy hair, one for dyed hair, one for dry hair, a mild one for irritated scalps, one for dandruff, and then repeat for bottles of conditioner.

Then my brothers like to wash their hair with the Lynx shower gel, so there are at least two of those around the bath. And there is always another one for my sister, a more child-friendly one even though she’s 13. Add in the liquid soap that we’ve currently got, and the bubble bath, and you can see how it can easily become confusing.

It makes me wonder – are any of these products actually what they say they are? Is there a difference between me using a shampoo “for greasy hair” and another “for frequent use”? I mean, how frequent is frequent? I thought most people would wash their hair frequently anyway. Have you ever seen a shampoo say “for infrequent use” on it? If not, why not? I want to see the shampoo that is so deadly to your hair that it can only be used every month. And surely all hair gets greasy, otherwise why would you wash it? So isn’t every shampoo for greasy hair?

Then we turn to the other claims they right on the bottle. As a man, I wonder why would I ever want to “add volume” – or some other marketing speak – to my hair? I hate my hair, as I have discussed on a previous occasion, and any shampoo that promises to make it look more full of life, thicker and glossier is one that I should avoid at all costs. Yes, I know I’m using “women’s” shampoo… but that’s just the thing – they are only women’s because the branding tells you to believe that.

In truth, it’s all academic. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed any difference no matter what shampoo I use. The only factor in the equation is the smell. Some smell nice, some smell not so nice. And that, to me, is basically all the difference. Maybe on a technical level the cheapest shampoos contain more “agua” – to you and me we might call it that novel and exciting substance water –  and so you have to use more of it to get a good lather.

No. What this whole world is about is just about the same story you can apply to any aspect of modern, commercial life. It is the ultimate triumph of style over substance, of branding and image over reality. Beauty and hygiene are highly susceptible to the evils of capitalism for the simple reason that they probably figure in the minds of every person on Earth. And so we can plug away at those little fears and insecurities to sell you a bottle of miracle wonder that will transform you into one of the Beautiful People – gorgeous and successful – we see on the adverts and billboards.

Anyway, that’s quite enough moaning for one day. It’s supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men (and women)… unless they work for a beauty products manufacturer, of course. They can go stick their false science up their arses.

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