A few notes on hair and the graveyard under the sink

I know you’re hiding a graveyard somewhere in your bathroom. Probably in the vanity, under the sink.

It’s full of all the hair care “product” you bought at the salon, the drug store, wherever. Stuff you paid a mint for and maybe even used a few times. And are likely never to use again.

We are all guilty.

For those who can’t afford the time or money to be at the salon once a week, as women did when I was a kid, the hair care product industry is full of empty promises, especially if you have frizzy, thick, Italian hair like mine. My daughter says I look like Bellatrix LeStrange when I get caught in the rain.

Most of us have fallen for miracle hair care claims at one time or another. John Frieda and Ouidad were among the early ones to promote their frizz control goop. They now have zillions of high and low-end competitors. You will surely have hair like Jennifer Anniston’s if you use her goop… and the hair to end all hair if you use that Wen guy’s goop. You keep buying this stuff, trying it once or twice, and piling it up in the graveyard under the sink.

And then there are the devices. The Calista Perfector Pro Swap Top Multi-Styler (can you say that fives times?) pitched on QVC claims to be five styling tools in one… if you don’t get so tangled in it that you have to resort to scissors. There are curling irons and flat irons made of tourmaline and titanium and ceramic and nano technology—whatever any of that means. Has anybody else wondered if the ones that sell for $50 are just as good as the ones that sell for $150???

The truth is… if you have “challenging” hair, and you haven’t already given up on the fact that you CANNOT replicate what your hair stylist does, then know that no amount of goop will substitute for what he/she can do in the salon. In the salon, the dryer hangs from the ceiling—your stylist doesn’t have to worry about dropping it in the sink and getting electrocuted. The flat iron cord is plugged into that cute little cart. It doesn’t get tangled in the toothbrush holder. You hair stylist is standing above you, can see what he/she is doing from any angle, and can actually dry/iron/curl the hair on the back of your head. If you can manage that on your own, you’re as tricky with your neck as Linda Blair. Moreover, his/her arms never get tired. And, of course, there is the small point that your hair stylist is not only well trained to make you look beautiful—she/he is actually good at it, or you wouldn’t be there.

I’ve stopped buying 90% of the hair goop. I would rather put that change into my monthly hair appointments, which give me a pleasant respite and, at least for a few days, that perfect, camera-ready look I can never duplicate at home. I have a cut I can manage reasonably well, and I’m down to two products, Moroccan Oil and Moroccan Oil Heat Styling Protector.

In honor of that Japanese woman who tells you to throw away just about everything in your house, I’ve gotten rid of the graveyard. The photo was taken right before the big toss. To be honest, by the time I got half of that stuff home, I couldn’t remember when to apply it anyway, and the directions on the bottle are always too small to read even with my glasses. You know you’re in trouble when you realize what you’re trying to decipher is actually Finnish. I mentioned this problem to a significantly younger friend the other day, and she said, “Oh, I can’t read those things either. I shoot the label with my iPhone and blow it up.”

This, dear #retired readers, is why we need younger friends. Expect a blog post on that subject soon.



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